Episode 277 - "Back" at It

On this episode of HomeTech: We take a deep dive into the numerous smart home announcements unveiled by Google during their recent Pixel event. Plus the latest home tech headlines including: US blacklists several major Chinese surveillance companies. Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video nears launch. Apple adds an option to delete Siri's history. Disney+ unveils its content lineup ahead of its November 12th launch. And more…

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Episode 276 - Stanky Stankey

On this episode of HomeTech: YouTube TV is finally available on Fire TV devices. A feud between Dish and Fox leaves sports fans in the cold. Next-gen ISP bundles may include various streaming services. The future of DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” package may be in question. Google follows Amazon’s lead, adding the deletion of Assistant command history. More delays on Ikea’s forthcoming smart blinds. Vivint is slowly moving forward with 5G internet service. And more…

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Episode 275 - CEDIA 2019 Wrap-Up

On this episode of HomeTech: Join us on this jam-packed edition as we wrap up another big CEDIA show! Our discussion includes some of the biggest trends and technologies we observed on the floor, plus a few cool product-finds you won’t want to miss!

That, plus the latest home tech headlines including: The end of an era as Interlogix prepares to shut down at the end of 2019. AT&T refutes rumors that DirecTV is on the selling block. News emerges on NBC’s forthcoming streaming service, Peacock. An interesting (if pricey) new gadget from Hue. An in-depth review of Amazon’s massive hardware event. And more!

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Show Notes

Amazon Event Notes

Privacy

  • Big push on Privacy
  • Making the wake word 50% more accurate to prevent false positives
  • Mute button physically disconnects the microphones (and cameras)
  • New Feature: Home Mode – Allows customers to set devices when they are home to have no recording of audio or video
  • New: Amazon Privacy Hub – Shows data on the web or in app.
  • Possible to ask Alexa to "delete what I just said" or "delete everything I said today." (Amazon the only company exposing this feature)
  • New utterance: "Alexa, tell me what you heard"
  • New later this year: "Alexa, why did you do that?" for troubleshooting ghosts in the machine
  • New today: Auto delete recordings in 3- and 18-month intervals

Echo Speakers

  • New: More natural sounding Alexa, sounds much better & more natural
  • New: Multi-lingual mode for mixed language households
  • New: Alexa celebrity voices (Samuel L. Jackson shown)
  • New: Frustration detection - supposed to know when you are frustrated with Alexa
  • New: Alexa Guest Connect: lets your guests connect to your Echo and bring in their Alexa stuff
  • Alexa Guard will now listen for footsteps, water, talking etc and send you text alerts
  • Alexa for Kids
    • An interface for kids,
    • Education Skill API will tell you how your kid did on their math test.
  • Hardware: Echo Dot with Clock!
    • 9-minute snooze button
    • Preorder today: $59
  • Hardware: Echo
    • Looks familiar
    • Just like the Echo Plus from last year (no mention of zigbee hub)
    • Preorder today: $99
  • Hardware: Echo Studio
    • 3D audio, Dolby Atmos, Self-tuning to the room
    • Looks like a big echo
    • Three mid-range speakers, a front directional tweeter, and a 5.25 bass driver
    • Physical buttons on top
    • Pair two with sub and it will work with FireTV for 3.1 surround
    • Preorder today: $199 look out Sonos (Apple? lol)
  • Hardware: Echo Show 8
    • Looks just like the Show 5 but with an 8 inch display
    • Preorder today: $129 (wow, Google in trouble)
  • Hardware: Echo Glow
    • Glowing orb type device that can change colors and blink lights for your Alexa powered dance party
    • Preorder today: $29
    • Should be good for the holidays
  • Hardware: Echo Flex
    • a tiny echo you plug into a socket, has USB so you can charge thigns
    • Two buttons, speaker, mic, and LED status light
    • Makes it easy to put voice access points throughout the house
    • $25, preorders today
    • Accessories : Motion sensor, nightlight

Eero

  • New eero devices, look thicker than the current models
  • Dual band radio, adaptive backhaul, 10 minute setup, mesh coverage
  • Use Alexa to control wifi (turn on and off for certain devices, users etc)
  • Alexa API available for other router manufactures to take advantage of this feature as well
  • On sale today: $99 (Europe later this year)
  • 3-pack Bundle is $249 (down from $399)

Ring

  • Alexa going to live in Ring Doorbells (Elite models) later this year.
  • Hardware: Ring Retrofit Alarm Hub
    • Allows old alarm boxes to be integrated (similar to 2gig's offering)
    • Lets you add on hardwired sensors to Ring Alarm panel
    • $199 or bundled with Ring Alarm for $375
  • Hardware: Ring Stick up Cam
    • Plugin, battery, solar
    • $99, available today
  • Hardware: Ring indoor cam
    • Itty-bitty camera, indoor only
    • Supports Home Mode
    • $59, available today

Works with Alexa

  • 100,000+ Alexa Skills, 85,000+ Alexa-compatible products
  • Hardware: Amazon Smart Oven
    • Has Alexa but also "scan to cook" to handle prepackage food products. (Whole Foods stuff too)
    • Comes with Echo Dot
    • Preorder: 249

Amazon Sidewalk

  • New low frequency radio standard!!!
  • Works on 900mhz, secure
  • Extends distance for controlling smart home devices, 500 meters or better

Amazon Fetch

  • Dog tracking hardware, software

Echo Auto

  • Coming to Buick, Chevy, Cadillac, GMC

WEARABLES

  • Echo Buds
    • Headphones with built in noise canceling by Bose
    • Preorder $129
  • Echo Frames
    • Eyeglasses with discreet direction speakers that point audio at you but not the people around you
    • Prescription ready
    • 31 grams, no display or cameras
    • $179, invite price
  • Echo Loop
    • A ring with micriphones and it buzzes for notifications
    • Demo did not work but interesting still
    • $129, invite price

Episode 273 - CEDIA 2019 Preview

On this episode of HomeTech: We are joined by Giles Sutton, CEDIA’s VP of Industry Engagement, to get his take on the upcoming EXPO in Denver! Giles shares several exciting updates surrounding the big event. Additionally, we dive into some of the organization’s latest initiatives including a promising new workforce development program and increased outreach to the design and specification community. Don’t miss this one!

That, plus the latest home tech headlines including: Rumors of a new Apple TV to be unveiled next week. The 8K Association has released key performance attributes for this (daunting) new spec. RoomMe’s “room-level personalization” sensors make their debut to the CI channel. And more…

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