If you’re of a certain age and/or geographic location, you probably rely on your local TV news station’s weather forecast. A new feature on Echo Show smart displays looks set to make them easier to watch on demand. Amazon has partnered with local news channels to automatically bring up their latest weather news videos when you say “Alexa, what’s the weather?”
I live in a coastal city with frequent hurricane, flood and severe weather warnings and our local weathermen are by far the best source of information to stay safe and dry (much better than any weather app – I’ve tried them all) . But setting up 8s isn’t always feasible (especially for cord cutters!), and finding videos on local news station websites can be difficult.
With hurricane season approaching, I was excited to try out this feature. Unfortunately, the local weather news videos are not yet in my city. But it’s currently live in more than 60 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee, Fresno, Omaha, Toledo and San Antonio, Amazon spokesperson Eric Sveum told me. He said they plan to expand the feature and are “considering proposals wherever there are local news stations.”
I was able to test it by requesting the weather in a supported city. Saying “Alexa, what’s the weather in New York?” to the Echo Show 15 brought up the usual forecast and current weather conditions on the screen and Alexa reading the information, but now there were thumbnail videos of local forecasts from multiple news stations at the bottom.
Videos don’t autoplay, thankfully; I had to tap one to start playing. It went full screen and started with the time-honored few seconds of the news anchor banter with the meteorologist (yes, I could have done without that) before diving into the forecast. For some videos, it wasn’t immediately clear when the video was from – a timestamp would be useful here.
You can also access the weather forecast without your voice by tapping the Alexa weather widget, which displays the same information screen. (To add an executable to a show, swipe left from the edge of the screen and select the executables panel).
Sveum says the local weather news video feature is live on Echo Show 8, Echo Show 10, Echo Show 15 devices and rolling out to Echo Show 5 devices.
Correction, June 23, 3:30 PM ET: The video feature for local weather news is currently in 60 cities, not 15, and is not available on Fire TV Omni.