echo

Why do ads use the 'Alexa' trigger word?

Episode 1502

Mark from Myrtle Beach, SC
Amazon Echo

Mark wants to know why broadcast ads will use the 'Alexa' trigger word that could hijack his Echo device. Leo says that in Amazon's commercials, they actually use an inaudible sound behind the trigger word that prevents the device from taking action on it, but it may be that other advertisers don't know about this. Leo says it may even be against Amazon's rules to use trigger words in flash briefings.

What do you think of the Amazon Fire TV Cube?

Episode 1500

GJ from Snohomish, WA
Amazon Fire TV Cube

Leo says the Echo powered Fire TV Cube is cool because all he'd have to do is tell it to watch the show he wants, and it turns on the TV, switches to the right input, and starts the show. Then when he leaves, he can just say "TV off" and everything will turn off, which is nice. GJ noticed it talks about an ARC port with HDMI. Leo says it would like to get CEC and the Audio Return Channel, but it's not required.

GJ also noticed that YouTube Red changed to YouTube Premium. Leo says it's still the same thing, where he would pay a fee for no ads and access to Google's music offering.

Why can't I play music with my Echo on my stereo?

Episode 1461

Mike from Bakersfield, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Mike is trying to connect his Echo to his Yamaha home stereo system, as well as his computer speakers. But when he starts playing it, it disconnects and plays on the Echo speaker. Leo says he'll have to set it up with the Echo app. The trick is to use the right command. He should be specific. For instance, he could tell it "Echo, play music in the living room."

CES 2018 Recap

Episode 1453

Leo did not go to CES this year, and he's glad he didn't because it's filling up with insignificant junky stuff that looks like people desperate to find something interesting. There was a Gameboy Nintendo remade by a Chinese company called "HyperKin." Samsung did not announce the Galaxy S9, but said it'll probably be announced in March. There were some leaks about the S9 that make it sound like it's mostly the same as the S8, but it'll have a new camera that will do dual apertures with a single lens. Samsung did announce a Bluetooth speaker that aims at your ears without headphones.

Which Amazon Echo should I buy?

Episode 1438

Joe from Williamsport, PA
Amazon Echo

Joe wants to know which Amazon Echo he should buy. Leo says that the Alexa Echo has its own speaker and costs $100. The more affordable Echo is under $50 and he would need to connect a speaker to it. Should he buy Google Home instead? Google does a lot of the same things, but it isn't as advanced and mature as the Echo in terms of skills. But the Google Home is smarter for answering questions. Leo says he prefers the Echo, so he should get that.