Amazon is pushing Fire TV Edition to soundbars, set-top boxes, and cars this year – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Amazon wants to integrate its Fire TV Edition experience into more devices like soundbars and car infotainment systems, as part of its plan to be at the center of your entertainment setup. The company will show off some of these devices at CES 2020, with soundbars from TCL and cars from Chrysler and BMW.
As we inch closer to CES 2020, Amazon is spilling the beans on one of its next big ambitions. By now it’s no secret the company wants to be in every modern home to govern the smart things in our lives, but it also wants inside as many cars as possible.
The idea of baking a smart TV OS into a soundbar took off with the Anker Nebula in September 2019. The $230 device is capable of 4K streaming with Dolby Vision without the need for a set-top box and comes with an Alexa-enabled remote.

Amazon has been working with TV manufacturers to get Fire TV Edition on them, but now it’s more interested in showing off new soundbars from TCL — the Alto 8+ and TS8011 — that are powered by the same software. The first is available in Canada and the US, and the other will be coming soon to most countries in Western Europe.
The company is also planning to enhance Fire TV with support for Dolby Atmos, HDMI switching, remote device control similar to Fire TV Cube, and far-field microphones for Alexa interactions.

Users will soon be able to use a soundbar to do the switching between your gaming console, Blu-Ray player, and every other device that you might want to plug into your smart TV. Amazon is essentially fighting to be the central hub for your home entertainment system through Fire TV.
Amazon says it will also push Fire TV Edition into car infotainment systems, starting with vehicles from Fiat, Chrysler, and BMW. Later this year, you’ll also be able to do things like ask Alexa to pay for gas at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations in the US using Amazon Pay.

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At a Glance: Origin Millennium Hard Line Vice Edition Review


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Over the years America has seen its fair share of memorable decades in fashion. We’ve had the roaring twenties, the golden era following the end of WWII, disco, and so on. A lot has changed since then, but in nostalgic reverence for the 1980s and Miami Vice, Origin has designed its customized Millennium Hard Line Vice Edition gaming desktop with lots of classic neon flair.

Design

At first glance, you’ll either love or hate this case. The right side features some retro artwork with “Origin Vice” emblazoned across it. I’m fairly sure I had a Nintendo game that looked like this before.

The left side of the case features a tempered glass panel with additional artwork. The system inside looks immaculate and it glows like an actual neon sign.

Origin built this system with a hard tube liquid cooling system. Clear cooler blocks are mounted over the CPU and on two Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. These blocks glow blue and the hard tubes connecting them together glow purple. The RAM also features specialized head-spreaders designed by Origin that have been topped off with blue and purple LED lights.

Benchmarks

With two RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards in SLI and an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, this system is overkill for a gaming system. Our sister site, PCMag, benchmarked one of these systems against some of the fastest computers the site has ever tested.

 

The Core i9-9900K inside of the Millennium Hard Line doesn’t come overclocked. As a result, it came in second place behind the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 when tested with the CPU focused Cinebench R15 benchmark.

 

As RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards are fairly new, and the Origin Millennium Hard Line Vice has two of them overclocked with a water cooler, the system easily surpassed the competition in almost every test that takes advantage of the GPU.

 

PCMag did some additional testing with a custom built system with two RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards and an Intel Core i7-8700K. Testing against this system showed the Millennium hard Line Vice occasionally fall into second place despite its faster processor and superior thermal solution.

Conclusion

If you’re holding onto fond memories of the 1980s and love the looks of this case you can order the system directly from Origin, but you best also have deep pockets. The system carries with it an exuberant price tag of $6,557. Although it does offer exceptional performance, high-end parts, and an expensive thermal solution in addition to the customized aesthetic look, at this point we’re venturing into used car money. Actually, I’ve owned just four cars in my life and the first three of them together just cost roughly half what this case does.

Realistically no one needs this level of performance. And if you aren’t a fan of the 1980s, like myself, then you aren’t going to like this case. But to be fair, this system isn’t targeted as a sensible high-performance solution. It’s intended to be a showpiece for someone that really digs its vibe. The system appears to be well made and performs well, so if you absolutely love the case I’d recommend buying it.

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Amazon unveils a new Fire TV Cube, soundbar, and over a dozen Fire TV Edition products – gpgmail


At the big European tech trade show, IFA 2019, Amazon today announced over 20 new Fire TV-branded devices, including a next-generation Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Edition soundbar from Anker — its first foray into Fire TV Edition audio products — and 15 new Fire TV Edition products, including the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TVs.

The announcement represents a significant expansion of Amazon’s Fire TV hardware line and integrations at a time when Roku has gained a lead over Amazon in the U.S., in terms of connected-TV market share, while Fire TV has been claiming the top spot in some European markets and an international lead over Roku.

The company today said its Fire TV devices now have over 37 million monthly active users globally, which is ahead of the 30.5 million Roku reported in Q2. Both companies offer products that may be used by more than one person in a household, of course, but each household only gets counted as one user (or account) as long as they’ve streamed through the platform in the past month. It’s a relatively fair comparison, in other words.

Of the new devices, the new Fire TV Cube is one of the more interesting additions to the lineup as it represents the second generation, and a big upgrade, over the existing product. The device offers a hands-free Fire TV experience, and has become the testing ground for many Fire TV software enhancements before they roll out to the wider product lineup.

The updated Fire TV Cube now includes a faster, “hexa-core” processor that’s twice as powerful as the one that shipped in the first generation device. It provides “instant access” to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content, Amazon claims, at up to 60 frames per second. The new Cube also includes on-device processing with Local Voice Control, which lets you more quickly execute some of your common voice commands like “Alexa, go home,” or “Alexa, scroll right,” for example. These commands will now execute up to 4 times faster, says Amazon.

