How to use an older TV with Amazon Echo and Alexa

An old tube TV setup like a Smart TV with Netflix playing
Credit: RetroThing.typepad.com

While “Smart” TVs are becoming more and more common, there are many of us who are still using a standard model without any of the features found on newer devices. Among the features missing from most older televisions is the ability to sync with an Amazon Echo or similar device.

Luckily, there is a fairly straightforward workaround that’ll allow you to use your Echo to change channels, play/pause content, and toggle the TV on and off. The biggest challenge faced when attempting to connect an Amazon Echo to an older piece of technology is the lack of backwards-compatible interfacing methods.

The first step is to connect your TV to a smart hub, most of which are compatible with a variety of other devices such as speakers and subwoofers as well. Logitech makes a great option, the Harmony Hub, which supports Alexa voice integration right out of the box.

A picture of a Harmony Hub and Remote plugged in and charging
Credit/TheWireCutter

After your TV is connected to a smart hub, you’ll need to connect the hub with your Amazon Echo device and update it with the most recent software so that the two devices know how to communicate with one another. If you decide to go with the Logitech Harmony Hub, they have software available that offers multiple pre-created commands.

Once you have synced your Amazon Echo with the smart hub, you should be just about ready to begin controlling your TV using voice commands. You may need to update the device software on the smart hub or Amazon Echo in order to ensure full compatibility.

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