2019 Update

Although nearly two years old, all of the information in this article is still relevant. These 4 simple steps will help you connect your Alexa to your Apple TV; scroll down to find out how. 


Have you ever wondered, “how does Apple TV work,” or “can Alexa control Apple TV?”

The answer is: yes, it can!

And I’m going to show you how in just a few easy steps.

While your Alexa might not be able to control Apple TV or say… your wireless home security system from Protect America on its own ;), you can easily add a control hub unit like the Logitech Harmony Hub to accomplish your goals with just a few short steps.

1. Your Equipment List

While Alexa is not able to directly control your Apple TV unit, you can use a home hub controller like the Harmony Hub Remote to create a task list for Alexa to execute allowing her to turn on your television, switch the input to the Apple TV, and connect to the audio system.  In order to achieve this you will need:

  • Alexa and/or Echo
  • Your smartphone or tablet that supports your Apple TV
  • Logitech Harmony Hub Remote
  • A WiFi enabled home network
  • Apple TV
  • Flat screen television with HDMI connections

2. Set Up Your Harmony Hub

While Alexa can turn on your television set, it doesn’t have the ability to complete a complex list of tasks to open the connection to your Apple TV. The Harmony Hub creates that tasklist and feeds it to Alexa when you use the magic command, “Alexa, watch Apple TV.”

alexa-pull-data

Your Harmony Hub works using an infrared signal to turn on your television and execute other commands normally controlled by your television remote.  So, the Hub must be positioned in a direct line of sight to your television, gaming systems, streaming video device like the Apple TV, and any other WiFi enabled units you want to add to your home automation network.  You can’t hide it in a cabinet as the wood will block the signal.

Next, you need to download the app for the Harmony Hub by visiting the Apple or Android store. The app will walk you through creating your account and connecting it to your home WiFi network.  You will need the password to your home network.

3. Connect Apple TV to Your Harmony

During setup the Harmony Hub will look for other WiFi enabled devices nearby and ask you if you wish to add those devices to your system.  If your Apple TV does not appear automatically, click on the search icon and select your version of Apple TV from the list.  It will ask you for your Apple TV account information–you only need to enter this information once, as the Harmony and Alexa will store it for future use.

Finally, you need to create an Activity in the Harmony Hub. You will enter in the voice command you will use to turn on your Apple TV.  Next, you need to create the activity list that Alexa and Harmony will walk through to access your unit.  This may include turning on the television, selecting the correct input, logging into your Apple TV account, and choosing the audio system.

alexa-control-apple-tv

4. Talk to Alexa

Once your Activity is saved, you are ready to go!  Simple say, “Alexa, watch Apple TV,” and you are good to go!  You will still need to use your Apple TV app to select which shows to watch, but you won’t need to find any remote to get going.

Amazon Alexa Echo Dot with light blue light glowing is next to a succulent.

Can Alexa Control Roku?

Homeowners with Roku on their television will be happy to know they can use Alexa to operate the media player. But how can Alexa control Roku? The Roku is a skill available on Alexa. This means accessing your media from the Roku is as easy as saying “Alexa, open Hulu on Roku.”

To enable the Roku skill, users should open their Alexa mobile application, go to settings and tap on TV & Video. Then they can activate the Roku skill and link their account.

Protect America works with our customers to create a monitored home security system that you can install and operate. Give us a call to learn more today.