First Look: Amazon Fire TV Recast

In a slew of announcements it was easy to lose track of the Amazon Fire TV Recast – a new DVR device from Amazon that will record shows using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna and feed them to you via your Fire TV streaming player, Fire TV Edition flatscreen or Echo Show device.

In a slew of announcements it was easy to lose track of the Amazon Fire TV Recast – a new DVR device from Amazon that will record shows using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna and feed them to you via your Fire TV streaming player, Fire TV Edition flatscreen or Echo Show device.

One reason it was so easy to skip over was that Amazon announced both an Alexa-enabled microwave and a Wall Clock a short 10 minutes before the announcement of the Recast and another is that the Fire TV Recast is kind of complicated – it’s not really a proper Fire TV device in the way we’ve come to understand them.

That being said, once you wrap your head around what the Recast can do, it’s not an embellishment to say that the Amazon Fire TV Recast could reshape the media landscape, helping cord cutters and cord-nevers leave cable companies behind once and for all.

Amazon Fire TV Recast: What is it?

The Recast is an OTA DVR (over-the-air digital video recorder). You plug an HD antenna of your choosing into it, and then simply tell the Recast what you want it to record.

Inside, the base $230 version of the Recast has two tuners that allow it to record two shows simultaneously and a 500GB hard drive that will store those recordings. (There’s a four-tuner, 1TB version coming later this year for $280.)

To watch what you’ve recorded, you’ll need a Fire TV device (a streaming player, a TV or an Amazon Echo Show) or the unreleased Fire TV app that should arrive when the Recast does on November 14 in the US. (Amazon hasn’t announced UK/AU availability yet, but we’ll update this story when and if it does.)

Once the show has been recorded, the DVR can then stream to two devices simultaneously in HD – as long as you have the bandwidth to support it.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to record something if it’s on TV right now: The Fire TV app will allow for live playback over Wi-Fi or cellular network. That means if you’re away from your living room during the next episode of This Is Us, you can simply pull it up on your phone or tablet via the Fire TV app.

Speaking of the app, you’ll be able to use it to find the perfect location for your OTA antenna based on signal strength. Amazon didn’t demo that during our time at their office, but it’s a smart idea that we wish had been thought of before.

Where this gets slightly confusing is that, despite its Fire TV moniker, the Recast doesn’t have any content – or operating system – on the box itself. That means you won’t be able to use the Recast to stream shows from Amazon Prime Video or Netflix and it’s not meant to replace your existing Amazon Fire TV or Amazon Fire TV Cube.

But it has Fire TV integration

So, why is it called Amazon Fire TV? Amazon has chosen the moniker, it seems, because the Recast works at its fullest extent when paired with a Fire TV device.

When paired, the Recast will add a DVR section to the Amazon Fire TV home screen that will sit alongside the On Now row. It’s here you’ll be able to find and control your recordings either with the remote or via your voice with some help from Alexa.

If you’re a PlayStation Vue or Amazon Channels subscriber and use a Fire TV device, the aforementioned On Now row will include shows and movies from those services, and even goes as far as to include them in your channel lineup alongside the OTA content.

This integration of OTA content with your existing streaming service is the pièce de résistance of the device, and one that could help Amazon rival traditional cable packages.

What Amazon Fire TV Recast is not

As we’ve said, it’s not necessarily a Fire TV device – or at least not in the traditional sense. It won’t stream Netflix or Hulu and you won’t find games anywhere remotely close to the Recast. It’s purely an OTA DVR through and through.

The Recast is also not an Echo device. Shout at it all want, Alexa suddenly isn’t going to pop up and parse your command; you’re still going to need an Echo if you want Alexa compatibility or a Fire TV Cube if you’re looking for a combination of streaming and Alexa.

It’s also, importantly, not cable: Amazon isn’t charging a monthly fee for this service – just buy a device and you’re good for a lifetime of OTA DVR streaming.

That’s a massive departure from any device like it on the market (at least from mainstream manufacturers) and puts it closer in line to some PC-based devices like the HDHomeRun and services like PLEX.

That said, the Recast also doesn’t replace your TiVO, either. Because the Recast is OTA-only, you won’t find a slot for a cable card or any way to record cable TV. That could be a problem for people tied to the idea of watching specific shows at specific times – and may make replacing the cable box a bit more of a hassle than it’s worth for a certain audience.

Whether or not it turns out to be the cable replacement we think it has the potential to be, we’ll just have to wait until November to find out.

Small and cheap: Amazon Echo (3rd Generation) hands on review

Amazon’s $25 Smart Plug brings Alexa brains to dumb electrical appliances – CNET

If you want your dumb coffeepot to work in your smart home, Amazon has a way: The Wi-Fi connected Amazon Smart Plug.

The $25 app-controlled device plugs into any ordinary wall socket, and you then plug ordinary electrical appliances into it.

If you want your dumb coffeepot to work in your smart home, Amazon has a way: The Wi-Fi connected Amazon Smart Plug.

