Plex’s new Amazon Echo support lets you control your home theater with your voice

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Plex is getting into the home automation game. The popular media management software just announced it now has an Alexa skill, as well as smart home features that turns off the lights or post a message in Slack based on an action you take with Plex.

The new Alexa skill is available now in the US and UK Alexa stores. Once you’ve activated the Plex skill, you can ask your Alexa to play content from your local media library on demand, such as a movie or a television episode from a specific season. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? You can also ask Alexa and Plex (Plexa?) to suggest music or something to watch.

Plex doesn’t specifically say this, but it appears the Alexa skill is open to all users, not just Plex Pass subscribers.

Get smart

That said, the company is also adding an interesting new feature for Plex Pass users called Webhooks. Basically, what this means is that when you take an action with Plex, a secondary action can be carried out by a computer.

If you start a movie in Plex, for example, you could use Plex’s Webhooks feature to automatically dim the living room lights. Right now, Plex is hoping to get developers to start adding Webhooks that integrate with Plex.

The impact on you at home: There are three examples on Github that you can try out right now, including desktop notifications for music playback, automated Slack posts when you rate something in Plex, and a smart light integration with the Wink Hub.

These integrations are useful, but they’ll require some knowledge of JavaScript meaning it’s probably out of the grasp of most users, and that may not change. Plex’s technical documentation for Webhooks says they are a “fairly advanced feature and won’t commonly be used by an ‘average’ user.” Plex Pass Pro customers may be able to get an installer to come to their home and set Webhooks up, however.

This story, “Plex’s new Amazon Echo support lets you control your home theater with your voice” was originally published by TechHive.

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Amazon Echo now helps you to order merchandise from Amazon

Amazon Echo

Suitable news, Amazon enthusiasts: You may now order Amazon merchandise using your Amazon Echo.

VentureBeat pronounced Friday that the new voice-managed ordering feature started out rolling out to Echousers on Friday, and even as there are a few boundaries, You can order from a huge swath of the Amazon product catalog.

Consistent with the organisation, You can order digital track and various bodily gadgets from Amazon, as well as region gadgets on your buying cart or take a look at your order reputation. Every person Amazonconsumer with a US mailing deal with and a 1-Click on charge method installation can buy digital track,but ordering other products calls for an Amazon Prime membership.

As for the ones obstacles, You may’t purchase clothing, shoes, jewelry, or watches out of your Amazon Echo. Amazon Sparkling, High Pantry, Top Now and add-on items also are at the no-pass list. items alsowant to be “Top-eligible,” In keeping with Amazon.

The capability to order products from Amazon looks like 7c5d89b5be9179482b8568d00a9357b2 function,but it’s one that the employer has been operating in the direction of for a while. An earlier Amazon Echosoftware program update permit you to buy any object from Amazon which you formerly bought the usage of Amazon Prime, so this new replace effectively builds off of that.

Previous updates also introduced the capacity to look up movie times and NFL sport scores, discover an area to consume through Yelp, and manipulate domestic automation tech.

In case you haven’t yet obtained this state-of-the-art update, you need to get it soon.

Disclosure: The writer of this text presents copywriting offerings to TechSoup, a nonprofit agency that works with Amazon Net services and lots of different generation groups to provide nonprofits with generationservices and products. His position at TechSoup does now not have an effect on his paintings for thisebook.

Nest throws its support behind Amazon Echo and reportedly won’t try to compete

Nest and Amazon seem to be putting their differences aside and to enable their connected-home products to work with one another.

In a blog posting today, Nest founder Matt Rogers announced that in few weeks, Nest thermostat users will be able to set the temperature through Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, which is available on the Amazon Echo speaker and Fire TV media streamer. A similar integration just arrived for Emerson Sensi smart thermostats, and is coming to Honeywell thermostats as well. Echo already works with thermostats from Ecobee. (Amazon also announced a pair of new Alexa-enabled devices on Thursday, theEcho Dot for external speakers, and the Amazon Tap portable speaker.)

As The Verge notes, Nest users could already set up Echo controls using IFTTT, a service that links various Internet services together through user-made “recipes.” Being able to control Nest directly should simplify things and offer more fine-grained controls. In addition to specifying what temperature you’d like your home to be at, for instance, an Echo and Nest user will be able to say “Alexa, tell the thermostat I’m too hot,” or “Alexa, tell the thermostat I’m leaving.”

While the integration itself is great news for Nest and Echo owners, the backstory adds some intrigue: According to Recode, Nest executives reportedly considered making their own voice-activated speaker, similar to the Echo, but backed off due to fears that Nest’s ties to Google would frighten customers. (Both companies are subsidiaries of Alphabet, the larger holding company that Google formed last year.)

“There are trust issues,” one unnamed source said.

While Nest won’t talk about future products, sources told Recode that it doesn’t have any Echo-like devices in the works. Of course, that doesn’t preclude Google from building its own connected-home assistant, and it might be putting together the pieces with its OnHub router and connected-home version of Android.

Why this matters: Fragmentation is a major problem for today’s connected-home platforms, as tech firms like Amazon, Alphabet, and Apple assert control of users’ connected devices. We don’t often see rival companies put users’ interests ahead of their broader business goals—see Amazon Prime Video not supporting Chromecast’s 20 million users as an example—but Nest working with Echo appears to be an exception. More of this, please.

This story has been corrected to note that Emerson Sensi integration is available immediately, while Nest and Honeywell support is coming in a few weeks.
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