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Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Amazon Echo Expands Voice Control to Spotify and Pandora

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 17:23

While our home has hosted a pair of Amazon Echo connected-speakers-with-benefits for several weeks, I’ve yet to write much. As my thoughts continue to coalesce, Amazon just hit me with news of an update. Joining the existing I Heart Radio and Amazon Prime voice-controlled apps are Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. However, whereas I Heart Radio and and Prime […]

The post Amazon Echo Expands Voice Control to Spotify and Pandora appeared first on Zatz Not Funny!.

Philips Hue Likes 3rd Party ZigBee Bulbs (and Disco)

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 07:11

A few months back, I got into the home automation game thanks to encouragement from Dave and Adam. I’ve expertimented with a few different platforms thus far, and particularly like Philips Hue alongside Staples Connect.They work well together. We have a few colorful Hue lights and a Hue Lux in play and my kids especially love […]

The post Philips Hue Likes 3rd Party ZigBee Bulbs (and Disco) appeared first on Zatz Not Funny!.

<p>Some people, for example, believe

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 11:27

Some people, for example, believe probably incorrectly that we are on a path to interplanetary teleportation. Should we include the estimated bandwidth for that as well? -FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly

The post appeared first on Zatz Not Funny!.

First Take: Sling TV Doesn’t Feel Like TV

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 06:41
Many, many other writers have reviewed Sling TV (the new online video service from Dish that was announced at CES), so I won’t belabor the points they’ve already covered. There are licensing issues. Not all features are available on every channel. It’d be nice to have more on-demand television content instead of mainly VOD movies. But, on […]

Sonos App To Gain Massive Usability Improvements

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:22
Within the last few days, a new APK for the Sonos Android app popped up online. And, throwing caution to the wind, I went ahead and installed the 5.3 beta. While I’m not privvy to the release notes, and therefore not neccessarilly aware of all changes, it’s seems likely that massive usability enhancements headline this release. Upon opening the […]

Vudu Comes Full Circle, Launches Streaming Stick

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 11:40
What a long strange trip it’s been. Vudu initially launched in 2006 as a $400 dedicated movie streaming box. The requisite price cuts and pivots followed, including serving up apps like Flickr and then feeding smart televisions, before Walmart swooped in. Since then, the video service has focused on its own mobile and set-top video streaming app […]

Wife Acceptance Factor: Choosing Kevo over August

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 11:45
  Back in July, we reviewed the Kevo smart lock ($220) in light of the newer features that had just been released (scheduling, guest keys, performance improvements). Later in 2014, August, another Bluetooth based lock ($250), started to ship both pre-orders and to retail stores. Being the curiously obsessed gadget guy that I am, I had to at […]

Want to be one of the first to get TiVo

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 17:54
Want to be one of the first to get TiVo OnePass on your box? The priority list is now open! — TiVo Margret Schmidt (@tivodesign) January 19, 2015

Smart TVs, Dumber By The Moment

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 14:01
Like many of you, I’ve questioned the value of a “smart” TV. On one hand, quick access to online apps like Netflix courtesy “Input 1″ ~with no additional equipment~ is quite appealing. However, despite advances in performance and functionality, we’re not going to replace our televisions at the same rate we might be compelled to […]

TiVo’s 4K Plans Slowly Come Into Focus

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 17:09
At one point, it seemed a Series 6 TiVo might be off the table. Yet, given my perception of minimal MSO interest in their network DVR and often anemic specs from hardware set-top partners, TiVo regrouped to begin developing a 4k reference design … that was initially unveiled (behind closed doors) back in September at IBC. Indeed, TiVo’s go-to chip supplier Broadcom announced that they’d selected the […]

Staples Connect Works With Nest

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 16:42
Last year at CES, Zonoff’s demo suite was full of the Staples Connect hardware they power along with a variety of familiar brands like Lutron and Jawbone. This year, several other friends joined the party including the Google Nest smart thermostat and a souped-up, Sonos-fighting Bose sound system. The desire for Nest integration is obvious, although this is the first we’ve […]

Two Weeks With Roku TV

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 07:13
I wasn’t the only member of the Zatz family that picked up a new television this season. And, unlike my Vizio experience, Mom has been quite pleased with the two TCL Roku TVs I chose for her. Of course, her expectations and tolerances in this realm are far more, uh, relaxed than most of our regulars – so […]

10 Days With Vizio M Series

Sun, 01/11/2015 - 08:31
Cue the sad panda. I had high hopes for a new 65″ Vizio M Series. But, after 10 days, Best Buy has reclaimed it. The M Series was notable for providing a solid picture at a reasonable price. And, when the 65″ dropped to $1000 during promotional holiday pricing, we pulled the trigger. Beyond “bang for buck” […]

For Internet of Things, Chaos Reigns. (Clutter, Too)

Sat, 01/10/2015 - 08:46
As expected, the “Internet of Things” was a hot topic at CES. And everyone seems to want a piece of this market. For example, we’ve got an iPhone case maker pitching networked power outlets and the fitness tracker company wants to sell you a Bluetooth light bulb. Sadly, chaos reigns … given the number of competing standards, proprietary solutions, poorly articulated […]

Wink App Update Outs Cree Connected Zigbee Bulbs

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 08:44
The Wink Hub iPhone app was just updated and, amongst various bug fixes, is reference to “support of Cree light bulbs”. Cree is generally known for high quality, low-cost LEDs (and I’m quite fond of the BR30s), but really hasn’t been mentioned in the DIY home automation space… until now. So I backtracked thru the […]

Withings Activité Pop

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 08:05
Intro At $450, I had no intention of buying the original Withings Activité watch. That’s a bit steep for my watch buget, even if it does incorporate activity tracking and is Swiss-made. Seeing an opportunity to use a similar design, Withings announced at CES 2015 a new version of the Activité called Pop ($150).The Pop looks almost identical to the Activité, […]

Staples Connect Adds “Modes” & Zigbee Bulbs

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 13:00
At the end of December, Staples Connect released the much anticipated update for their new D-Link hub which included new features such as Modes, a Migration Assistant, and support for additional devices. Let’s take a brief look at each of these new features: Modes With the new Modes feature, you have the ability to change the way your […]

The Sling is Dead, Long Live the Sling!

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 06:40
Possibly the most disruptive product announcement out of CES this week is DISH’s long foreshadowed Internet television service. And, amongst several surprises, is “Sling TV” branding. I guess it’s nice that DISH chose to repurpose the Echostar asset… as you’d be horrified to learn what we had paid for that URL. Having said that, it certainly clocked in far less than the questionable “Blockbuster” […]

Channel Master Brings Dozens of Online Channels to DVR+

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 06:44
Channel Master’s fee-free, over-the-air DVR+ is set to receive a massive infusion of online content. Company reps emphasize that what we’re looking at are not “apps” that require configuration and interaction, but rather the direct integration of linear streaming content into the guide for channel surfing alongside those HD antenna broadcasts. Available channels can be added and removed […]

Hands On TiVo OnePass!

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 05:56
Just a few weeks back I had lamented TiVo seemingly being lapped by “the lowly cable company” and Dish’s “binge bar” in sensibly stringing together episodic television à la Netlix. Not to be outdone, and as alluded to in patent filings, TiVo takes it to a whole ‘nother level with OnePass: OnePass is a powerful […]