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 ›
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 ›
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.
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 ›
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 ›
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.
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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.
Garmin just announced an updated version of their Garmin Speak called the Garmin Speak Plus. The new premium model adds a dash cam along with several safety features to a very small device that provides access to Alexa in your car. I got a chance to play with a unit at CES and learn a bit more about its new features. Read more ›
I’m currently at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and I spent the evening last night with my buddy Lon Seidman as he covered all the cool tech at the show. If you don’t know about Lon, he has a fantastic YouTube channel, that I highly recommend, where he reviews all sorts of devices. The video above is his first in a series of CES coverage. I make a guest appearance around the 11:35 mark in the video, so be sure not to miss my goofy mug. If you want to play Where’s Elias?, see if you can spot the 2 other times I appear in the video. Hint: One is fairly obvious, the other is not, and I’m never just walking around in the background.
I got a chance to see and play around with the new NVIDIA Shield TV that was announced at CES. Here’s initial hands on impressions of the first Android TV streaming device that comes with an Amazon Video app. Read more ›
I just had some hands on time with the new 2nd-gen NVIDIA Shield TV that was just revealed last night at CES. Seeing how it’s the first Android TV streaming box to have an official Amazon Video app, I jumped immediately into the app to have a look around. Read more ›
At their CES keynote, NVIDIA has just announced the next generation Shield TV streaming box running Android TV. Specific hardware specs were not revealed, but NVIDIA says it has three times the performance of any other streaming box on the market. The device’s biggest new features are support for 4K HDR, Amazon Video, and Google’s Voice Assistant. Read more ›
Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners will feel right at home with the remote that comes with the Fire TV Edition televisions from Westinghouse, Seiki, and Element. That’s because the remote is nearly identical to the Alexa remote that comes with Amazon’s streaming devices. I would even go as far as to guess that Amazon even manufactured the remotes, or at least the pre-production versions being used to control the TVs at CES. Read more ›
Amazon’s Fire OS operating system is the star of the show when it comes to the new Fire TV Edition televisions announced from Westinghouse, Seiki, and Element, but the hardware itself is just as interesting. Here is what I’ve learned about them so far during my time at CES. Read more ›
I’ll be attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for the first time this year. I’ll be there on January 3rd (Tuesday) and stay through January 5th (Thursday) at the very least. If you happen to be there and see me walking around, please say hello. I’ll do my best to find time to post while I’m there, but if you’d like more frequent updates, you can follow me on Twitter (@Elias), Facebook (esaba), and/or Instagram (esaba).
When Amazon gave developers access to Alexa through the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), they also released their voice assistant from the confines of the Amazon Echo with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Up until now, the former has received the most attention, with the release of over 100 Alexa Skills, but now the first manufacturer to use the latter to fully integrate Alexa into their device has arrived. Invoxia, makers of the Triby connected speaker for the kitchen, have announced that they’ll be the first third party manufacturer to integrate Alexa into their device. Triby is similar to the Amazon Echo in many ways, but also includes features focused on being the communication hub for your family with digital messaging capabilities, through its screen, and the ability to make internet calls to family members. Ford has also announced Alexa integration into their car’s infotainment systems, but Triby is positioned to be the first to bring Alexa integration to consumers. An update bringing Alexa to the device is expected to be released this Spring. From the Fire TV, to speakers like Triby, to cars, you can probably expect to hear about a lot more devices in 2016 integrating Alexa voice capabilities.