Getting Started with Alexa Voice Control

Alexa provides a variety of hands-free ways to control your Plex Media Server and player with just your voice. The Plex Skill enables users to get information about—and control playback of—their media library on other supported Plex apps. Once you've installed the Plex Media Server, you can start playing your favorite movies, music, and TV shows on your devices, all by voice. You can plop down on the couch and say Alexa, ask Plex to play The Big Lebowski without ever lifting a finger. The Plex Skill also provides information like What's On Deck or can even Suggest something to watch. So put down the remote and enjoy your media, all controlled by voice!

Tip! Looking to link Alexa with the Plex Skill fast? You can enable it here.

Related Page: Alexa Voice Commands

Current Support

Amazon Devices

Voice control for Plex requires a device that is compatible with the Alexa Voice Service, such as:

  • Amazon Echo
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • Amazon Fire TV (currently US only)
  • Amazon Fire Tablet
  • Amazon Tap

Amazon Skill Stores

The Plex Skill is currently available in the following Amazon Skill Stores.

  • UK
  • US

Plex Apps

The following Plex apps are officially supported:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android (mobile)
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • iOS
  • PlayStation 4
  • Plex Media Player
  • Plex Web App
  • Roku
  • Smart TVs (Samsung 2016+ models)
  • Windows/Windows Phone
  • Xbox One
  • Samsung Smart Hub (v2.008+, 2015 models, third-party)

To use a Plex app with Alexa, that app must first:

  1. Be signed in to your Plex account
  2. Be running and active on the device

Note: Plex Media Server version 1.5.1 or newer is required.

Known Limitations

While you can use Alexa to browse, discover, play, and control your media, there are some limitations currently. We have plans to expand the features and capability, but for now, these are the known limitations:

  • Amazon Fire TV devices cannot be used for direct audio playback. You can, however, have the audio played through the Plex app on your Fire TV. To do so, make sure the Plex app is active and then include the friendly name of the Fire TV player at the end of the command. For example: Alexa, ask Plex to play music by Adele on the Fire TV.
  • Chromecast is not supported, as the Alexa Voice Service doesn't interact with Google's API.
  • Voice control of Photos, Other Video, and Watch Later is not currently supported.
  • Plex Cloud servers are not currently supported.
  • Fast User Switching and Managed Users with Plex Home are not currently supported.
  • Skip forward, skip back, and navigating menus directly (up, down, left, right, select, etc) are not available voice commands at this time. 

Setting up Alexa

Ensure the Plex Media Server is Accessible

One of the primary requirements for using Plex with Alexa is that the online Alexa service needs to be able to reach your Plex Media Server to talk to it. So, what do you need to do?

Enable Remote Access

To allow your Plex Media Server to be accessed as needed, you need to enable Remote Access for your server. That's done under Settings > Server > Remote Access in Plex Web App.

In many cases, it will either already be successfully configured for you or the automatic configuration will work fine. Sometimes things can't be auto-configured, though, and you'll need to do something such as manually forward a port in your router/modem.

Successfully enabling Remote Access will give you the best experience when using Alexa.

Related Page: Enabling Remote Access for a Server
Related Page: Troubleshooting Remote Access

What if I Can't Get That Working?

Even if you can't get Remote Access successfully enabled, you'll still be okay. In this case, you need to be running at least version 0.9.15.0 or newer of Plex Media Server. When you do so and and don't explicitly disable Remote Access, then your server will still be able to set up a "Relay" connection, even if Remote Access isn't fully configured.

Our Relay feature allows a limited connection to be established to your Plex Media Server even if the normal Remote Access isn't working.

Tip!: Remember that you need to run Plex Media Server version 0.9.15.0 or newer and to turn on Remote Access in order for Relay to be available.

Related Page: Accessing a Server through Relay

Link Plex to Alexa

To enable the Plex Skill in Amazon's Alexa Voice Service, you will need to link your Plex account by downloading the Alexa app for your mobile device (phone or tablet) or use the Alexa web app.

  1. Open the the Alexa app on your mobile device or the Alexa web app.
  2. Navigate to Skills in the side bar menu.
  3. Search for Plex in the search field and select "Plex" from the results.
  4. Use the Enable button under the Plex logo.
  5. If you are not already signed in to Plex, you will be asked to authenticate your Plex account.
  6. Use the Authorize button to grant Alexa access to your Plex account.

Related Page: Plex Skill for Alexa

Set the Plex Media Server

Before you can play any media, you will need to set the Plex Media Server to use with Alexa. Say:

  • Ask Plex to change my server

Alexa will give you a list of servers associated with your Plex account. Choose the desired entry from the list. Alternatively, you can tell Alexa to directly set or change the Plex Media Server using the friendly name of the server and save the additional voice prompt. Just say:

  • Ask Plex to change my server to Mothership

Tip!: If you only have one Plex Media Server available, simply say Ask Plex to change my server and Alexa will recognize that there is only one server and set it.

Set the Plex Player

The last step to preparing the Plex integration with the Alexa Voice Service is to set the default Plex player. Say:

  • Ask Plex to change my player

Alexa will give you a list of the available players and you can choose the desired entry from the list. Similarly, you can tell Alexa to directly set or change the player using the name of the player and save the additional voice prompt. Just say:

  • Ask Plex to change my player to Living Room TV

Tip!: Before you can connect to a Plex player, you need to ensure that the desired Plex app is already running.

You are now ready to control Plex with your voice using Alexa! There are a lot of different ways you can interact with Alexa, from asking for suggestions to playing a specific episode of a TV show. Make sure to review our article on Alexa Voice Commands.

Initiating Voice Commands

How you talk with Alexa can vary by device. On Amazon Fire TV and Echo Tap, simply tap and hold the Talk button on the remote and say your command starting with Ask Plex... or Open Plex. The Amazon Echo, and Echo Dot devices work slightly differently because they are always listening and require an extra command to let them know you are talking to Alexa. On those devices, say Alexa, Ask Plex... or Alexa, Open Plex.

There are lots of voice commands you can try, which are outlined in our Alexa Voice Commands article.

Tip!: You can use Ask Plex and Tell Plex interchangeably. Want to get out of whatever Alexa is doing? Just say Alexa, cancel and Alexa will do so.

Note: When controlling another player, you'll need to ensure that Plex app is already running. For instance, if you want to control your Roku app, then Plex needs to be running/active on the Roku.

Related Page: Alexa Voice Commands

Unlinking and Relinking Alexa

You can unlink your Plex account with Alexa or change the Plex account you would like to use with Alex.

  1. Open the the Alexa app on your mobile device or the Alexa web app.
  2. Navigate to Skills in the side bar menu.
  3. Choose Your Skills in the upper right corner.
  4. Scroll down to Plex and use the Disable Skill button.
  5. To relink Alexa, use the Enable button and then Authorize again.