It’s Official! DIRECTV Genie Now Has Amazon Alexa Skills
Are you a DIRECTV residential customer who wants to use your Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, to control your satellite TV? If so, we have some good news for you. AT&T recently announced that its Alexa skill for DIRECTV Genie DVRs is now 100 percent live. If you have an Alexa-enabled device, such as an Echo or the Alexa phone app, you can control a number of functions on your DIRECTV box. This service was available in a limited beta test, but now it’s official, and much more user friendly. This level of automation helps raise the bar on DIRECTV’s satellite TV services.
DIRECTV Voice Control: a Brief History
As previously stated, the Alexa skills only work on residential DIRECTV satellite accounts with Genie receivers. AT&T had a soft launch of this function in November 2017, but this open beta wasn’t heavily promoted. (Expect that to change now that it’s been officially announced.) Before that, DIRECTV offered a different form of voice searching. While the overall implementation was decent for the time, it did have two major problems:
- No integration, meaning users couldn’t combine voice skills for DIRECTV with other voice skills.
- The app didn’t have always-on listening. This forced users to launch the app, wait for it to validate their password, go to the right screen, and then use voice to search.
Some DIRECTV customers have reported not using the original voice commands because the set up was too cumbersome.
Connecting DIRECTV to Amazon Alexa
With a DIRECTV Genie receiver, connecting Alexa is very easy. You simply connect over your Wi-Fi. You’ll be prompted to do this during set up. Currently, there is no formal list of commands. Users can use Alexa skills to change channels, search, and set recordings. These commands get handled quickly and easily, unlike the previous DIRECTV voice commands. Some industry insiders say there’s a good chance DIRECTV customers can expect a full list of Alexa functions soon.
If You Don’t Have a DIRECTV Genie DVR…
… You should upgrade to one as soon as possible. Seriously. The Genie receiver has been the standard for residential installations since 2012. Anything made before that is seriously outdated, standard definition (SD) equipment. AT&T’s DIRECTV 7S, also known as its 119 satellite, is coming to the end of its useful life. Next year, the company plans to set this satellite to drift into a “parking orbit” in outer space. When this happens, some or all of DIRECTV’s SD programming will go offline. If you want to continue to enjoy your favorite shows, you’ll have to upgrade to DIRECTV HD and get a Genie receiver.
Upgrade Your DIRECTV Receiver with Signal Connect
DIRECTV has two ways for current viewers to upgrade – HD and 4K. Either one of them requires a type of Genie receiver to enjoy. DIRECTV HD delivers programming in stunning 1080p high definition reception. 4K is the highest quality programming that the satellite TV provider has to offer. Both HD and 4K are far superior to the SD programming you’ve been watching with that outdated receiver. Are you a current customer who’s interested in a DIRECTV upgrade to HD or 4K? Give our reps a call at 866.726.4182. They’ll answer your questions and even check to see if you qualify for a DIRECTV upgrade promotion.
We Have Home Automation Products, Too!
Alexa is only one of many popular automation products that make your home more energy efficient. Electronic products retailer Solid Signal, a division of Signal Connect, carries a variety of Wi-Fi smart plugs, smart power strips, and smart outlets. These devices let you set schedules that automatically turn devices on and off. This makes these units perfect for entertainment systems that draw excessive standby power. They also turn on lights with a tap of a phone, are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or through each device’s native app. If you’re not sure which of these home automation products is best for you, give us a call at 866-726-4182.