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Echo/Alexa OT

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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
Really torn on whether to get this or the Google home. Both are $80 for black Friday.

Does anyone have any experience with both? Sound quality for music is probably my most important factor, followed closely by how well the device understands voice.

It seems like both are pretty good at both and it's hard to find any specific reviews that give one an edge over the other. Although it does seem the 2nd gen Echo has better sound quality than the Home.
The Echo has audio out if that helps, so you can hook up your own thing if you want better output. It's not economical if you know you want to do that but it does give you leeway to change your mind and upgrade without needing a new device.
 

Aesthet1c

Member
Oct 27, 2017
437
Thanks for the input guys. I think I'm leaning a little more towards the Echo right now and if the sound qaulity is bad I can grab a dot and throw the echo upstairs.
 

mrmoose

Member
Nov 13, 2017
7,576
I have it paired to my hub, but I think they've improved the interactivity recently and I haven't changed the settings to take advantage of it. Right now it mainly serves to be able to turn my tv on or off when I can't find the remote... :) Being able to change channels and such is at the mercy of whatever provider you have, though I think even amazon fire integration isn't great (for instance I think you can play/pause Netflix on a PS4 but not a Blu-ray).

By the way, if you want to buy an echo or dot or whatever, I think Target is a better deal right now (if amazon charges you tax), they pretty much have Amazon's prices plus 15% off. It's got me tempted to get a Show even though it'll probably just collect dust.
 

RetroMG

Community Resettler
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,895
I picked a dot up on black friday.

Anyone have it paired to a harmony hub? If so how well does it work? I'm updating my hub tonight to link it.
I have mine set up for the TV volume and the various inputs. It's really nice to be able to say, "Alexa, turn on PS4" and have it go to the HDMI input for my PS4.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,707
I still get confused how to change the temperature.

I can say ‘Alexa turn up the nest’ and that’s fine. But I wanted to make it sound more natural so I made a group or something called temperature.

If I say ‘Alexa turn up the temperature’ she says ‘sorry what device?’ If I then just say ‘temperature’ again it works. Really odd
 

Rocketz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,304
Ferndale, Michigan
Got my dot hooked up to my harmony hub and roku. Will need to set some new activities on my harmony so she can change the inputs on my tv and soundbar.

Really liking it so far and the wife is really enjoying it and she’s normally meh when it comes to this stuff. Will definitely be purchasing more in the future.
 

Stinkles

343 Industries
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
15,297
I still get confused how to change the temperature.

I can say ‘Alexa turn up the nest’ and that’s fine. But I wanted to make it sound more natural so I made a group or something called temperature.

If I say ‘Alexa turn up the temperature’ she says ‘sorry what device?’ If I then just say ‘temperature’ again it works. Really odd
mine needs a name for the room the thermostat is in so currently I say "Alexa set hallway to 69 degrees "

The name string is set on the nest itself.
 

pantsattack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,647
I tried, "Alexa, play Daily Mix 1 From Spotify," "Alexa, play Daily Mix number 1 From Spotify," "Alexa, play the playlist Daily Mix 1 From Spotify," etc.
Google says it's a known problem/request. Oh well.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
Alexa and Echo will arrive in Australia and New Zealand in early 2018: https://www.cnet.com/au/news/amazon-alexa-echo-coming-to-australia-new-zealand-early-2018/

The first AAA game integration, Activision has released a skill for Destiny 2, including a custom Alexa compatible speaker: https://www.vg247.com/2017/11/30/amazon-alexa-owners-can-now-talk-to-their-ghost-in-destiny-2/

Amazon is planning a business platform for Alexa: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/amazon-alexa-for-business-platform-planned.html

[edit] Official: https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/d1987d48-0dda-4805-a5b3-532bcb3673ff/introducing-alexa-for-business
 
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Guppeth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,550
Sheffield, UK
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
You can now schedule meetings with someone using Alexa. You can say something like:

Alexa, schedule [event] with [person] at [time].

This will add a calendar item and ask to send them a calendar invite via email using your contacts. You can also say something like:

Alexa, invite [person] to [event] at [time].

To send without a prompt.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=202207160

Calendars are also now compatible with Your Voice.

