Smart speakers, such as like the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo and Google Assistant-packing Google Home, have been able to command numerous brands of TV -- including LG, Sony and Vizio -- for the last couple of years.
Now Samsung is finally opening its own smart TV system up to the two biggest names in home voice control, it announced Sunday at CES.
2019 televisions from the most successful TV maker in the world will be able to respond to voice commands issued via Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers. Examples include power on/off, volume, channel selection and app launching. "Alexa, turn on the TV" or, "Hey Google, launch Netflix" will produce results with Samsung's 2019 TVs.
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, for example. LG's 2019 TVs offer both Alexa and Google Assistant, for example, while Sony TVs have just Google Assistant.
Samsung isn't ceding its voice remote to Amazon or Google yet, however. The remote-based voice commands and on-screen results for Samsung TVs will still be powered exclusively by its own personal assistant, Bixby.
The new-for-2019 Bixby 2.0 promises improved responsiveness, smarter replies and a more conversational approach than the old version, which couldn't begin to compete with Alexa or Google in my tests.
At launch, the ability to work with Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers will only be available on 2019 Samsung TVs, but Samsung's representatives said it might trickle down to 2018 or earlier sets in a future software update.