This Week in Gear: New Philips Roku TVs, Amazon Expands Alexa Control for Fire TV, and More

Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 at 10:00 AM PST by
philips roku tv

We've compiled the latest gear news, including the release of new Roku TVs, Alexa support for new Fire TV apps, and more.

From product announcements and streaming app updates to general industry news and recent gear trends, keeping up with the latest tech news can be a daunting task. With that in mind, we're here to offer you a roundup of some of the latest gear and consumer electronics news that you may have missed.

For this edition, we're covering the launch of new Philips Roku HDTVs, the expansion of Alexa voice control to more Fire TV apps, the addition of the NBC app to the VIZIO SmartCast TV lineup, and the release of Puro Sound Labs' JuniorJams Headphones.

So, without further ado, here's a rundown of some of the latest gear and tech news:

Philips Launches New Roku TV Lineup


Philips has announced the release of its newest HDTV lineup. The new Philips 4000 Series Roku TV collection includes 40-inch, 43-inch, and 50-inch models.

The displays all feature Full HD 1080p resolution and include integrated support for the Roku OS smart TV platform with access to 500,000 movies and TV episodes across thousands of free and paid channels through Roku's intuitive interface. In addition, the set features cross-channel search option and voice search capabilities through a free mobile app for iOS and Android.

Here's a rundown of specs per Philips:

Aspect ratio: Widescreen(16:9)

Contrast ratio (typical): 5000:1

Response time (typical): 9.5 ms

Viewing angle: 178º (H) / 178º (V)

Display screen type: LED Full HD Display

Panel resolution: 1920x1080p

Picture enhancement: Dynamic contrast

The 40-inch Philips 4000 Series Roku TV is now available from Sam's Club for an MSRP of $349. In addition, the 50-inch model is set to hit Walmart in January for an MSRP of $429. Likewise, a 43-inch model will be available for an MSRP of $379, but a release window has not been announced yet.

Source: Philips via Engadget

Amazon Expands Fire TV Alexa Voice Control to More Apps


Amazon has announced support for Alexa voice control on more apps through the Fire TV. The expanded support now covers apps like Bravo, CBS, Hulu, NBC, SHOWTIME, and Sony PlayStation Vue.

With Alex voice support, users can search, control playback, and change channels within an app through voice commands. Voice controls for the Fire TV are available via the Alexa Voice Remote, the Fire TV Remote App, or through a paired Amazon Echo device.

Here's a rundown of potential voice commands that customers can now use to access and control their favorite content per Hulu:

"Alexa, watch ESPN."

"Alexa, go to Bravo."

"Alexa, play The Handmaid’s Tale."

"Alexa, play Full House."

"Alexa, pause."

"Alexa, play This is Us."

"Alexa, go back 13 seconds."

"Alexa, fast forward 2 minutes."

"Alexa, go to the beginning."

Amazon's latest Fire TV ($70) device offers access to a growing collection of apps (sans YouTube) and Alexa skills. Under the hood, the device is powered by an Amlogic Quad-core 1.5GHz processor and Mali450 MP3 GPU, along with 2GB of memory, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and 8 GB of storage. The player also features a new compact dongle-like design that fits behind a user's TV. In addition, the unit includes support for up to 60fps 4K Ultra HD playback with HDR10 and Dolby Atmos audio.

Sources: Amazon Fire TV Blog, Hulu

VIZIO Adds NBC App to SmartCast TV Lineup


VIZIO has announced the addition of the NBC app to its SmartCast TV platform for P-Series, M-Series, and E Series 4K HDR Displays. As part of the update, the NBC app is now available directly from the display's on-screen interface, along with other apps like Amazon Video, Crackle, FandangoNOW, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Netflix, Pluto TV, Vudu and XUMO.

"One of the biggest benefits of the VIZIO SmartCast platform is its rapidly expanding catalog of streaming TV shows and movies, powered by over a thousand TV and mobile apps," said Bill Baxter, SVP of Product Development and Engineering, VIZIO. "VIZIO is continuously expanding the line-up by adding popular favorites, like the NBC app. We're excited to give consumers access to the NBC app on SmartCast TV so they can stream episodes of their favorite hit TV series at any time."

The NBC streaming app allows users with an authenticated cable or satellite subscription to browse and stream episodes of their favorite NBC shows right on their VIZIO displays. And with SmartCast TV, customers now have two ways to control streaming content, adding support for on-screen app navigation with the new VIZIO SmartCast remote. Users can also now access settings and a new home screen with content recommendations and a "Discover" section that aggregates trending and popular content from multiple sources all in one place, letting customers browse titles without having to switch between multiple apps. Likewise, customers can use their mobile devices to access and control content and settings as well.

Source: VIZIO 

Puro Sound Labs Releases New JuniorJams Kids' Headphones


Puro Sound Labs has announced the release of its new JuniorJams Kids' Headphones lineup. The studio-grade, wireless headphones have been designed with hearing safety in mind.

"In designing the JuniorJams we rolled up everything a parent would need and a child would want from a headphone," said Lacey. “Safety, durability, ease of use, cool style and awesome sound, these headphones will keep the front seat and the back seat happy."

The JuniorJams Headphones feature Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity with support for the aptX codec and up to 22 hours of battery life. In addition, the device offers an ultra-comfortable protein leather ear cushion, 87% ambient noise isolation, and 85dB volume-limiting technology for hearing safety.

The Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams are now on sale for $69.99 in blue, green, purple, and pink. 

Source: Puro Sound Labs

Tags: Philips, Roku, Roku TV, Vizio, NBC, Puro Sound Labs, Headphones, Apps, Alexa, Fire TV, Amazon (all tags)