The $25 app-controlled device plugs into any ordinary wall socket, and you then plug ordinary electrical appliances into it. The plug, which will ship in October, was unveiled at an Amazon smart device event on Thursday. At the event, Amazon announced more than a dozen products designed to carry its voice-controlled technology into our kitchens, living rooms, porches and even cars.

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When you first fire up the smart plug, Alexa will ask you if you want to name it. You can then use your voice to say, for example, “call it the bedroom light.” That’s potentially convenient, but everybody in the house will have to remember what you’ve named everything.

Amazon’s new plug joins a crowded market. But Amazon has good reason to be hopeful of success given how widespread its Alexa technology is already. The company’s Echo smart speakers are particularly popular and designed to help control smart-home products.

Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said the plug is designed with simplicity in mimd.

“What we’re trying to do is make the installation of any smart device — whether we make it or somebody else makes it — as easy as plugging it in,” Limp said.

First published September 29, 10:35 a.m. PT.

Update, 4:52 p.m.: Adds more context.

Smart plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network to communicate. Typically, you’ll use an accompanying app to control them — they’re too small and cheap for touch screens — but Amazon’s Alexa technology offers the additional choice of a voice interface.

Amazon also unveiled new Echo speakers, part of the line that helped create the smart speaker market. The line has given Amazon a foothold in the “ecosystem” wars of interlinked products, software and services that Apple and Google previously dominated.

See alsoEverything Amazon announced at its Echo eventYell at Amazon’s Alexa microwave when you need to make popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The antenna DVR with Alexa starts at $230Amazon gives Echo Show sequel sleeker looks and better sound

Amazon Echo event live blog: Catch all the latest news, pictures and updates from CNET.

Amazon’s new device lineup: Here’s everything we expect to see unveiled today.

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Back up: How to prepare for your new iPhone – CNET

If you preordered an iPhone XS ($999 at Sprint) or XS Max ($1,100 at Sprint) — and you were quick about it — your new phone will arrive tomorrow.

If you preordered an iPhone XS ($999 at Sprint) or XS Max ($1,100 at Sprint) — and you were quick about it — your new phone will arrive tomorrow.

But before you unbox your new phone, you’ll have to spend a little more time with your current iPhone to back it up and prepare for the transfer of data. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of apps you don’t use anymore and clear out the storage. Here’s how.

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Get rid of unused apps

I think we can all relate to downloading an app or game just to check it out, and never opening it again. Before setting up your new phone, go through the apps on your device and remove any app you no longer use. Each app is only taking up storage space and cluttering up your home screens.

Back up your photo library

Photos and videos are some of the most precious things on your iPhone, so make sure those are backed up. The best way is to use a photo backup service like Apple’s iCloud Photo Library or Google Photos.

iCloud is easiest and is built into iOS, but depending on how big your library is, it can cost you money each month for storage. Google Photos is free, as long as you don’t mind that it doesn’t back up the full-resolution versions of your photos or videos.

Clean out your storage

Open the Settings app then select General > iPhone Storage (this option will reflect the type of device you are using). Let this setting’s page populate, and then try to clear up any excess storage being used by an app.

For example, if you convinced yourself you were finally going to start listening to Podcasts and downloaded a bunch of episodes, but eventually stopped listening — you might want to clear those out.

Back up your device

Finally, with storage cleared, apps deleted, and precious memories stored safely off of your device, it’s time to back up your iPhone.

The easiest way to do this is to go into Settings and select your name at the very top of the Settings app. Next, go to iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now. Make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network and it’s a good idea to have your device connected to a charger as well.

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to back up your iOS device with an encrypted backup. This process eliminates the need to enter account passwords if you have to restore or set up a new device down the road. Follow the instructions in this post.

With all of that done, you’re ready for your new phone. Once it’s set up, check out these 10 hidden features.

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ONEMedia -Led Dallas Single Frequency Network Will Be Launching Pad for ATSC 3.0 Home Gateway That Enables Seamless Consumption of OTA+OTT Content

SEOUL, South Korea and HUNT VALLEY, Md., Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — DigiCAP (KOSDAQ:197140), a premier provider of proven NextGen broadcast platforms, and ONEMedia have agreed to deploy a significant number of SmartXess home gateways for ONEMedia’s NextGen broadcast system in Dallas, Texas.

SEOUL, South Korea and HUNT VALLEY, Md., Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — DigiCAP (KOSDAQ:197140), a premier provider of proven NextGen broadcast platforms, and ONEMedia have agreed to deploy a significant number of SmartXess home gateways for ONEMedia’s NextGen broadcast system in Dallas, Texas. ONEMedia is the developmental subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq :SBGI ), focused on ATSC 3.0 development and deployment. The Dallas NextGen launch is a partnership of Sinclair, other broadcasters and leading infrastructure companies. While early in the roll out of NextGen broadcasting, the project’s goal is to build a fully functional NextGen system, including Single Frequency Network (SFN) booster transmitters and NextGen content and functionality.

DigiCAP’s SmartXess home gateway completes the NextGen ecosystem by providing the functionality necessary to receive multiple ATSC 3.0 over-the-air (OTA) transmission streams and simultaneously take in content and return information via the Internet allowing “hybrid” performance. With the SmartXess home gateway, content from ATSC 3.0 transmission and/or from the Internet, is processed and distributed to any connected device, wired or via WiFi, within the home, including TVs, tablets, computers, and portable/mobile devices.