Also more TV apps have gained support including Hulu, NBC and CBS:

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/11/30/16719318/alexa-can-now-control-hulu-nbc-and-more-on-the-fire-tv
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,707
Uk got the blue harmony skill so we can talk directly rather than having to ask the harmony skill

- Alexa turn on the tv
much better than
- Alexa ask harmony to turn on the TV
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,707
Alexa can now translate from English to other languages: http://www.aftvnews.com/alexa-can-now-translate-words-from-english-to-several-languages/. Strangely, when using the Echo Show it just shows the text but does not speak the words but it does on audio-only devices.
It’d be good if you could be a bit more natural, like “Alexa, how do you say 'blah' in Italian?” Having to say 'translate blah into italian' just makes you have to stop and think for a momen this to format your question. One of the biggest issues for me with these voice assistants tbh
 

GAMEPROFF

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,907
Germany
Is there a way to send a song to Alexa via a click in a programm? I have uploaded a couple from my library, but Alexa doesnt understand me.
 

Darknight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,683
The TP-Link Mini Smart Plug is $10.35 when you order through Alexa. They're normally $35, and can go on sale as low as $25, but never this cheap. You can order multiple too. Just say:

"Alexa, order x TP-Link Mini Smart Plug" where x is the number of units you want.

If you're not at home or around your Alexa device, you can download the Amazon Music app on your phone and it has an Alexa button that will work. If you order enough to hit the $35 same day delivery, you can go edit your shipping speed after you place your order to get it today.

This is the switch:

 

RetroMG

Community Resettler
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,895
The TP-Link Mini Smart Plug is $10.35 when you order through Alexa. They're normally $35, and can go on sale as low as $25, but never this cheap. You can order multiple too. Just say:

"Alexa, order x TP-Link Mini Smart Plug" where x is the number of units you want.

If you're not at home or around your Alexa device, you can download the Amazon Music app on your phone and it has an Alexa button that will work. If you order enough to hit the $35 same day delivery, you can go edit your shipping speed after you place your order to get it today.

This is the switch:

Oh damn, I've been wanting one of these for the Christmas tree. How long is the sale, do you know?
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
Amazon is launching Echo in 28 new countries. Not going to list them all for page stretching reasons, but you can find them at the link: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2321843. Note that there are no new languages, for now it only supports any of the existing ones (English US/UK/IN/CA/AU, German, Japanese)

Also, you can now set a music alarm: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/12/11/16762442/amazon-alexa-echo-music-alarms-new-feature-update.
It uses the same type of queries that you would for music so song, artist or playlist from any of the supported music services.

You can also do new queries for music including asking for a song you heard at a particular time, songs similar to the current song, songs popular in a region, or songs you haven't heard in a while: http://www.aftvnews.com/alexa-can-now-play-music-by-similarity-geographic-region-recency-and-date/
 
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mrmoose

Member
Nov 13, 2017
7,576
They're really trying to move the Echo Show. The thing was way overpriced to begin with but I didn't think we'd see this kind of discount after black friday. I guess it's not really selling (or the youtube thing is a bigger hit on them than I thought?)
 

RetroMG

Community Resettler
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,895
They're really trying to move the Echo Show. The thing was way overpriced to begin with but I didn't think we'd see this kind of discount after black friday. I guess it's not really selling (or the youtube thing is a bigger hit on them than I thought?)
I really want one, but not for the prices they've been asking. $150 is the absolute most I would pay for one, and probably not until after Christmas.

Unrelated, but the Echo Dot is the single best thing I've bought as a new(ish) parent. My little girl is just over one year old, and the echo has been a life saver. Voice controls for lights make it easy to adjust lighting while holding her. Brown noise tracks from Amazon Music have helped her sleep for months. We just discovered a skill called "Night Light" that causes the ring on the Echo Dot to pulse light blue and dark blue for as long as you tell it to. My daughter finds that pulse incredibly hypnotic for some reason, and when she's having trouble sleeping, my wife or I can turn that on and she'll just stare at it until her eyes drift closed. Oh, and when she's screaming or crying, if I ask Echo to open the bedtime story skill, she'll stop what she's doing and turn and listen to Echo talk. When the story's over she might start up again, but it gives me a minute or two to try and fix whatever's REALLY wrong.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
They're really trying to move the Echo Show. The thing was way overpriced to begin with but I didn't think we'd see this kind of discount after black friday. I guess it's not really selling (or the youtube thing is a bigger hit on them than I thought?)
YouTube was a big hit to it. Review score slide a lot because it's an advertised feature that keeps breaking. That and people just want cheaper devices. I like the Show well enough but it had less of that instant "this is cool" factor. I imagine once Fire TV gets full visual skill support they might pivot a bit.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
Echo Spot reviews rolling in:

https://www.wired.com/review/review-amazon-echo-spot/
https://gizmodo.com/amazons-echo-spot-is-a-good-as-hell-alarm-clock-1821375611
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/18/amazon-echo-spot-review-best-echo.html
http://mashable.com/2017/12/18/amazon-echo-spot-review/
https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/18/amazon-echo-spot-review/
https://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-echo-spot/review/
https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/18/16787600/amazon-echo-spot-alexa-clock-review

