The Logitech Harmony Hub: A Smart Home TV Remote

If there’s one technology that needs to either die or radically change, it’s the TV remote. Have you ever stopped to think about how much of a usability nightmare the average remote control is? They have a million buttons–most of which you never use–and each one is laid out differently. If you lose the remote or it stops working, you lose access to the vast majority of your TV’s functionality.

It’s even worse if you have a full home entertainment system with a TV, speakers, and more. You’re forced to perform an elaborate sequence of operations to ensure everything is turned on in the right order and configured to the right input settings for whatever you are trying to watch. It’s crazy that we all just accept this as a fact of life. What other tech product do we use in 2017 that requires this much concentration to use on a daily basis?

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Amazon Vs. Google: Which Voice Assistant System Should You Invest In?

If you’re ready to get in on the home voice assistant craze, you are immediately faced with a difficult decision: which assistant should you sign your life away to? Every manufacturer wants to sell you an entire ecosystem of products that are designed to work together, so you have to commit to a single system to reap the full benefits. But how do you make that choice?

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Whole-Home Music Playback Coming to Amazon Echo

File this under the category of “it’s about time”: whole-home music playback is finally coming to the Amazon Echo. Reports indicate that Amazon has completed its testing of the feature, so we can probably expect to see it in a software update any day now. Finally!

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The Amazon Tap Is My New Favorite Echo

I first got my feet wet with the Amazon Echo line of products with an Echo Dot in December of last year, and since then it’s become one of my most often used gadgets when I’m at home. Between using it to control my lights, checking the weather, and asking Alexa to play music, I find myself regularly using the Echo Dot. No, it doesn’t do anything that I can’t do with an app on my phone, but when I’m doing things around the house, the convenience of voice commands is great.

But, of course, the catch is that the Echo is only useful if it’s nearby and listening.

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Should You Hold Out For The Apple HomePod?

At the WWDC conference last week, Apple announced its long-awaited entry into the home voice assistant market: the Apple HomePod. In traditional Apple fashion, it’s beautiful and expensive. But unfortunately, it’s not going to be available until December. So the question is: should you hold out until the HomePod is released, or go with another option now, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home?

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Google Home’s Impressive Set Of New Features

Recently, Google held its yearly developer conference, Google I/O. Google is involved in a dizzying number of different projects and initiatives, but one of the stars of the show this year was the Google Assistant. Since Google Assistant is the voice assistant used on Android phones as well as in the Google Home, Google’s keynote presentation included some announcements that will be exciting to Android and Google Home fans. Let’s take a look at some of what Google announced. Some of this is available now and some will be available in the next few months, but there is some exciting stuff here.

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Amazon Echo Look: Do Voice Assistants Need Eyes?

Last week, Amazon announced the Echo Look, an Alexa-enabled camera that gives you fashion tips and helps you take selfies. The Echo Look has the same Alexa voice assistant found in the Echo and Echo Dot, and can do everything those devices can, such as telling you the weather or playing music. However, the Echo Look is the first product in the Echo line to include a camera, making it a much different device than previous Alexa-powered products. I’m not really sure how to feel about it.

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April Smart Home Update: Alexa Learns Colors, Google Learns People, and Ecobee Learns Speech

It’s only been a few weeks since our last smart home news update, but as we’ve come to expect with this particular industry right now, there is still plenty of new stuff to talk about. As before, I’ll start by talking about what’s new with my personal smart home setup, and then go through a few news updates.

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Smart Home Update: IKEA Enters The Game, Alexa Gets Smarter, And I Realize No One Can Use My Lights

Smart homes are a hot topic in tech right now, which means there is a lot to report on and a lot to talk about. Rather than write individually about each development, I thought it might make more sense to give a periodic update on the industry and get you up to speed on the latest products and news. But first, I’ll share a bit about what I’ve been doing with my setup lately.

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Google Home’s Unfortunate Foray Into Ads

Google sparked a controversy this week by including a plug for the new Beauty and the Beast movie as part of the “My Day” messages. Users typically use the My Day feature to hear about calendar events, weather, news, and traffic, so hearing a movie advertisement is a bit out of place. As you might imagine, the Internet did not react well to this.

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