The SmartXess home gateway also provides the storage and processing power needed to accomplish more advanced business models including Dynamic Ad Insertion, Digital Video Recorder modes, store-and-forward video, and rich media presentation for such things as distance learning and Advanced Emergency Alerting (AEA). DigiCAP’s content protection system is fully supported by the SmartXess home gateway.

Prototypes of the SmartXess home gateway will be shown in a private demo suite at IBC 2018. An end user SDK for developing branded applications is also provided by DigiCAP.

About DigiCAP – DigiCAP Co., Ltd. develops digital content protection and distribution systems for numerous broadcasters and telecommunication companies and governmental bodies. The company offers end-to-end solutions for ATSC 3.0, standards based, broadcast delivery platforms; including Signaling, Electronic Service Guide (ESG), Multiplexer, Broadcast Gateway (Scheduler), and IRDs. The company has commercially deployed complete systems in Korea. DigiCAP is focused on delivering technologies and specialized services for the diverse business models of customers and partners in digital terrestrial broadcast, satellite, IPTV, OTT, and telecommunication services. DigiCAP Co.,Ltd. was founded in 2000 and is based in Seoul, South Korea. More information about DigiCAP is at http://www.digicaps.com/?lang=en.

About ONEMedia – ONEMedia 3.0 was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. with a vision to build and deploy the “Next Generation Broadcast Platform,” enabling broadcasting to be competitive across all platforms in delivering enhanced video and data services.

SOURCE ONEMedia

AmazonBasics Microwave works with Alexa to take your voice commands – CNET

You expect to hear about new smart speakers, displays and software at an Amazonmedia event. But small kitchen appliances? Not so much. That’s why the $60 AmazonBasics Microwave that works with Alexa is one of the most interesting products the company announced Thursday.

You expect to hear about new smart speakers, displays and software at an Amazonmedia event. But small kitchen appliances? Not so much. That’s why the $60 AmazonBasics Microwave that works with Alexa is one of the most interesting products the company announced Thursday.

You can use voice commands to control the microwave when it’s connected to a smart speaker equipped with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant. The microwave also has quick-cook presets that cook specific dishes automatically. This means you can tell your smart speaker, “Alexa, microwave two potatoes,” and the microwave will begin to heat your dish. There’s also an “Ask Alexa” button on the touchscreen control panel of the microwave; you can press this button and bypass Alexa with commands like “Cook for four minutes.”

The AmazonBasics Microwave works with Alexa thanks to the Alexa Connect Kit the company included in the appliance. The toolkit lets developers turn analog appliances into Wi-Fi-connected smart home products that connect to Amazon-managed cloud services.

The idea of a microwave that uses Alexa seemed like a farce when rumors about it surfaced earlier this week. Why would you need a virtual assistant to run your microwave? And why would Amazon want to make one? According to David Limp, the senior vice president of Amazon Devices, the ubiquitous microwave was long overdue for an upgrade.

“The user interface is stuck in the late ’70s,” he said during Thursday’s media event at Amazon headquarters in Seattle.

In reference to the latter question, the microwave provides an opportunity for Amazon to try out a new developer’s toolkit and to do what the online retailer does best — sell you stuff. The microwave includes Amazon Dash Replenishment, a service that automatically orders products from Amazon when you run low. Upon release, the microwave will only be able to reorder popcorn, but it’s not far-fetched to predict that Amazon will expand this capability to more microwave-friendly, packaged foods.

See alsoEverything Amazon just announcedAmazon’s microwave has Alexa and automatically reorders popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The Amazon DVR is real, and starts at $230Amazon’s new Echo Show is $230 and isn’t as ugly as before

Amazon isn’t the first to turn to the microwave as a gateway to voice control in the kitchen. GE Appliances just released its Smart Countertop Microwave that also works with Alexa. Whirlpool’s Wi-Fi-enabled Smart Over-the-Range Microwave also works with Alexa along with Google Assistant, Google’s voice-activated assistant.

It’s still unclear whether or not we need a microwave that accepts voice commands to make our lives more convenient. I could see it addressing accessibility issues of folks who might have a hard time pressing buttons on a microwave. And saying what you want rather than pressing it into the microwave could be useful if your hands are occupied or dirty. But if you’re already at your microwave ready to cook a plate full of pizza rolls, how much harder is it to punch in a cook time?


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

Amazon Echo event live blog: Catch all the latest news, pictures and updates from CNET.

Amazon’s new device lineup: Here’s everything we expect to see unveiled today.

Amazon Smart Plug showcases simple setup – CNET

Amazon’s surprise devices event Thursday revealed a ton of new Alexa devices. In addition to microwaves, speakers and even a wall clock, Amazon’s David Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, announced the $25 Amazon Smart Plug.

Amazon’s surprise devices event Thursday revealed a ton of new Alexa devices. In addition to microwaves, speakers and even a wall clock, Amazon’s David Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, announced the $25 Amazon Smart Plug.

