Amazon Alexa and the Bravia XE80

Short version – the Sony Bravia XE80 does not work with Alexa.

My wife is forever going to remain bed-bound (3+ years and counting) and recently I'd noticed that she is having increasing difficulty manipulating both her iphone and TV remote controls. She obviously cannot affect any part of the wider environment. Voice control has to be the answer.

I bought an Amazon Echo, a Dot and a couple of smart plugs (TP-Link). So now she can turn lights on/off, call me using the Echo and play Music. All good and she's as happy as a clam about these improvements.

Apart from the Echo playing music the TV is her only other source of entertainment so that was the next target. The Sony Bravia XE80 sells itself as Alexa enabled. The price was okay, reviews seemed okay so I ordered one. And I just wasted an entire morning finding out how bad that model actually is.

Got everything setup, updated when prompted, installed the Alexa app on the TV itself and the Sony skill on Alexa. The app has a List of Things to try, so I started going through them. Alexa would turn the TV on/off. It would change the volume sometimes. It would obey 'next channel'. And that's it. No other commands would work.
Tell it to switch to HDMI 4? No
Tell it to change to channel 5? No
Tell it to pause? No
Tell it to change to BBC 1? "Command not supported by device TV". All attempts at changing channels failed unless I said "Next channel".
So this terrible Alexa enabled device was already proving unsuitable.

Youview. Jacqui uses Youview (we have a Youview box) constantly. It's her goto TV guide, she records what she wants and the UI is familiar. The Sony Bravia XE80 cannot record Youview. The only way to get this TV to record is to disable Youview completely and then add an extra HDD to the TV. This would mean Jacqui having to learn not just whatever UI was then presented but also would need to learn how to use the new tv remote. I'm not disabled but the navigation arrows being inside another ring of buttons meant it would be totally unsuitable. So that's another Bad Thing about this TV.

Speed. The TV Ui as a whole is so so slow. It took minutes to boot. Pressing a key to switch channels brought a delay of a few seconds.

It is now factory reset and back in it's box awaiting a return to Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Amazon Alexa and the Bravia XE80

  1. Bummer to hear about the TV not working.

    There’s an alternative that I’m using that should work with most if not all TVs. It will require more configuration up front, and the app to set it up is ugly and confusing as hell, but once configured it works really well (my kids use it).

    You’ll need a Broadlink RM Mini 3 (which sells for £19 on Amazon, but you can get it for about half that if you don’t mind buying direct from China), and the Broadlink alexa skill.

    The device is a universal infra red controler. You teach the app (this one) how to control your TV and set top boxes, and then you can tell alexa to “Turn on the tv” or “Change channel to 30 on TV”

    Broadlink advertises that this work only with the more expensive “broadlink rm pro” device, but it works perfectly fine with the RM Mini 3.

    This will work with any infra-red controllable devices, so you can use it for air conditioning, fans, etc. It can even control my Roomba if it has it in line of sight :)

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