EE TV customers will be able to control their set-top boxes through voice commands after the UK operator added support for the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant.

Customers with an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot smart speaker will be able to ask questions about programme scheduling, including requesting recommendations for a specific timeframe or asking about shows on a specific channel, by enabling the EE TV skill in the Alexa app.

Other features are expected to be added in the future, EE said, with the BT-owned company reviewing Amazon’s Alexa Video Skill APIs for integration with the service.

Max Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing, at EE, said: “We’re continually looking for ways to further enhance the accessibility and usability of EE TV - so we’re pleased to work with Amazon to launch the first Alexa skill on a set top box in the UK.

“The new skill will allow users to discover new content and help to enrich their TV experience, so they can make the most out of it.”

EE TV, which launched in 2014, is based on a set-top box developed by Netgem.

It rivals offerings from parent BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and market leader Sky.

CCS Insight analyst Paolo Pescatore said: “Given the fragmented nature of TV services today, we believe that voice will play a pivotal role in finding the programmes consumers want to watch.

“More importantly the support for Amazon Alexa goes one step further than Sky Q in supporting additional voice features.”

[Read more: Voice tech can boost a brand's connection with customers, report finds]

Alexa has been used for other home services, including Deutsche Telekom’s smart home platform Qivicon.

In France, Orange has taken a different route by launching its own voice control assistant, Djingo, which enables interaction with all Orange content and services, including TV.

 

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