See alsoEverything Amazon just announcedAmazon’s microwave has Alexa and automatically reorders popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The Amazon DVR is real, and starts at $230Amazon’s new Echo Show is $230 and isn’t as ugly as before

The Amazon Smart Plug is the first of the company’s devices to ship with Wi-Fi Simple Setup, part of an initiative Amazon calls “frustration-free setup.”

Like the company’s frustration-free packaging, this streamlined process makes it possible to simply plug in devices and go rather than spend time setting up a device with a companion app.

The Amazon Smart Plug powers your regular devices like lights, coffee makers or fans and brings them into the smart home.

Plug it in, and it looks for the Wi-Fi Simple Setup Network, available if you have an Echo device connected to your home’s Wi-Fi.

Once it receives the encrypted credentials from the cloud, the plug securely connects to the network and your Alexa speaker will recognize it. Once the plug is found, Alexa announces the new connection and asks you if you would like to rename it to something like “living room lamp.”

Being able to rename your device by voice is a convenient feature, especially for smart plugs.

Unlike TVs or speakers, smart plugs nearly always need to take on the name of the device they are powering in order for voice commands to feel natural. Being able to do this without logging in and trudging through an app makes the process quicker and simpler.


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

Even with its new, simple setup features, Amazon’s Smart Plug isn’t the smartest out there. There’s no indication of power monitoring, and the plug likely won’t work with other voice assistants like Google Assistant or Siri. Still, the price is right and it’s an affordable way to smarten dumb devices, especially if you’re invested in an Alexa-centered smart home.

The Amazon Smart Plug is available for preorder starting today for $25 and begins shipping in October.

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Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR streams free over-the-air TV, starts at $230 – CNET

Amazon’s inexpensive Fire TV sticks and streamers are already favorites of cable TV cord-cutters, but the company’s latest Fire TV box demands a bit more of an investment, starting at $230.

Amazon’s inexpensive Fire TV sticks and streamers are already favorites of cable TV cord-cutters, but the company’s latest Fire TV box demands a bit more of an investment, starting at $230. What it delivers afterward, however, is totally free.

The Amazon Fire TV Recast is an antenna DVR, designed to hook up to an over-the-air TV antenna and pull in your local, free TV broadcasts. In most areas that includes live local news, sports like NFL football and network shows from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS, among others. (Note, CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

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Unlike a traditional DVR, like TiVo or the one you get from your cable or satellite company, however, it doesn’t output those TV broadcasts and recordings directly to a single TV.

Instead, it streams them to other devices, including:

Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon Fire TV (4K, pendant)
Older Fire TV devicesFire TV Edition TVs from Element, Toshiba and InsigniaAmazon Echo Show
Amazon Fire tablets
Apple iPhones and iPads
Android phones and tablets

That means you can watch those antenna shows, live or recorded, pretty much anywhere — on a TV connected to a Fire TV device or on a phone or tablet running the free Fire TV app.

The Recast doesn’t look like much, but that’s fine because you can stash it just about anywhere — it doesn’t need to be seen or accessed to work. That’s another advantage over a traditional antenna connection: you’re not bound to the TV, so you can set it up in an attic or elsewhere that the reception is better without having to run long antenna wires or otherwise mess with setup. It connects to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

You can use it to stream live or record shows and play them back whenever you want. You can stream to up to two different devices simultaneously. Control happens via the app, either on Fire TV or on your phone or tablet, and there’s a channel guide included.

This being a Fire TV device, control can also happen with Alexa. Link it with a Dot or other Echo device and you can say stuff like Alexa, open Channel Guide” or “Alexa, record The Good Place” into thin air. You can also issue voice commands using a Fire TV remote or Echo Show.

The fact that antenna broadcasts are free and generally high-quality makes them popular among cord-cutters. Of course, live TV services like DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV offer local channels via streaming too, but they’re definitely not free, and don’t offer local channels everywhere (and none of them have PBS).

The Recast isn’t the first networked antenna DVR either. The AirTV is a $120 version made by a subsidiary of satellite broadcaster Dish Network, which also owns the Sling TV ($239 at Amazon Marketplace) service. It’s cheaper but doesn’t include a hard drive. Other competitors with network capabilities include Plex’s DVR (in combination with an antenna tuner), Tablo (which requires a monthly fee for many features, including out-of-home streaming) and HDHomeRun. Meanwhile TiVo and the Channel Master DVR+ and Stream+ are OTA DVRs for single TVs.

The Amazon Fire TV Recast comes in two sizes. The base version has two tuners so it can record two different channels at once, while the larger version has four tuners for up to four simultaneous recordings.

It ships Nov. 14, with preorders starting now. Look for a CNET review soon.


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

See alsoEverything Amazon just announcedAmazon’s microwave has Alexa and automatically reorders popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The Amazon DVR is real, and starts at $230Amazon’s new Echo Show is $230 and isn’t as ugly as before

Forget Amazon’s new Smart Plug, these do the same thing for less – CNET

It seems like a logical addition to the Amazon Echo ecosystem: a smart plug that allows “dumb” appliances to work via Alexa voice commands.