Overall, they seem very positive, with reviewers consistently mentioning it's one of the best alarm clocks. General highlights:

- Sound quality is much closer to a full Echo than a Dot
- Screen is too small for video but very nice for a bedroom HUD
- Physical device looks great
- Many reviewers had some reservation about putting a camera in the bedroom.

Also, Echo Show users can now opt-in to have their fashion reviewed by actual people on Amazon's not-so-well-known social network Amazon Spark: https://www.cnet.com/news/amazons-echo-look-lets-you-ask-strangers-what-you-should-wear/

Uh, yeah, good luck with that.
 

ManaByte

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
11,087
Southern California
With the discounts on everything we bought an Echo and two dots a week and a half ago. I have it setup with my Hue lights, and it's great. Also setup Amazon Music Unlimited and we use that a lot.

I have an Apple TV 4K, but for $55 I'm picking up a 4K Fire TV today just to be able to control most streaming through Alexa. I'll still use the Apple TV for 4K movies since the Amazon library sucks for that right now.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,707
Does the fire TV stick mean you can use echo to watch TV like Netflix etc? How useful is voice control for watching things?
 

mrmoose

Member
Nov 13, 2017
7,576
I think the Netflix on Fire TV integration is hit and miss. You can control your fire tv decently enough, but if, for instance, a movie you want is on both netflix and another app, I think it just brings up the search page. Amazon video works fine, naturally.

You'll also need a harmony hub if you want to actually turn on your TV/receiver and control volume (if you don't have a receiver you can presumably use HDMI CEC to turn on your tv when the fire tv turns on, but you still can't effect volume)
 

GAMEPROFF

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,907
Germany
Amazon is going to kill the free Music Uploade function of Amazon Music, which makes 90% of the stuff I listend to on my Echo Dot useless... If you already have uploaded something to the cloud, you can listen to it until January 2019.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,707
Amazon is going to kill the free Music Uploade function of Amazon Music, which makes 90% of the stuff I listend to on my Echo Dot useless... If you already have uploaded something to the cloud, you can listen to it until January 2019.
Wait - you mean on amazon music unlimited? Why would they do that when Apple and google both still have that? Shit I think that means no Alexa compatible streaming services for your own music?
 

Darknight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,683
I just got an Echo Show for Christmas. My wife knew I wanted an Echo Spot for the bedroom as an alarm clock/bedroom device but I guess the Spots were out of stock until after Christmas but said we could swap if that was a better fit. So my question is, is there a reason to have the Show over the Spot or is the Spot a better bedroom device?
 

mrmoose

Member
Nov 13, 2017
7,576
The Spot is more compact, so I guess it depends on how much space you want it taking in your bedroom (and if you really want a camera in your bedroom, but who am I to judge?)
 

Deschain

User banned at own request
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
201
I posted this in another thread but this might be a better fit.

I've picked up an Echo Plus which so far i'm impressed with, but my wife can't seem to add any routines to it.

Our accounts are linked as a household which is showing in the Alexa Apps and we can switch accounts via the Echo itself but she doesn't seem to be able to add any new routines, should she be able to?

Also, just realised she can't seem to synch with any of the Hue light bulbs.....

We can add routines and the bulbs from my account, which is the account I ordered the device from but not the other account.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,708
Mine is linked to my wife's and everything works on either account. Is she on the most recent version of the app?
 

Deschain

User banned at own request
Banned
Oct 27, 2017
201
Mine is linked to my wife's and everything works on either account. Is she on the most recent version of the app?
Yeah most recent version, we've now tried using both the IOS vrsion and the Android version of the app with the same result. It's really odd, even when she clicks 'play' on the routine within the application nothing happens.

For example we create a Routine that should make Alexa say 'Top of the morning' when the phrase 'Alexa, Testing' is said. When my wife presses the play button and chooses the Echo Plus as the output the App displays that it's playing but nothing actually happens, same result if the above phase is said out loud. If we repeat the routine on my account it works perfectly.

I also cannot get the bulbs to sync with her account, I removed them from my account and tried to set them up under her account but it just refuses to find them.