Amazon gives Alexa more control of your Fire TV

The virtual assistant can launch apps, play videos and more.

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Amazon's virtual assistant was already hard at work helping with tasks via its Echo speakers and Fire TV, but now Alexa is getting more control of your television. The online retailer announced today that Alexa can handle more requests on its streaming gadgets, including launching apps, playing selections from Amazon video and add-on subscriptions (HBO Go, Starz, Showtime, SeeSo) and browsing local movie times. Fire TV already offered voice search and Alexa has been available on those devices as well, but this update expands the virtual assistant's workload.

Alexa can also search local business listings and play Kindle books that are equipped with speech-to-text features. What's more, Fire TV is gaining the ability to play YouTube videos in 4K, so long as the device is connected to a compatible UHD display. Amazon says Alexa's new chores and the other features will arrive on the streaming gear "in the coming weeks" via an over-the-air update.