It seems like a logical addition to the Amazon Echo ecosystem: a smart plug that allows “dumb” appliances to work via Alexa voice commands. “Alexa, start the coffeemaker!” “Alexa, turn off the living-room lamp!” And so on.

And, lo, the Amazon Smart Plug was born. Priced at $25, it’s one of the many devices introduced at Amazon’s hardware event on Thursday. Just plug it into any electrical outlet, plug your lamp or appliance into the new outlet, then pair the Smart Plug to your Echo smart speaker. Great, right?

See alsoEverything Amazon just announcedAmazon’s microwave has Alexa and automatically reorders popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The Amazon DVR is real, and starts at $230Amazon’s new Echo Show is $230 and isn’t as ugly as before

Right. Except that similar smart plugs have been around for quite some time, and most of the latest models are both Alexa-compatible and less expensive.

For example, the Etekcity WiFi Smart Plug works with Alexa and Google Home, and it currently sells for $20 — for a two-pack.

See it at Amazon

Similarly, the Oukitel WiFi Smart Plug is a double-wide, turning one dumb outlet into two smart ones. It also comes in a two-pack, meaning you get a total of four smart outlets, and currently sells for $33. For a limited time, however, and while supplies last, promo code 4SFJBSPZ gets you out the door for just over $23.

See it at Amazon

So, yeah, for less than the price of a single Amazon Smart Plug, you can get as many as four — and use them with any Google Home devices you might have now or add later. And those are just two examples; hit up Amazon (ironically) and you’ll find countless others, many (if not most) priced below $25.

If there’s an advantage to choosing the Smart Plug over another smart plug, I’m not seeing it.


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

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How to preorder all of the new Amazon Echo devices and more – CNET

Amazon has been quickly growing its Alexa-powered offerings since 2014. It ramped things up last year by announcing six new devices in one fell swoop.

But if that wasn’t enough to convince you that Amazon is all-in on Alexa, it just announced 12 new Alexa-powered devices.

Amazon has been quickly growing its Alexa-powered offerings since 2014. It ramped things up last year by announcing six new devices in one fell swoop.

But if that wasn’t enough to convince you that Amazon is all-in on Alexa, it just announced 12 new Alexa-powered devices. Yes, 12.

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Amazon just announced everything from a new Echo Dot ($50 at Amazon.com), Plus and Show to a subwoofer, microwave and a wall clock. Here’s how to preorder everything and be among the first to get your hands on Amazon’s new goodies.

Echo Dot

First up at today’s event was a brand-new Echo Dot. It features a new fabric design (not unlike the Google Home Mini ($49 at Google Store)) that will come in different color options. Compared to the existing Dot, it’s slightly smaller, features a brand-new mic array and is said to be up to 70 percent louder.

Like the models before it, the new Echo Dot will sell for $50. Preorders begin today and it will begin to ship on Oct. 11.

Echo Input

The Echo Input is, effectively, an Echo Dot without a speaker. It’s intended to be used with an existing speaker, like many people already do with their Echo Dots. Connect the Input to your sound system via Bluetooth or 3.5mm jack and stream music, audiobooks or podcasts through your sound system.

With no speaker inside, it’s both smaller and cheaper than the Echo Dot. It’s just 0.49 inch (12.5 millimeters) tall and priced at just $35. The Echo Input will be available for purchase later this year, though you can sign up to be notified when it becomes available on its store page.

Echo Sub

The Echo Sub adds that much-needed bass to your existing Alexa speaker setup. You can connect the subwoofer with another Echo or Echo Plus ($100 at Adorama) in single or stereo pairing.

The Echo Plus will set you back $130, and preorders begin today. You can also bundle the Sub with two second-generation Echo Plus speakers for $330 or two second-generation Echo speakers for $250. The Echo Sub is set to ship Oct. 11.

Echo Link and Echo Link Amp

Unlike the Echo Input, the Echo Link and Echo Link Amp both lack a microphone input. The Link is designed to connect to a receiver or amplifier so you can control your existing entertainment center speakers using Alexa. The Link Amp is a slightly larger box with a 60-watt two-channel amplifier.

Once connected, you will be able to control your existing speakers via the Alexa app or other Alexa devices around your house.

The Echo Link will set you back $200, while the Echo Link Amp will cost $300. Both are set to ship later this year.

Echo Plus

Amazon also announced a redesign of the Echo Plus. This time around, it’s getting clearer sound and better bass. It will also double as a smart home hub that can still control your local smart home devices, without an internet connection.

The Echo Plus also comes with a built-in temperature sensor that you can use to build routines based on the temperature of the room the speaker is in.

The newer Echo Plus is still $150. Preorders begin today and orders will begin shipping on Oct. 11.

Echo Show

The Amazon Echo Show is also getting a redesign with a larger, 10-inch (25-centimeter) screen and better audio. For audio, there are now two side-firing 2-inch drivers, a passive bass radiator and Dolby processing. It also has an eight-mic array.

The Echo Show will remain the same $230 and preorders begin today. Orders will begin shipping on Oct. 11.

