So you bought a brand new Alexa and you’re wondering if there’s a way to use Alexa to control your Sky Q cable box. Can you use Alexa to change channels on Sky Q with voice commands?
After researching the subject and fiddling around with both my Sky Q and Alexa, I learned some interesting facts that I’ll share with you below.
Can Alexa Work with Sky Q?
No. Officially, Alexa does not work with Sky Q but there are some unofficial workarounds that can work. There’s an unofficial, user-made Alexa skill for the Sky Q box, and the other solution would be to use a third-party hub as a middleman for sending signals from Alexa to Sky Q.
Look, both of the above solutions require a rather complicated installation process, so if you’re not comfortable with tasks such as; forwarding ports on your router, creating a static IP, and configuring Alexa skills, maybe it’s best to avoid this for now. On the other hand, if you do have a bit of technical and network experience, let’s move on.
Note: There is an official Sky TV skill for Alexa on Amazon, but it’s only available in New Zealand. Currently, the skill doesn’t have any user reviews, so I can’t say how useful it is.
Using an Unofficial Alexa Skill for Sky Q (Difficult Installation)
Before we continue, I have another quick disclaimer. This method is not officially recommended and it does have several bugs and issues. It’s an unofficial skill for Alexa made by a fan, and it’s a little rough around the edges, and there’s also a chance it might not even work.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need access to your router and the ability to forward ports and change various IP settings. You’ll also need to have a fixed IP from your ISP company so you’ll be able to forward ports. For a detailed tutorial, visit the Github skill page.
Some of the things you’ll need to configure:
- Forward Ports
- Configure Amazon Developer Back-end
- Setup Alexa Skill
- Setup AWS Lambda
- Link Accounts
And much more.
Remember, using this method involves quite a lot of work. I consider myself experienced in the tech industry, and even this was over my head. If you don’t want to put yourself through all of that, there’s an easier solution:
Use a Middle-man Hub
The idea here would be to send signals from an Alexa device to a hub and from that hub to Sky Q. You could also buy a Sky Q hub which should be compatible with Alexa devices. Make sure all of your devices support Wifi and are connected to your local network.
- Sky Q Hub (router and cable bundle)
- Universal Harmony Hub
- Fire TV Cube
Most universal IR hubs should work, some people have had luck with Logitech Harmony Hub. Before you buy a hub, make sure it’s compatible with Sky Q. I like the Fire Cube, based on my research, it seems to work better, and it’s cheaper than a more advanced hub.
Amazon’s Fire TV Cube is more convenient, and a little cheaper than most hubs out there. The best part? There are plenty of Alexa-ready devices that could work, and you could even try using the Alexa app on your phone.
Once configured, Amazon’s Fire TV Cube can send certain commands to your Sky Q via Alexa such as changing channels, turning the box on and off, adjusting volume, and searching for programs. But it does have issues.
The problem? It seems a lot of people struggle to connect their Alexa-enabled devices to Sky Q or run into other issues, such as delays, unresponsiveness, and connectivity issues. One person said he fixed the problem by turning off his Alexa device for a couple of days and then it reconnected to Sky Q with no issues.
From what I can tell, it seems like Sky Q doesn’t play well with Alexa-enabled devices. It looks like some Alexa devices are compatible with certain Sky Q boxes but there’s no mention of which models work together, so it’s a gamble.
Using Sky Q’s Voice Control
While this doesn’t involve Alexa, it works pretty much the same as Alexa. Sky Q actually supports a wide range of voice commands but you need a Sky Q remote that supports voice control. You might even be able to get one for free with your subscription.
If you have such a remote, pair it to the Sky Q box over Bluetooth. To use the voice control simply hold the voice button, speak a command, and release it. If everything is working properly, the Sky Q box should follow the command.
The downside to this method is that you may have to buy a separate remote (if you don’t have one already), and you have to press a button. The whole point of using Alexa is to avoid pressing buttons on your remote control.
For those of you concerned with privacy, the Sky Q remote only activates voice control when you press a button, unlike Alexa devices that are always listening for commands. So, in that regard, it’s not a bad solution. Definitely cheaper than buying a hub!
There are plenty of voice commands, such as:
- “Go to Sky 1”
- “Play Recordings (Filename)”
- “Launch App (Youtube, Spotify, etc)”
- “Turn subtitles on/off”
- “Search for Movie Title”
- “Movie Genre”
And many more.
The Bottom Line:
To wrap up, at the moment, there’s no official way to get Alexa working with Sky Q and the unofficial methods are rather complicated. I also don’t know if it’s a good idea to buy another hub to allow an Alexa-enabled device to communicate with Sky Q.
The good news is most Alexa-devices can control most smart TVs, so you might be able to control the TV core functions, such as volume, through Alexa, while watching Sky Q.
What would I do? I would stick to the Sky Q remote’s voice function, I feel like it’s the most convenient and budget-friendly option. If you have money to throw around, you could try the Fire Cube, it seems to be able to control the Sky Q box, at least in some cases.
Worse case, you’ll have to return a hub!