VIZIO SmartCast TVs are getting an official Alexa skill to make controlling the TVs a whole lot easier for those who have any of Amazon's Echo speakers in the home. VIZIO states that the new skill will be compatible with its range of TVs from 2016 and 2017 and will include sets that come from the P, M, and E collections that have SmartCast technology built-in. What's more is that the new skill will allow users to control a range of different functions on the TV from volume to channels.
With the new Skill users can ask Alexa to toggle the TVs power, cycling it on and off all by voice. It will also be possible to adjust the input settings using the new skill so if you tend to need to switch between the different inputs due to having multiple devices plugged into your TV, such as a console, a cable box, and other equipment, then this should be pretty useful as you won't have to reach for the remote to change between inputs any longer.
In addition to the input adjustment and the ability to power the TVs on and off, the Alexa skill will let users change the channels and adjust the volume as well, so for the most basic and likely the most used functions of TV for the majority of users, Alexa will handle the control for all of it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, playback functions can be controlled through Alexa too, so you can ask Alexa to fast forward or rewind content that you have playing on the TV should you happen to miss something or need to skip ahead. VIZIO states that customers with any of the above-mentioned TVs from 2016 or 2017 should already be able to interact with Alexa for the new functions, but it's not forgetting about customers who are going to be looking at the 2018 model TVs. According to VIZIO's announcement, 2018 model TVs will be receiving an update that will open up the Alexa skill "in the coming weeks," which likely means that within the next month or so it will be available on VIZIO's newest SmartCast-enabled TVs as well.