Echo Auto

Adding Alexa to your car isn’t a totally new concept, but Amazon has never officially offered a way to do it until now. The Echo Auto has an eight-microphone array that, according to Amazon, is “designed specifically to handle noise in the car.”

It connects to your phone using Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE (so no need for a hotspot) and allows you to have all your favorite hands-free controls behind the wheel.

For now, you must request an invitation to purchase the Echo Auto for a reduced price of $25. However, when it’s publicly available it will cost $50.

Echo Wall Clock

The Echo Wall Clock is a companion device to your existing Alexa speakers. In short, it acts as a visual display for all your timers and reminders. Say, “Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes.” The Echo Wall Clock will display the time remaining on the timer. It connects to your other Echo devices using Bluetooth.

The Echo Wall Clock is set to release later this year for $20. You can sign up to be notified on the landing page.

Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon is also making its very own Smart Plug. It will be the first device to ship with Amazon’s new Wi-Fi Simple Setup. When you plug it into an outlet for the first time, Alexa will ask how you want to name it. Then you can simply speak the name, rather than fiddling with an app and manually typing it in.

The Amazon Smart Plug will set you back $25 and is available for preorder today. It will begin to ship on Oct. 11.

AmazonBasics Microwave

One of the more unusual and unexpected device announcements at Amazon’s surprise event was a microwave. Yep, a microwave.

The AmazonBasics Microwave comes with a built-in Alexa button. Press it and tell it what you’re cooking and it can use one of its dozens of voice presets for cook times and intensity. Or you can simply say, “Five minutes on high.”

And with the magic of Amazon Dash, this connected microwave can automatically reorder popcorn when you’re running low, too.

The AmazonBasics Microwave is available for preorder today for $60 and will ship on Nov. 14.

Amazon Fire TV Recast

Finally, Amazon Fire TV Recast is a DVR for free over-the-air programming. You can record your favorite live TV shows and then stream them to any Fire TV, Echo Show or compatible Fire tablet you own.

During setup, the device will help you choose the location in your home with the best antenna reception. It can record two to four shows at once and stream to multiple devices simultaneously. And, of course, it can be controlled using your voice with Alexa. You can search for shows, control playback, schedule recordings and more with your voice.

The Fire TV Recast comes with 500GB of built-in storage and will sell for $230. You can preorder starting today and it will begin shipping Nov. 14.

Amazon announced plenty of new software, too. Here’s everything Amazon announced in Seattle.

If you want to see how things unfolded, read through our live blog of the event.


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

See alsoEverything Amazon announced at its Echo eventYell at Amazon’s Alexa microwave when you need to make popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The antenna DVR with Alexa starts at $230Amazon gives Echo Show sequel sleeker looks and better sound

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Amazon Echo Dot, Basics Microwave, Echo Sub: Everything Amazon just announced – CNET

At Amazon’s Thursday event in Seattle, we saw a new Echo Dot, an input device to turn your dumb speakers smart and an Alexa-enabled microwave for just $60. But that’s just the beginning — scroll down for a running list of everything Amazon announced.

At Amazon’s Thursday event in Seattle, we saw a new Echo Dot, an input device to turn your dumb speakers smart and an Alexa-enabled microwave for just $60. But that’s just the beginning — scroll down for a running list of everything Amazon announced.

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See alsoEverything Amazon just announcedAmazon’s microwave has Alexa and automatically reorders popcornAmazon Fire TV Recast: The Amazon DVR is real, and starts at $230Amazon’s new Echo Show is $230 and isn’t as ugly as before

Hardware Amazon Echo Dot (redesigned): It’s still $50, but it has a refreshed mesh design. Preorders begin today.
Amazon Echo Input: Connect the new Echo Input to a dumb speaker to make it smart. The Input costs $35.
Amazon Echo Sub: Amazon unveils a $130 subwoofer to improve audio, including capabilities for stereo pairing.
Echo Link Amp and Echo Link: The $300 Amp gives you a built-in amplifier, and the $200 Link gives you control over your current AV receiver.Amazon Echo Plus (redesigned): The new $150 Echo Plus adds a temperature sensor and a new fabric design, similar to the new Echo Dot.
Amazon Smart Plug: Amazon introduced its first smart plug for $25. It’s available for preorder today, and starts shipping in October.
AmazonBasics Microwave: The $60 Basics Microwave is Alexa-enabled (but doesn’t have a built-in Alexa speaker) with integrated Dash replenishment.
Amazon Echo Wall Clock: A $30 wall clock is coming soon too, and it works with Alexa speakers.
Ring Stick Up Cam: Ring’s all-new Stick Up Cam costs $180 and will be available later in 2018.
Amazon Echo Show (redesigned): There’s a new Echo Show too. You can preorder it today and it ships in October. The price stays put at $230, but it has an improved design. Amazon Fire TV Recast: The Fire TV Recast separates recording and viewing so you can choose where you put your antenna. It starts at $230.Amazon Echo Auto: This device puts a small Alexa device in your car. It costs $50, but the early invite price is just $25. See it all at Amazon


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Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle

Software Whisper mode: Alexa will talk quietly, for example if your child is asleep.
Routines: Routines come to the Echo Dot Kids Edition.
API SDK: Brings multiroom audio to third-party speakers. Amazon’s own speakers already offer this feature.Alexa Hunches: Amazon’s new machine learning software is supposed to make suggestions about your smart home. Are you going to sleep? Hunches might ask if you want to lock your front door.
Stereo pairing: Connect two Alexa smart speakers to create a stereo pair. Alexa Connect Kit: This developer toolkit is designed to integrate into large appliances and other smart devices to sync with Amazon’s cloud service.
Amazon Wi-Fi Simple Setup: Let Alexa share your Wi-Fi details with smart home devices. Alexa Guard: With Alexa Guard, you should be able to use your existing Amazon smart speakers to “arm” your home’s security. At launch, Amazon is partnering with ADT and Ring, which Amazon purchased earlier in 2018.
Alexa doorbell API: If someone rings your Ring smart doorbell, it should show up on your Echo Show.
Smart Screen SDK: Give “anything with a display” Echo Show capabilities with the software developer kit.
Location-based routines: Turn on your lights when you’re close to home.

Now playing:Watch this: Amazon unveils a slew of Alexa gadgets for the smart…
3:51

Amazon Echo event live blog: All the news, pictures and updates as they were announced.

This morning’s preview post follows below.

It’s 6 a.m. here in Seattle, and we’re a couple of hours away from a previously unannounced event at Amazon HQ. The agenda for the day?

“We will debut some new features and products related to the Amazon devices business,” reads the invitation in my inbox. I’ll be liveblogging the event with my CNET News colleague Ben Fox Rubin and trusty photo/video ninja Tyler Lizenby. Surprise!

Follow Amazon’s event live as it happens with the CNET Live Blog

Well, the predictable kind of surprise, at least. Last September, Amazon unveiled its second-gen Echo smart speaker along with a gaggle of other new Alexa gadgets, including the Echo Spot touchscreen alarm clock and the Echo Plus smart-home hub, as well as the Alexa-equipped Fire TV Cube. The September before that saw the arrival of the second-gen Echo Dot.

Now playing:Watch this: Amazon may bring Alexa to high-end audio
2:01

Less predictable is what, exactly, we should expect to see today, because it sounds like we might see a lot. CNBC already reports that Amazon has as many as eight new Alexa gadgets planned for release this year — everything from an Echo subwoofer to an Alexa microwave (that “Echo Sub” briefly popped up on the Amazon UK website, as well, along with an Alexa smart plug for good measure). On top of that, we’ve seen leaked images of a third-gen, fabric-bodied Echo Dot that Amazon is reportedly cooking up, too.


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Will all of these rumored devices make their debut? I’m guessing that at least a couple aren’t past the prototype stage yet, but then again, Amazon has made a recent habit of throwing multiple ideas at the wall at once to see what sticks. Anything is possible when you’re a trillion-dollar company, I suppose.

One prediction: Today’s event will try to shore up some of Alexa’s potential vulnerabilities in what has quickly become one of tech’s hottest categories. Amazon has to be at least slightly concerned with Google’s growing presence in the rear-view mirror after the search giant overtook Amazon in smart speaker sales during the first quarter of the year.

The momentum hasn’t slowed since, with new Google Assistant-powered touchscreen devices such as the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View proving more compelling than Alexa’s touchscreen-equipped Echo Show ever has. More of those are on the way, including the LG Smart Display and perhaps even a first-party Google smart display, each of which could challenge the Echo lineup on the sound quality front, just as the king-sized Google Home Max and sweet-spot-hitting Sonos One already have.

Meanwhile, Apple has skin in the smart speaker game thanks to the HomePod, and Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby wants to muscle its way into the market, too.

With so much new competition coming for Alexa’s crown, it certainly wouldn’t be the worst time for Amazon to play some defense with a shiny new crop of Echo devices just in time for the holidays. Whatever Amazon has planned, we’ll be there in the room to share it with you in just a few hours. For now, here’s a quick rundown of what we might see outside of those other rumors.

Echo Dot 3.0?

At $50, the second-gen Echo Dot is Amazon’s bestselling Alexa gadget, and that makes it the most important piece of the Alexa lineup. But last year, the full-size, second-gen Echo ditched the black and white plastic in favor of a fabric-bodied build that’s more in line with the Google Home and Home Mini smart speakers — that left the Echo Dot feeling a bit dated by comparison.

That’s one reason why I think the recent leak suggesting that Amazon is working on a third-gen, fabric-bodied Dot is probably legit. Those leaks also suggest that the new Dot would offer improved sound quality, which would help it better compete with the likable Home Mini. My question: If a new Echo Dot really is coming soon, can Amazon get the cost down any lower than $50?

Chance we see it today: 85 percent

A new-and-improved Echo Show?

Let’s face facts: The touchscreen-equipped Echo Show wasn’t the home run Amazon probably hoped it would be. The most expensive Alexa gadget Amazon’s ever released, the Show was positioned as the Alexa lineup’s showstopper, and interest in the device seemed high as preorders came piling in. But the visual interface felt underwhelming (and still does), and squabbles with Google over YouTube support limited a lot of its initial appeal, too. A little over a year later, you’ll regularly find the Echo Show marked down by 50 percent or more, something we haven’t seen with any of Amazon’s other Alexa gadgets.

