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      With Amazon Alexa’s future in peril, Fire TVs offer a glimmer of hope

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 March, 2023 - 11:00

    Amazon Fire TV mounted in a living room

    Enlarge / Fire TVs give Alexa hope, but the future still feels grim. (credit: Amazon )

    Alexa, how can you continue to be relevant and stop sucking money from Amazon?

    That's not an easy question to answer, and the future of Amazon Alexa has never felt so uncertain. In November, Business Insider reported that Alexa “and other devices” were expected to lose Amazon $10 billion in 2022. Such large losses spotlight an enduring question: How are voice assistants supposed to make money? It’s a dilemma other voice assistants are struggling with, too.

    In the case of Alexa, which has been integrated into various Amazon-branded products, from speakers and smart displays to a home robot and microwave, its best shot at survival has been under our noses—or in our living rooms—all along.

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      Amazon hamstrings free app that makes Fire TV remotes reprogrammable

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 20 February, 2023 - 19:32 · 1 minute

    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

    Enlarge / The Fire TV Stick 4K Max. You're pretty much stuck with those streaming-service buttons on the bottom of the remote. (credit: Amazon)

    Amazon doesn't want you messing with the Fire TV remote's buttons. After all, those buttons connecting users to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are a source of ad revenue for Amazon. The company recently issued a software update to the Fire TV Stick 4K Max that blocks the functionality of Remapper, a free app that lets users reprogram the remote's third-party app-launcher buttons.

    Buttons dedicated to a specific TV-streaming service, like Disney+ or Peacock, have been a way for streaming services to attempt to drive subscriptions and viewership since 2011 when Netflix started doing it . Companies like Amazon and Roku receive money for placing a button for a streaming service on their remotes. Amazon hasn't disclosed how much money it makes from this function, but in 2019, Bloomberg reported that Roku charges streaming companies $1 for every remote sold with one of the service's buttons.

    With that in mind, Amazon's apparent resistance to Remapper isn't surprising. But for users who don't have a Netflix subscription, for example, they may want to reprogram a Fire TV remote's dedicated Netflix button to launch a service they have a subscription to.

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      LG issues recall of 52,000 TVs due to 86-inchers’ “serious tip-over” hazards

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 13 January, 2023 - 16:52

    LG 86-inch TV (86NANO75UQA) on stand with white background

    Enlarge / LG recalled the 86NANO75UQA and three other 86-inch 4K LED TVs. (credit: LG )

    LG Electronics (LGE) issued a recall of four models of its 86-inch 4K TVs on Thursday due to tip-over concerns. The recall affects 52,000 TVs sold between March and September 2022 with the model numbers 86NANO75UQA, 86UQ7070ZUD, 86UQ7590PUD, and 86NANO75UQA.

    The recall notice from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says the TVs "can become unstable while on the assembled stand, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in injuries or death to children and others." The recall applies to TVs sold by Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, and other brick-and-mortar stores for $1,100 to $1,900.

    The recall notice says owners of the affected models should detach the TV from its stand and place it somewhere safe and away from kids. It also advises customers to contact LGE "for instructions on how to inspect the unit and to obtain replacement screws and stand parts, including help from a technician for a free repair."

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      RIP HDMI Alt Mode, we hardly knew ye

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 12 January, 2023 - 19:07

    close up of an HDMI cable on whtie background

    Enlarge / HDMI cable. (credit: Getty )

    If you're using a USB-C port to connect a computer to a display, you're most likely using DisplayPort Alternate Mode (Alt Mode). Some less-intensive uses might opt for DisplayLink to connect to a dock or adapter and eventually output to a screen. But due to non-existent adoption, we can pretty much guarantee you're not using HDMI Alt Mode. And according to the HDMI Licensing Administrator (HDMI LA), you never will because the feature is dead.

    NotebookCheck spoke with HDMI LA, which is responsible for licensing the HDMI Forum's HDMI specs, at CES 2023 in Las Vegas last week and learned that there won't be any certified adapters supporting HDMI Alt Mode over USB.

    "According to HDMI LA, there are simply no more uses for Alt Mode," the publication reported on Wednesday. "One of the reasons is that companies like Apple have begun putting HDMI ports on their products again. HDMI Alt Mode also no longer offers any advantages. As a result, the specification will not receive any further updates."

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      TCL backtracks on making its first OLED TVs

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 11 January, 2023 - 20:36

    TCL QM8 98-inch Mini LED TV

    Enlarge / TCL will instead focus on bigger QLED and Mini LED Tvs, like the 98-inch QM8. (credit: TCL )

    TCL isn't letting go of the QLED dream. This dream doesn't just see TCL selling LCD-LED TVs with quantum dots but also features QLED as the sole four-letter acronym in its lineup. Numerous vendors announced new OLED TVs during CES 2023 last week, with some leveraging purportedly next-gen tech. However, TCL has affirmed plans to be one of the last TV makers still holding out on OLED... despite what you may have heard.

    During CES, TCL actually did announce that it was making its first OLED TV. It even went as far as to commit to Samsung Display's QD-OLED panels, which would make it the third company to sell QD-OLED TVs, after Samsung and Sony. The announcement claimed that Mini LED and QD-OLED would "both hold premium positions in TCL's 2023 TV line-up." However, the TV maker known for budget and mid-range products told FlatPanelsHD today that this is false.

    "A line in the TCL CES 2023 press release confirming plans to launch the brand's first QD-OLED television this year was incorrectly included," TCL told the publication.

