The superstar of CES® 2017 was not a car, or a robot, or even a TV; it was Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the software that allows you to control compatible devices with your voice. Various reports estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at the show. I can't verify the number, but "and it works with Alexa" was the running gag at CES. The familiar Amazon/Alexa logo seemed to be everywhere.
Unless you turn off the microphones and use a button or a remote, Alexa Voice Service and other IVCSs are always listening. Let me be the first to scream … "Look out!"
Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people?
Shelly Palmer talks about the most popular streaming TV boxes, Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV on Fox 5 with Ben Simmoneau and Teresa Priolo. Original airdate: December 1, 2015
2016 will be another transitional year for the television industry. Everyone has a personal story about cord cutting and skinny bundles and the death of television, “You know nobody watches TV anymore … by the way, can you believe what Meredith said to Cali’s girlfriend on Grey’s last night?” And, absolutely everyone has a personal timeline for the advent of à La Carte cable programming. “Consumers want it … it’s going to happen soon.” While behaviors and timelines can be debated, in practice, there are only a few ways to accomplish 4K (UHD) or HD viewing on a big screen TV without a cable set-top box. Here is a quick overview of five streaming TV devices (in no particular order) that are on the front lines of the fight for cable independence.