Saturday, December 4, 2021

Now Alexa can tell Netflix to just ‘play something’

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Over the last couple of years, Netflix has refined a one-button solution that picks something for you based on your tastes and starts playing it right away. It first called the feature names like Shuffle and eventually landed on Play Something. The button has top positioning in its TV and mobile apps, but now things are even easier to activate, as Netflix has linked its automatic selector to Amazon’s voice-controlled AI and streaming hardware.

Image: Amazon

If you’re in the US or Canada, just say “Alexa, Play Something,” and if you have an Echo speaker or app listening in, plus a Fire TV device with Netflix activated, then that’s what will happen. In a post mentioning the feature, Netflix director of marketing partnerships Magno Herran says, “we are excited to partner with Fire TV to bring the Alexa voice technology to the Netflix Play Something feature. Now you can instantly discover a show or film we know you’ll love based on what you’ve watched before.”

Assuming you’ve already decided to live with a voice-controlled assistant, it could help you skip debating or scrolling through rows of titles at the start of each movie night. Even though many other devices and services include voice control, like Google Assistant, Roku, or Comcast, it appears that only Amazon has the Play Something command linked at the moment despite battling Netflix with its Prime Video product. The promotional materials mention it’s “available first on Fire TV,” so I’d expect to see it on other platforms eventually.

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