EE TV's Set Top Box Now Has (Some) Alexa Voice Controls

By Tom Pritchard on at

"Voice controls are the future!" declares science fiction, as it stands on a table in triumph. "You'll be able to control all your devices with your voice, without the inconvenience of a remote control!" That's the dream anyway.

Futurists and sci-fi authors alike have long-spoken of a time when we'll be able to control all our things with voice commands. No remotes, no buttons, just words. It's a nice idea, though it has never been terribly convenient - and even recent developments are far from perfect. Still, if you want to ditch a remote in favour of a virtual assistant, EE TV is going to let you. Kind of, but also not really.

The network turned TV provider has announced that it's integrating its set-top boxes with Amazon's Alexa, meaning you can use your voice to control your television - like this is an episode of The Jetsons or something. The options are very limited, and you'll need an Echo device to actually do anything. But if you'd rather not hunt for the remote and turn on your TV then this might be of use.

'Controlling your television' is definitely an overstatement, since Alexa controls don't let you do things like change the channel or lower the volume. Instead the brunt of the integration is a single command: "ask EE TV what's on TV tonight." Your Echo will then offer three recommendations from the service that powers Freeview picks. From there people can record one or more of the suggestions without any extra effort.

It's worth mentioning that the EE TV app can do all of this, and so much more, just without the whole 'voice' component.

So yeah, limited is the key word here. It's certainly not going to be replacing your actual remote anytime soon, even if EE is promising to launch more TV skills for Alexa in the future. So if you actually sit down to watch TV make sure you know where the remote is, because even though EE is referring to this as a "truly hands-free TV experience" it's actually anything but.

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