“Alexa, change to channel 7.”
Being able to control things with your voice used to be science fiction. As recently as four years ago, it was a novelty. Now it’s something we do every day. People set timers, turn on lights, play music, and do all sorts of things with nothing but a small hockey puck-sized device connected to their home networks.
Voice control on DIRECTV
You actually don’t need Alexa or Google Home to control your DIRECTV satellite equipment with your voice. Voice control was rolled out on the DIRECTV App five years ago. It never made much of a splash. I don’t know why. The system worked very well, maybe people just weren’t ready for it yet.
Start by making sure your DIRECTV receiver, client or DVR is networked. If this is a Genie system, look for the wi-fi icon next to the clock in any menu. (It will be the same icon if you are connected with a wire.) You can see it in the image below, on the upper left near the word “Guide.”
If you don’t see that icon, press MENU. Go down to Settings and you’ll probably see this message:
Go into Settings and you will be prompted to reconnect to the internet. There’s a wizard that takes you through it.
If you have an older device, unfortunately, Alexa isn’t supported but the DIRECTV app will still work for voice.
Installing the Alexa Skill
Using the Alexa app, tap MENU then go to Music, Video and Books, then DIRECTV. Choose “Enable Skill” then “Finish Setup.” Alexa will look for your devices. This can take about a minute. Then choose the device you want to control with Alexa. You can control only one device. Otherwise it would just get confusing.
What you can do with Alexa
From Amazon’s web page, here are some typical things you can do with Alexa:
“Alexa, tune to HGTV”
“Alexa, find action movies with Matt Damon”
“Alexa, show me comedy movies”
“Alexa, pause DIRECTV”
“Alexa, resume DIRECTV”
“Alexa, fast-forward on DIRECTV”
“Alexa, rewind on DIRECTV”
“Alexa, fast-forward thirty seconds on DIRECTV”
“Alexa, record this”
“Alexa, record TNT”
Basically you can search, tune, record, and use remote control functions like fast forward and rewind. Although, to be honest I’m not sure why you wouldn’t use the remote for that last bit, seems easier to me.
Alexa on multiple TVs
At this time, Alexa isn’t supported for multiple TVs. Again, the DIRECTV app is a great option there. It will do anything that Alexa will do, although you do need to launch the app and push a button. I know, that sounds like a lot of work.
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