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.
Amazon Fire TV
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.
This week, Leo talks with Scott about streaming set top boxes. Scott Wilkinson says that while HBO Go is on most boxes, until the beginning of the year you have to have an HBO cable subscription to use it. But next year, you'll be able to subscribe to the streaming service by itself. Scott says it's a very complicated process right now because all of the devices making deals with content providers and ISPs. So it's all very fragmented. So the best you can do is decide what services you want, and then go for that.
Joe got an Amazon Fire TV, but when he plugs it into his Denon AV receiver it doesn't work. Leo says he likes the Denon AV receiver and can't imagine why it wouldn't work. Everything in the chain is "HDCP" complaint for copy protection. So it should work just fine.
Leo thinks it may be a bad port or bad cable. Make sure the settings from the Fire TV and the TV itself are matched. If one is 1080i and the other is 1080p, then the handshake could fail. Turn everything off and unplug it. Then plug each thing in one at a time, ending with the TV.