Latest Black Friday deal: Get 2 Echo speakers at QVC for just $100 total

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Ready to score a sweet discount on the Amazon Echo smart speaker this Black Friday? Alexa, hold your horses. Sure, Amazon will offer its flagship Alexa speaker for $69 next week — but QVC already has that deal beat, with an offer that’ll net you two Echo speakers for $100. That means you’re essentially getting them for what you’d normally pay for a pair of pint-sized Echo Dots. SEE IT AT QVC   The deal is especially interesting in light of the recent addition of Amazon’s stereo pairing feature, which…

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Smart home tech that can save you money

  Your smart home can do more than just make your daily routine more convenient. As strange as it may seem, the couple hundred dollars you spend on a fancy connected gadget might actually save you money in the long run. From better heating and cooling to more efficient watering, these smart home products can help you cut down on your utility bills. Smart thermostats Chris Monroe/CNET Smart thermostats from popular brands such as Nest and Ecobee claim to save you between 10% and 20% on your heating and cooling…

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Consumers no longer think voice assistants are mediocre

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  It’s been a rough start for voice assistants. Not too long ago, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa were buggy and didn’t know the answer to plenty of obvious questions. While those problems still exist, consumers have found these digital helpers work much better than they did before. Now, 54 percent of US consumers say voice assistants work well. Forty-one percent said they work OK and just 5 percent said they work poorly. The results come from a late January survey of over 1,000 US adults by Adobe. The results,…

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Alexa update lets you watch Ring, Arlo, security camera alerts on your Echo Show

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Amazon on Thursday announced in a blog post that Alexa-enabled security cameras from Ring, Arlo and August, along with Amazon’s own Cloud Cam indoor security camera, now work with the Cameras Recap API.  This new API should make it possible for you to view a recorded video clip with the phrase, ‘Alexa, show the event that just happened at the back door/front door/whatever you named your camera.’ The Alexa skill works on the Amazon Echo Show, the Echo Spot, the Fire TV and Fire tablets.  You can’t currently ask Alexa to show…

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Comcast wants to take on Google and Amazon as a smart-home hub

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Cable giant Comcast may be taking on Amazon and Google to be the commander of your smart home.  Comcast is testing a program that would allow its broadband-only customers to turn their TVs into smart-home hubs, according to a person familiar with the matter. The program uses Comcast’s existing hardware as well as the software powering its X1 video service to make the TV a place where internet-only households can control things like connected light bulbs or security cameras with voice commands.  Comcast’s move would be a first shot at…

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Smart display review roundup: The next frontier for the smart home?

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We’ve come to call them ‘smart displays,’ these countertop touchscreen devices that also feature either the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice services. The Amazon Echo Show was the first example in this category, and while it had a clunky design, its 2017 debut proved that the concept had potential.  The category his since grown to eight or nine different offerings, depending on how you define them, each with a variation on the core theme. All of them use a voice assistant and a touchscreen in combination to answer questions,…

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