Voice Commands have been evolving into an exciting part of the “smart” feature set and this includes smart TV devices. It is no secret that Google’s ultimate goal is to create a Star Trek “Computer” like experience. Although we are not quite there yet, the Voice Commands on Android TV can actually be surprisingly useful. I tend not to use Voice Commands on my phone all that much. Partly because I can do most things just as fast without; partly because I don’t want to be seen or heard talking to my phone. The living room is a different environment and neither of those reasons apply. I don’t mind talking to electronics in the comfort of my own home and the Voice Commands can actually get things done faster than using the simple remote.
While great strides have been made in the intuitiveness of Voice Commands (I think some of these will surprise you!), they are worthless unless you know just what you can say. We had previously done a quick tip article on pulling up the Voice Command “Help” menu, but this is only a fraction of the commands you can use. We felt that it would be helpful to all Android TV fans to compile a list of working Voice Commands because Google doesn’t always do a great job of highlighting these features. This will be a living list, so if you stumble upon any working Voice Commands please notify Android TV News and we can add it right away. On to the List!
also try: “Ok, Google” – “Please Help Me” – “How Does This Work?”
This will pull up a help screen on some of the basic Voice Commands you can use. A great point of reference to get you started! It includes the following commands:
example: “Inception” – “Jurassic Park” – “Space Jam”
This will pull up a movie’s card. The card features a movie’s poster, rating, score (Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB), synopsis, trailer link, and any source you can play the movie from. If you scroll down from the card, you will see cast, other movie by director, genre, or keyword. Then it will show results from specific apps you have installed on your Android TV.
example: “Parks and Rec” – “Peaky Blinders” – “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”
Same idea as the movie card except there is no Rotten Tomato score and no trailer. Also, instead of TV director or genre recommendations, you get a “People also searched for” ribbon.
“[Movie Genre]” or “[TV Genre]”
example: “Romantic Comedies” – “Show me some Reality TV” – “What are some Television Dramas”
This just throws up a ribbon of movies or TV shows that fit the genre and does not appear to be in any particular order.
“[TV or Movie Cast]”
example: “Cast of Avengers” – “Who is in House of Cards?” – “Show me the cast of The Revenant”
This will pull a ribbon of cast members and their characters in the show.
“[Actor or Actress]”
example: “Jennifer Lawrence” – “Show me Tom Hardy” – “Who is Will Smith?”
This will bring up a card for the actor or actress and then list Movies and TV shows they are in. Alternatively, you can say “Will Smith Movies” or “Will Smith TV Shows” to show only ribbon of movies and TV shows they are in.
“[Movie or TV Keyword]” and “[Movie or TV shows by Year]”
example: “Time Travel TV Shows” – “Movies about Bears” – “TV Shows from 1986” – “Movies Released in 2014”
Pull up Movies and TV Shows from specific years or keywords!
“[Any Combination of the Above]”
example: “What are some comedies about Paris from 2011 starring Owen Wilson”
Things get interesting when you start stringing these commands together and Google can refine your search. However, the command for “Oscar Winning Movies” appears to be broken at the moment…
“[Song Title]” or “[Artist]” or “[Album]” or “[Music Genre]”
ex. “Hotline Bling” – “Beyonce” – “The White Album” – “Country Music”
Saying a Song, Artist, or Album will pull up an information card about each. Scrolling down will give you related information like other albums, tracks, or videos to play. Saying a genre of music will pull up a ribbon of top tracks on YouTube from that genre.
“Play [Song Title, Album, or Artist]”
ex: “Play Blank Space” – “Listen to Paint It Black” – “I want to hear Sugar by Maroon 5”
Just saying a song title will pull up a card like with movies, but saying play, play me, listen to, I want to listen to, or I want to hear BEFORE the song title will autoplay the song with YouTube. This works with Albums and Artists as long as they are on YouTube. Saying an Artist will start an “Artist Mix.” I used to be able to get these to open in Google Music but that functionality appears to be gone with these music commands. I am assuming this has to do with the YouTube RED/YouTube Music push.
example: “DramaFever” – “Does not Commute” – “Plex”
Saying an App Name will simply bring up a card for the app with a description and a link to the Play Store and the option to watch a trailer if one is available. Underneath, Google will display related apps.
“[Apps by Genre]” or “[Apps by Keyword]” or “[Apps by Year]”
example: “What are some Puzzle Games?” – “Show me Racing Games” – “Top New Apps”
This one I find a little hit or miss but Google should deliver a ribbon full of apps based on your search criteria.
“Launch [App Name]”
example: “Open Live Channels” – “Launch Plex” – “Open Settings”
This one is pretty simple and useful. Just say open or launch and then any app you have installed and it will fire it up. If you have very few apps then I am not sure how much of a time saver it is. But if you have a few app ribbons going on, it can add a little convenience!
You can also leverage Google’s Knowledge Graph and search to get quick answers on your TV like you would using Google Now on your phone. Google’s help menu says you can search for images, ask the weather, find facts about things and people, do math calculations, see nearby movie showtimes, check sport scores and so much more!
If you check out the video above, you can see that each Google search is not an island. You are able to string together questions and qualifiers to refine your search in an almost conversational manner. It is a bit magical when it works correctly because it doesn’t really seem like it should. We are still a ways off from Star Trek’s “Computer”, but these are the first steps.
Live Channels Voice Commands
I have found a few additional voice commands that require you to have the Live Channels app set up. My setup includes channels from Pluto TV and OTA stations from my HDHomeRun.
“What’s on TV?”
This will pull up the program guide in Live Channels.
“Turn to [Channel Name or Number]”
example: “Tune to WTAE” – “Go to channel 805” – “Channel Cats 24/7” – “Turn to Channel CBS”
There are a few different variations on this one, but from the home screen or within the Live Channel app you can use Voice Commands to channel surf. “Go to Channel #” is the most obvious and failproof. It can also work by saying the station call sign or even just the network name but this can be a little inconsistent. For example I can say “Go to WTAE” or “Go to 804” but NOT “Go to Channel ABC” even though they are all the same station. Curiously, I can say “Go to Channel CBS” or “Go to Channel 802” but NOT “Go to KDKA”. Your mileage may vary. The Pluto TV channels seem to work without fail just by saying the channel name or “Channel [Channel Name].
Again, this is the current list of Voice Commands that I have right now, but I am sure there are more out there I am not aware of. Google seems to treat them almost like easter eggs. So if you happen to know or use any other Voice Commands, I would love to add them to this list and keep it as updated as possible!