Tim would like to set up his mother's TV to be able to change channels by voice activation. Leo says that the Amazon Fire with an IR blaster would be a great option. She could just talk into the remote. Can he create a remote access for the FireTV as he can with Amazon through the Echo? Leo says that there is a smartphone app that can work as a Fire TV remote, and you can perhaps use that on Tim's phone to make any changes. But you have to be on the same WiFi network for it to work.
Amazon Fire TV
Ron can't watch Peacock on any device that he has, but he's heard he can "sideload" it onto his Amazon Firestick. Is that legal and safe? Leo says yes. It's perfectly fine, but there can be risky security-wise. Android, which Amazon's FireTV is based on, has a setting that he has to enable to allow downloads from something other than the Amazon app store or Google Play. Once he has enabled that, he can install it no problem. Just keep it up to date and don't get it from anyone other than the original developer. APK Mirror is the exception. It's generally safe to download from there.
Richard wants to know if he refuses to agree to terms of service or permissions on his Amazon Fire Tablet, will he be able to use it still? Leo says you can. They ask for it because they know people don't read it, and they want to scan your data to show you targeted ads. You may lose a few features, but odds are, they aren't worth having if you say no.
Check out TOSDR to understand what your terms of service and permissions really mean.
Darryl has upgraded his home theater and wants to know what 4K streaming device to get: FireStick, Roku, or even AppleTV? Leo says you want to be sure that your streaming device is HDR compatible, that's more important than 4K. The advantage to going with the AppleTV is that Apple will upgrade all your purchased content to 4K for free. That's a huge benefit. What Leo doesn't like about the FireTV is that Amazon relentlessly advertises to buy stuff. The other option is ROKU. Leo's favorite streaming device is ROKU. It supports 4K HDR with Dolby Vision.
Howard's wife has severe neuropathy and needs a way to use her iPhone without touching the screen. Leo says that the iPhone has some of the best Accessibility features, so using SIRI and voice activation could be the best bet. But Bixby in the latest Android phones is better at voice control. Go into the iPhone's settings under Accessibility and see what's available. She can call Apple and see what they can do because they have great Accessibility support. In iOS12, there are also SIRI Shortcuts, which enables users to use verbal cues to run shortcuts.
Brian wants to know about the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Leo says he recently ordered one and it looks great. Plus, it's very affordable. It'll also have Alexa built-in with no remote control. It's completely voice operated. But it can also control other devices via infrared. It's a very interesting concept. Stay tuned, Leo will be reviewing it.
Anthony wants to know what the advantage is of getting an Apple TV if all the modern TVs are so-called "smart" TVs? Rich says that apps are always better, and updated more on a dedicated device like the Apple TV. Smart TVs, on the other hand, rarely get updated, if ever. TV makers are in the TV business, not the app development business. So Apple TV has that advantage.
Dem has cable and he's been having a lot of digital artifacting and distortion. Could that be due to living too close to a cell tower? Leo says maybe, but then again, it could just be a software issue. He should try rebooting his box, check his connections, all of the things he can do himself. If he's still having that issue, then he can look to his cable company.
Marty bought an Amazon Fire TV and he wants to use a Bluetooth keyboard remote with it. It comes with a dongle that he needs to plug into the FireTV. Leo says that the Fire TV has bluetooth, so he may not need the dongle for it to work. He can just put both the keyboard and the Fire TV into pairing mode and they should pair. He'll know he's in pairing mode when the light goes from solid to blinking on each. One it pairs, it'll go solid again.
Jacob has heard of a Red Rhino streaming box for $400. Is it legit? Leo says that price is crazy. It's based on Android TV and it could be that expensive because it has access to pirated TV stations, which is illegal. Specs are not impressive either. They're overcharging for what he'd get, and it even uses CODI, a free media center player based on XBox Media Center. But make no mistake, it steals movies and TV shows and there's a good chance it'll be rendered useless when Hollywood shuts them down.