Smart homes are getting smarter every year, with more devices supporting commands from our favorite Google Assistant.
Smart speakers, specifically Google Assistant-packing Google Home, have been able to command numerous TV brands — including LG, Sony and Vizio — for the last couple of years. Now Samsung has finally opened its own smart TV system up to the two biggest names in home voice control.
There is a good news for Google Home owners, Samsung is the latest to hop on the train. Make way, Bixby: Samsung is opening up its 2019 TV lineup to other voice assistants. Users will be able to control its upcoming QLED sets with Google Assistant. Compatibility requires a separate piece of Google Assistant hardware — like a Home, Home Hub or third-party smart display or speaker. You’ll essentially be able to use those types of devices as limited remote controllers. No surprise it doesn’t include native Assistant support, but it’s still a nice win for Google. But that won’t be a problem for anyone deeply ingrained into the Google Home/Assistant ecosystem. Samsung TVs will understand and execute commands they receive from Assistant, but the only built-in voice helper will continue to be Bixby.
Samsung TVs from 2019 will be able to respond to voice commands issued via Google Assistant smart speakers. Examples include:
- Turn your TV On or Off, like “Hey Google, turn on the TV”
- Channel selection,
- Control volume,
- Switch inputs,
- Launch select apps, like “Hey Google, launch Netflix”
If this sounds familiar, that’s because Chromecast and Android TV devices already support similar functionality. Separate from hands-free voice command via external speakers, many TV makers also offer built-in voice assistants. They’re available by pressing a button and talking into the remote, which can produce on-screen search results and weather reports. LG’s 2019 TVs offer both Google Assistant and Alexa, for example, while Sony TVs have just Google Assistant. However, remote-based voice commands and on-screen results for Samsung TVs will still be powered exclusively by Bixby. This functionality may even come to 2018 models via software update, but Samsung hasn’t yet committed to it.
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This is an important acknowledgement from Samsung that millions of people have already invested in the Google Assistant ecosystem. So, it’d be stubborn to just ignore them. By contrast, Bixby-powered Galaxy Home speaker hasn’t even shipped to consumers yet.
What do you think of this partnership? Would you consider relying on Google Assistant only to control your TV? Let me know in the comments below.