Amazon Echo

What technology should I use in a home for the disabled?

Episode 1431

Alan from Michigan
Amazon Echo Show

Alan's wife works for a non profit for helping the disabled and wants to know what technology should be in the houses they build. Leo says that Wi-Fi internet is a given, as is cable television. Cutting the cable is attractive, but Leo says that connected TV is still the best option to date. He should run conduit in the walls and just switch out the cables as technology evolves. YouTube TV would be good if they can get it. Also, voice activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home would be a lot of help.

Can I use my Echo to control my stereo?

Steve from Wichita, KS

Episode 1423

Steve is visually impaired and he wants to know if he can use the Amazon Echo to control his Sonos stereo system. Leo says yes! You can set it to the auxiliary input and then you can use the Echo to control it. That's the way to do it. The Apple Home Pod will also be able to do it in December. Go for the DOT though. Leo has his DOT connected to his and it works great.

Can the Amazon Echo make phone calls?

Episode 1418

Cindy from California
Amazon Echo

Cindy wants to know if the Echo can work as an intercom all around the house. Leo says it can, but the Echo Dot requires external speakers, while the Echo has its own speaker. There's also the Echo Show, which also has video. She heard that it can make phone calls. Leo says it doesn't make phone calls, but it can make Echo to Echo calls to anyone in her network. If she wants to make phone calls, then Google Home is the way to go. It uses Google Voice.

Why does the Amazon Echo stop streaming?

Episode 1410

Tamar from Los Angeles, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Tamar has an Amazon Echo Dot. She'll be listening to streaming radio and then it will just stop working. Leo says that he's had the same problem and it could be that it hears the word stop and stops. But it could also be that the stream stalls and the Echo gives up. Leo discovered that when he used the Echo Show and could see the error message. When a stream stops, it could be a random stop of the stream to force it to restart. This is largely due to having to pay royalties for music that they play. But if it's stopping suddenly and after just a few minutes, then that's not normal.

How can I make a phone call with the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1409

Keith from Coachella, CA
Amazon Echo

Keith is a fan of the Amazon Echo because he is vision impaired. Leo says that the Echo is great for accessibility because he can talk to it and get the necessary replies. It's not perfect, though, of course. It doesn't make phone calls yet. Right now, he could "drop in" and make phones calls to other Echo users. Some day someone may make a skill for that, but Google Home, by contrast, will be able to make a call to any phone number via Google Voice. So for that option, Google Home is the better option.