Amazon is introducing Fire TV Blaster - a $35/£35 add-on for Fire TV devices that will enable you to add hands-free Alexa control of your TV devices.

That means you'll be able to control your TV, soundbar and Sky box with your voice and do things like switch HDMI inputs.

You will also need to have an existing Echo device nearby, such as an Echo Dot, Echo or Echo Plus. 

The Fire TV Blaster uses infrared to control your devices - during the device set up you simply tell it the manufacturer of your TV, soundbar and if you have a Sky box. It'll then use standard infrared to control those devices depending on your voice command. So say you want to watch Sky One on your Sky box, it'll switch the input to your box and change to the right channel. 

If you're thinking you've heard this before, you sort-of have - the Fire TV Cube already includes this functionality and is essentially a full-Echo device as well. 

But now Amazon has decided to open up hands-free Alexa voice control to everybody who has a Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV (3rd Gen, the diamond-shaped one from 2017).

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As you may have read in our Fire TV Cube review, there are some issues with controlling your TV and ancillary devices with Alexa - most TV and sound devices are covered while there's full support for Sky boxes. But there's no support for BT or Virgin set top boxes, for example. 

Amazon is keen to get us used to using Alexa to control devices like our TVs as it seeks to further embed Alexa in our homes. We'll also see many TVs launch with built-in Alexa over the coming years, and this is a further step on that journey, too.

The Fire TV Blaster is available to pre-order now and will begin shipping on 11 December.

AmazonAmazon enables most Fire TV devices to have hands-free Alexa voice control of your TV image 2

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