Lenovo’s Smart Tab with Alexa Show Mode is better than Amazon’s Fire HD 10 in so many ways

One of the most interesting 3rd-party Alexa devices to come out of CES 2019 is easily the new Lenovo Smart Tab line of Android tablets with an included speaker dock. They are the first 3rd-party tablets to use Amazon’s Show Mode feature with hands-free Alexa built-in, which essentially turns them into an Echo Show when docked. Unlike Amazon’s own Show Mode Dock for their Fire tablets, which is nothing more than a charging stand that triggers Show Mode, Lenovo has put Dolby Atmos speakers and 3 far-field microphones in the dock to make this a true alternative to the Echo Show. Read more ›

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SiliconDust simplifies DVR service with two new HDHomeRun devices that store and serve recordings

SiliconDust, makers of the HDHomeRun line of network tuners, have announced a pair of new DVR devices at CES 2019 that give the Amazon Fire TV Recast and Tablo DVRs a serious run for their money. The all-new HDHomeRun SCRIBE DUO is an all-in-one solution that combines a pair of over-the-air tuners with a 1 TB DVR hard drive for recordings. It merges all of SiliconDust’s existing OTA services and features into a single sleek device that will surely become the best first device to buy for anyone entering the HDHomeRun ecosystem of cord-cutting solutions, all while maintaining the flexibility that differentiates HDHomeRun from competing DVRs. For new or existing HDHomeRun users, SiliconDust has also announced the HDHomeRun SERVIO, which adds 2 TBs of DVR storage to any HDHomeRun setup, while simultaneously eliminating the need to have a PC or NAS as your DVR server. Read more ›

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Amazon Alexa makes a big push into cars with a pair of new navigation partnerships

Amazon has announced a couple of big car navigation related partnerships for Alexa at CES 2019. The first is a partnership with Telenav, a connected car navigation platform. The second is a partnership with HERE Technologies, who’s navigation systems are in over 100 million cars. In both cases, Alexa will now be integrated into each companies future products. While this doesn’t directly affect consumers today, it means that Alexa will be found on many more car navigation systems in the near future as a baked-in component from the start. In the case of the HERE partnership, it also means Alexa will have access to much more mapping data, which will improve Alexa’s direction related queries outside of the car as well.

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Sengled announces new 1,500 lumen A19 smart bulb, hub-less WiFi smart bulbs, and more

Sengled is stepping up their smart lighting lineup in a significant way at CES 2019. Among the new products is a 100-watt equivalent smart bulb that puts out 1500 lumens of brightness, which is double what you get out of most smart bulbs on the market. There’s also a new smart flood light with a built-in motion sensor in the middle that can be used to detect room occupancy for automatic lighting control or to alert you of intruders while you’re away from home. Those two new lights require Sengled’s existing hub to function, but they’ve also announced a new line of WiFi smart bulbs that don’t require a hub. Read more ›

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TP-Links new smart home lineup includes a light-switch with built-in voice assistant

Thanks to competitive pricing and a wide assortment of good products, TP-Link has quickly become one of the leading smart home device manufacturers. They’ve announced a series of new products at CES 2019, including smart doorbells, security cameras, and smart plugs, but the most interesting new device is a smart light switch with a built-in voice assistant that you talk to through its integrated speaker and microphones. Read more ›

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JBL Link Bar soundbar with built-in Android TV will be released in Spring 2019 for $400

The JBL Link Bar, which was announced last May at Google I/O, is an interesting device that puts a full-fledged Android TV media player into a soundbar. Despite rumors of a Fall 2018 release, the company wasn’t able to release the $399.95 soundbar and optional $299.95 subwoofer before the year ended. JBL has now announced at CES 2019 that the Link Bar will be available some time this Spring. The 100-watt soundbar will double as a Google Assistant smart speaker, thanks to its far-field microphones, and house 3 HDMI ports for input switching.

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Tablo announces new 4-tuner OTA DVR with internal drive slot and adds commercial skipping

Tablo has made a couple of new announcements for CES 2019. The first is the release of a new product called the Tablo QUAD which is an over-the-air DVR that packs in 4-tuners, which is twice as many as in their existing Tablo DUAL models. It doesn’t have any built-in storage, but it does feature a user accessible 2.5″ internal hard drive slot, which is a first for a Tablo device, that gives customers a sleeker alternative to using an external drive connected to the device’s USB port. Also being announced is a new automatic commercial skipping feature. Read more ›

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NVIDIA’s first 65-inch gaming TV with a built-in Shield TV will be released next month for $4,999

NVIDIA showed off their big format gaming display (BFGD) a year ago at CES 2018 with the expectation that it would be released in the summer. The summer came and went but now HP has announced that it will be released in February for $4,999. While NVIDIA’s tech will power the display, multiple manufacturers are expected to create their own versions of the BFGD. HP’s Omen X Emperium 65 will be the first and it features a 144 Hz high refresh-rate 65-inch HDR panel with what is essentially a Shield TV built-in. Read more ›

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Apple is putting iTunes and AirPlay on Samsung TVs

Samsung has announced that their 2018 and 2019 TVs will be gaining an Apple iTunes app as well as support for AirPlay 2, the latest version of Apple’s proprietary casting protocol. This marks the first time that Apple iTunes content has ever been available on non-Apple hardware, outside of Windows PCs. If there ever has been an indicator that content is king and hardware is a distant second when it comes to streaming media, it is this new partnership. Read more ›

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Going to CES 2019 for the week

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is this upcoming week and I’ll be heading out there. It’s a very difficult show to cover as just a single person, but I’ll do my best to write about the most interesting streaming media, Fire TV, and Alexa related announcements. I’ll post here every chance I get, but if you’d like more frequent updates and a look at some of the gadgets I see that don’t make it to the site, you can follow me on Instagram (@esaba) and/or follow me on Twitter (@elias). I’ll also be helping out my buddy Lon Seidman some evenings for his daily CES Dispatch videos on his YouTube Channel, so you may see me pop up there, like I did last year.

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