Doctor Mom calls in to talk about new features with Amazon Alexa/Echo. You can now not only link your Echo to your cellphone to make calls, but you can also make Skype calls. And while they have Bluetooth built in, you can't add a headset. It's all speakerphone. Apple is going to be showing up on Amazon for the holidays, which Doctor Mom says will kill the HomePod. A great, but overpriced speaker system.
Charlie would like to pair his old Smart TV with the Amazon Alexa. How can he do that? Leo says the the Amazon Fire TV Cube may be a good option, it works with an IR blaster. But it won't turn the TV on, since the IR blaster loses connection. Leo recommends the Logitech Harmony Hub. It'll connect to his Echo, and then will work in between the Echo and his TV.
Olga wants to know if the Amazon Echo Look is a good option for the blind. Leo says that while the Echo is great for the blind in general, the Look model has a camera that is really only good for taking pictures of an outfit to make a fashion choice. Then it uses the pictures to compare wardrobe choices from the last week and to recommend outfits. Leo found it to be a bit silly, and it might not be her taste.
GJ wants to know how to record over the air signals. Rich says that Amazon now has the Fire TV Recast, which records over the air programs, and he can set it with the Amazon Echo. Then he can stream them to all of his devices via WiFi. But he would need an antenna.
Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.
Josh would like to educate himself on consumer electronics and technology. Leo says that tablets and mobile have really moved into the game, even in the corporate arena, where Bring Your Own Devices is a thing now. Voice technologies like the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant are really hitting the mainstream, and with that, so is home automation. Drones are also big. And looking over the horizon, AI is going to be big.
Brian is blind and wants to know what he can do to access the TV easier. Leo says that the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a good option, but the Echo can sometimes misunderstand. It's a good idea to keep it away from TV speakers. He can connect it to his home theater and control everything with his voice. That's a great feature.
Lillian says that you can use your old Fire tablet as an Echo Show now thanks to a new Pogo dock by Amazon. Leo says it sounds like just a charging dock and with an software update, it would turn it into an Echo Show. But the dock doesn't have any speakers, and the screen isn't all that great. So it's an interesting device if you have a surplus Fire tablet lying around, and for $35 it's not too bad.
Gary's mom has dementia and his brother is blind. Their cable company has gone all digital and now they have to make the transition and need voice command to change the TV channels. Leo says that the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a great solution, because it has Amazon Echo built it. It can control some cable boxes, and most TVs. It costs $119. It will also work with Google Home Assistant.
Brian wants to know if the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a good buy. He's looking for voice control. Leo says it works about as good as the Echo, so it has any shortcomings that the Echo does. But for controlling a home theater system, it works quite well.