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      How will 2023 TVs address OLED’s biggest flaws?

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 10 January, 2023 - 22:26 · 1 minute

    Samsung 77-inch QD-OLED TV

    Enlarge / A 77-inch QD-OLED was one of the new TVs announced at CES 2023. (credit: Samsung Display)

    OLED TVs are the premium focal point of many modern-day home theaters, but they're still imperfect technology. As usual, last week's CES in Las Vegas featured a smattering of upcoming TVs, plenty of them OLED-based. We saw bigger sizes and increased competition among OLED panel makers; however, the most interesting development was claims of boosted peak brightness.

    A dimmer screen has long been the weak point of OLED displays, especially compared to their cheaper LCD rivals. But while 2023's upcoming OLED TVs largely trumpet improved brightness capabilities and present potential for unprecedentedly rich highlights, it'll still be years before you want to put an OLED TV in your sun-filled living room.

    OLED's brightness problem

    If you listed the drawbacks of an OLED TV compared to an LCD one, they're typically price and dimness. Despite having inky, deep blacks, OLEDs are known to be noticeably dimmer than LCD displays. Dark blacks still help the screens deliver next-level contrast, and good OLED TVs can make highlights in HDR content pop dramatically. But less overall luminance makes it hard to enjoy the image on an OLED TV in a brightly lit room or positioned under a light.

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      LG’s 2023 OLED TVs claim to boost brightness by up to 70%

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 3 January, 2023 - 22:10 · 1 minute

    LG 2023 OLED TV in a living room

    Enlarge (credit: LG)

    January means new technology product announcements from the CES trade show in Las Vegas. LG, a regular CES participant, announced this year's OLED TV lineup at the show. Similar to LG's 2022 OLED TVs , this year's focus is about boosting brightness. But in 2023, LG's OLED TVs will also face stiffer competition, including from Samsung Display's QD-OLED tech, which is also supposed to be getting brighter.

    Today, LG announced updates to its 8K Z series (77 and 88 inches), high-end 4K G series (55–97 inches), and flagship 4K C-series (42–93 inches) OLED TVs. The company didn't detail new additions to its less advanced B series, but Forbes reported that LG would eventually release B3 OLED TVs with an A7 Gen 6 processor and 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes this year. LG will reportedly no longer sell the entry-level A series in North America.

    In addition to using OLED.EX panels (which LG calls "OLED Evo" in its consumer TVs), LG Display announced in late 2021 that OLED.EX panels were up to 30 percent brighter than traditional OLED panels; LG also claims the 55-, 65-, and 75-inch G3 are up to 70 percent brighter when using a feature called Brightness Booster Max. The feature isn't available on the 83- or 97-inch G3 or any other LG OLED TV series.

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      Amazon’s self-branded TVs get fancier, with quantum dots, local dimming

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 29 September, 2022 - 18:27 · 1 minute

    Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED with Alexa widgets

    Enlarge / Amazon's Fire TV Omni QLED Series with Alexa widgets displayed. (credit: Amazon)

    A year after it started pushing its own TVs, Amazon is expanding its lineup with pricier, more advanced options. The Fire TV Omni QLED Series announced yesterday at the invite-only Amazon hardware event shows the tech giant upping the ante with quantum dot displays and more evolved features for smart homes.

    Amazon's first self-branded TVs came last September, ranging from the more budget-friendly 4-Series, which originally started at $370 for 43 inches, and the Omni Series, which originally cost $1,100 for the largest model, at 75 inches. The 4K TVs aren't particularly unique. They're HDR TVs and include HDMI 2.1, with eARC for soundbars, and feature variable refresh rates from a mere 48–60 Hz at 4K. Amazon Alexa is also present, of course. Alexa can work when the TVs are off, enable voice control, and work with Alexa Routines but is not an Amazon-exclusive among modern TVs.

    Amazon is paying a little more attention to image quality with the Omni QLED Series; it still avoids specific claims, though, like brightness or color coverage specs. The new 65- and 75-inch TVs use Samsung Display's QLED technology with quantum dots for a claimed boost in color, plus full-array local dimming to boost contrast.

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      Here come the bendable TVs and monitors that no one asked for

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 2 September, 2022 - 17:58 · 1 minute

    Two LG OLED Flex LX3 TVs facing each other

    Enlarge / LG's OLED Flex LX3 TV won't pick a side. (credit: LG )

    If you've been watching display tech lately, you may have noticed an interesting feature: bendable displays. Yes, monitors and TVs that you can bend to be either flat or curved are purportedly coming out soon. The feature is meant to appease those who can't settle on flat or curved, and most upcoming products feel similarly indecisive, exhibiting identity crises that make it hard to see where they fit... literally. Does something like this belong in a living room, office, or gaming den?

    In the case of the LG OLED Flex LX3 4K TV announced Wednesday (no price or release date) , the most obvious answer is the living room. It's a 42-inch TV with a tuner, LG's webOS, and even LG Display's OLED Evo technology used in the LG C2 TV . The primary difference from every other TV is that this one has buttons (including buttons on the remote) for changing the screen from flat to a 900R curvature across 20 steps. That provides the potential for an extremely curved TV.

    The thing is, you probably don't want to watch curved television. Vendors tried making this a thing years ago, but as we wrote back then, curved TVs mostly accommodate people sitting pretty close to and directly in front of the TV. That's not how most people gather 'round the heart of the living room. Living room TVs are frequently shared, with people sitting at various distances from the screen and at varying angles. But up close and centered sounds awfully similar to how most people use monitors.

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