Amazon plans to use their Echo neighborhood network to making finding geotags accurately. The idea is to compete with Apple AirTags.
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.
Steve wants to turn off in his Amazon Alexa. He can't stop his 4-year-olds from making calls. Leo says that he may have to call Amazon Support at 1 (888) 280-4331 and ask them to disable it. Presumably, it's a safety feature in case of emergencies. He could turn off the option in the Amazon app, turning it off device by device. Go to preferences - then communications. There's a disable option by device. Steve said that he looked and the option isn't on in the app. But it still works. So only a call to Amazon will prevent that from happening.
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.
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.
Michael wants to know if he needs the Echo app to use his Alexa. Leo says yes, he does, but he could also just use a computer. He'll just need the Alexa app to set up the Echo. So if he has a computer, that will work. A smartphone is easier, however. He can also set it up with the Amazon Alexa website. Once it's all setup, he won't need it.
Mike is interested in the Anker Roav Viva. Leo says it's a great option for putting Amazon Echo into the car. Does it connect to his phone? Leo says yes. It will pair to Mike's phone through the Roav software and then play the music through his car stereo. It's quite clever. He'll want to check to see if it supports his car. Another option is called the Muse Auto.
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."
Chuck got an Amazon Echo for Christmas and he's learned that he can control his stereo with it. Leo says that for $99, the Logitech Harmony Hub will not only control his stereo, but also his TV, cable box, and AV receiver, everything. It's designed to work with your smartphone, but it also works with the Echo too.
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.