Is Amazon cleaning house ahead of an update? I’d give it slightly better than average odds, especially given what we’ve seen from compelling new Google Assistant-powered competitors such as the Lenovo Smart Display. If those prove popular and the smart display category takes off, then Amazon will want something compelling of its own capable of coming along for the ride. The first-gen Echo Show just doesn’t feel like that device anymore, and there aren’t any third-party Alexa touchscreens that fit the bill, either. That means that the timing is right for Show 2.0 — or at the very least, some significant updates to the existing model’s user interface.

It wouldn’t be the first time Amazon revamped an Alexa gadget in short order. The original Echo Dot debuted in March of 2016 — the second-gen model arrived at half the cost just six months later and helped Amazon blunt the debut of the Google Home. Time will tell if Amazon has something similar in mind for the Echo Show today, but with Alexa’s touchscreen a step or two behind the curve at this point, I’d say the odds are decent.

Chance we see it today: 60 percent

A new Echo, too?

The second-gen Amazon Echo made its debut last September — roughly three years after the introduction of the first Echo. If you think that makes for slim odds of seeing a third-gen Echo this morning, I’d say you’re probably right. With the interchangeable fabric shells and all of Alexa’s features on board, the Echo still feels current to what smart speaker shoppers are looking for — and at $100, the price still feels more or less right, too.

That said, I wouldn’t rule it out altogether. If the third-gen Echo Dot leak mentioned earlier is accurate, then it looks like Amazon’s made some tweaks to the overall Echo aesthetic. Releasing a new Echo with similar design tweaks could help keep things consistent (and keep the current Echo from feeling stale by comparison).

I could also envision Amazon releasing an updated Echo with a new hardware trick or two to help stymie Google’s momentum. The Echo Plus felt overpriced to me at $150, but its addition of a Zigbee radio for connecting with smart lights and smart locks without an extra hub is a nice feature. It would make plenty of sense in a third-gen Echo at that $100 price, particularly as Amazon shifts more of its focus to in-home delivery and smart home security. Other unique additions like a built-in motion sensor capable of turning the room’s lights on automatically when you walk in could help keep the Echo ahead, too.

Chance we see it today: 40 percent

The Tap strikes back?

Announced along with the Echo Dot back in 2016, Amazon’s portable, battery-powered Tap smart speaker never quite felt like a full-blooded member of Alexa’s family of devices. (The fact that it’s called the “Tap” and not “Echo Tap” certainly didn’t help matters.) But even as something of an Alexa offshoot, it still held a fair deal of appeal for folks looking for flexibility from their smart speaker, and the ability to take it with them around the house, or outside even.

The appeal of portability aside, Amazon is no longer making the Tap — instead, it’s selling off existing, refurbished stock. With lots of battery-powered competition from third-party Alexa gadgets not made by Amazon, as well as popular portability docks for the Echo Dot, Amazon might simply be sunsetting the speaker, but I also think there’s a chance that a new version is on the way. Better battery life and sound quality, or even a waterproof design that can stand up to the weather or to your pool would be nice upgrades. And finally calling it the Echo Tap would give it the pedigree it deserves as one of Amazon’s oldest Alexa gadgets.

Chance we see it today: 10 percent

Other potential surprises

All projections aside, the odds are good that Amazon’s event this morning will include at least a surprise or two (microwaves or otherwise). After all, remember Echo Buttons and the phone-replacing Echo Connect? Both debuted last September, and no one saw either one coming.

I’m also curious to see whether Amazon has any new plans for the Ring Video Doorbell or the new Ring Alarm Security Kit, which still don’t work with Alexa in spite of the fact that Amazon bought Ring this past February. I’ve also long wondered whether or not Amazon will ever release its own Amazon Basics-type line of low-cost smart bulbs and other smart-home gadgets designed specifically for Alexa, though such a move would certainly frustrate the third-party retailers Amazon’s put so much effort into courting. With high-end, high-fidelity competition from the Apple HomePod and the Google Home Max challenging Alexa on the sound-quality front, could a better-sounding “Echo Max” be in the mix, too? Seems likely that that’s precisely what the rumored Alexa subwoofer is all about.

Beyond Alexa, there’s also room for Amazon to introduce a new Fire TV streaming device, or perhaps an update to the Kindle or Fire tablet lineups. After all, Amazon’s invitation to the event only promises “new features and products related to the Amazon devices business.” Note that you don’t see the words “Echo” or “Alexa” anywhere in there.

Heck, we’ve even heard whispers that Amazon is interested in taking a second shot at the Fire phone — though I’d peg the odds of seeing anything on that front today at less than 1 percent.

Amazon doesn’t comment on speculation about new products, but we won’t have to wait much longer until they show us the goods. Stick with CNET for up-to-the-minute updates live from Amazon HQ, with our liveblog coverage beginning at 10:00 a.m. PT.

Originally published Sept. 8.
Update, Sept. 20: September event confirmed.


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