Alexa gives voice control to Logitech's Harmony Hub remote

Amazon's AI assistant can fire up HBO, close the shades and dim the lights, all in one go.

Alexa now (officially) works with Logitech's Harmony Hub, meaning it's a lot easier to get voice control over your home entertainment and automation devices. After you enable the Alexa skill on an Amazon Echo, Dot or other supported device, you'll be able to start and stop Harmony Activities, change channels and control devices using the AI assistant. Simple commands include "Alexa, turn on Netflix," or "Alexa, turn on my TV."

You also get a certain amount of programmability, thanks to Logitech's Activities. If you say "Alexa, turn on my evening activity," the bot will trigger a prearranged sequence that can involve entertainment as well as home automation devices. For instance, it can dim the lights, lower your blinds, adjust the temperature, flip on the TV and load up HBO Now or Netflix -- all in one sequence.

Voice control is already available for smart TVs and AV devices by LG, Samsung, Google and other manufacturers. However, Logitech's Harmony Hub works with just about every home entertainment device, along with smart home products like the Nest and Philips Hue lights. That might make it the simplest way to get voice commands to your home entertainment system and avoid any IFTTT-type programming. Alexa support comes to the US sometime this week and to the UK "in the coming months."