Customers can ask Alexa to change the channel.

By Jonathan Vanian
May 22, 2017

Television watching is about to get even lazier.

Satellite TV provider Dish Network said Monday that its customers can now use Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant to do things typically handled by remote controls. Now, people can ask Alexa to change the TV channel, search the channel guide for specific shows, and fast forward through commercials.

People must connect one of Dish Network’s Hopper cable boxes or Wally satellite receivers to work with Dish Network’s Alexa skill. Amazon refers to apps that developers build for Alexa as skills.

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Amazon devices that use Alexa, like the Amazon Echo web-connected speaker or the Amazon Tap bluetooth-enabled speaker, can then be synced to Dish Network’s cable boxes, giving them the ability to change channels when asked.

Some of the Amazon Alexa voice-commands that work with Dish Network include: “Alexa, rewind 30 seconds,” “Alexa, show me Tom Hanks movies,” and “Alexa, skip forward.”

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Last week, consumer technology company Element Electronics began selling a new lineup of televisions that come embedded with a version of Amazon’s Fire TV streaming device. Additionally, the television and remote control include Amazon Alexa and lets people use their voices to search for TV shows and movies.

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