The Fire TV Cube will also ship with far-field voice recognition capabilities with 8 microphones and technology that helps to suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech so Alexa better hears your voice commands even when the TV is on in a room full of people.

Customers will be able to control their compatible TV, soundbar, A/V receiver, cable or satellite box, as well as other smart home devices by way of the device’s support of multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols, and HDMI CEC, combined with Alexa. 

“Fire TV Cube was the first hands-free streaming media player powered by Alexa, and since launching last year we have gathered a wealth of feedback from customers about how they use voice in the living room,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President of Amazon Fire TV, in a statement. “Over the past year, we have continued to expand and advance the Fire TV Cube experience based on this feedback with dozens of new features including Multi-Room Music, Follow-Up Mode, and Alexa Communications. These key learnings carried over and guided the development of the second-generation Fire TV Cube, and we are excited to introduce this new-and-improved experience to customers around the world,” he said.

The new Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order in the U.S. for $119.99, in Canada for $149.99, the United Kingdom for £109.99, Germany for €119.99, and Japan for ¥14980.  It ships on Oct. 10 in all markets except Japan, where it ships on Nov. 5, instead. And it will be sold in a package with Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $249.99 (or $69 off).

Fire TV Cube Couch

Amazon’s Fire TV Edition lineup is expanding, too. This is the licensed version of the Fire TV OS available to other manufacturers for use in their own products.

The company announced more than 15 new products from brands including Skyworth, Arcelik, TPV, Compal, and others.

In partnership with Dixons Carphone, Amazon is teaming up to launch JVC – Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs, which are the first Fire TV Edition products in the U.K. They’ll be sold by Currys PC World and online at Amazon.co.uk and are priced at £349 and up.

With IMTRON, a company of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, Amazon is launching a lineup of Fire TV Edition smart TVs under the private label ok. These will be available in Germany and Austria, as will the 11 Fire TV Edition smart TVs from Grundig including the first OLED Fire TV Edition television ( available in 55” and 65” models, starting at €1,299.99 for hands-free; or starting at €1,199.99 if not; pictured below). 

Grundig OLED Fire TV Edition display

Other more affordable Grundig Fire TV Edition products will be sold on Amazon.de in 32″, 40″, 43″, 49″, 55″, and 65″ variations, starting at €239.99. They’ll also come to retailers including MediaMarkt, Saturn, Euronics, Expert, EP:, Medimax, and others.

In the U.S., Amazon and Best Buy announced the first 65-inch Toshiba – Fire TV Edition smart TV with Dolby Vision, which will be available for customers in the United States next month for $599.

Finally, following Roku’s lead into home audio, Amazon also announced the first expansion of Fire TV Edition beyond the TV itself with the launch of the Nebula Soundbar from Anker. (Roku also today launched its own wireless soundbar).

The new device supports 4K Ultra HD, a unified smart TV user interface, near-field Alexa voice control, Dolby Vision pass-through, and more. It can also be added to a multi-room speaker group through the Alexa app, and comes with a 90-day trial to Amazon Music Unlimited. 

Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition 4

It’s available for pre-order today for $229.99 in the United States, $269.99 in Canada, £179.99 in the United Kingdom, and €209.99 in Germany. It will begin shipping on November 21.

The expansion of Fire TV Edition-branded products is also meant to challenge Roku on the success of its Roku TV-branded television sets, which are similarly manufactured by partners but run the Roku OS.

In the U.S., Roku OS is the No. 1 licensed TV OS in the U.S. and now powers more than 1 in 3 smart TVs. Amazon is today is clearly answering that challenge by focusing on the international markets with a suite of new partners for Fire TV Edition.

 


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We’re all doomed, 2019 edition – gpgmail


Every year the great and good (and bad) of the hacker/information-security world descend on Las Vegas for a week of conferences, in which many present their latest discoveries, and every year I try to itemize the most interesting (according to me) Black Hat talks for gpgmail. Do not assume I attended all or even most of these. There are far too many for anyone to attend. But hopefully they’ll give you a sense of the state of the art.

First, though, let me just note that this post title is intended as sardonic. Yes, there is a lot of sloppy software out there, and yes, a lot of smart people keep finding holes, bugs, exploits, and design flaws even in good software, but we are not actually all doomed, and the belief that we are, and that anything connected to the Internet can be and probably has been hacked — an attitude which I like to call “security nihilism” — is spectacularly counterproductive.

In truth there is a lot of extremely good security out there, especially amid the big tech companies, and it keeps getting better, as the market for 0-days (previously undiscovered exploits) indicates. Most (though certainly not all) of the exploits below have already been reported and fixed, and patches have been rolled out. That said, much of the world has a lot of work to do to catch up with, say, Apple and Google’s security teams. Without further ado, the best-sounding talks of 2019:


Liveness Detection Hacking, from Tencent’s Xuanwu Security Lab, discusses how to trick “liveness” detectors for face or voice ID (or, perhaps, cryptocurrency KYC) by injecting fake video or audio streams, or, better yet, ordinary glasses with ordinary tape attached, which, best of all, they have named X-glasses.


All the 4G Modules Could Be Hacked, from Baidu’s Security Lab, recounts the researchers’ investigation of 4G modules for IoT devices — the components which connect machines to the Internet via cell networks, basically. As their summary memorably puts it, “We carried out this initiative and tested all the major brand 4G modules in the market (more than 15 different types). The results show all of them have similar vulnerabilities” and ends with the equally memorable “how to use these vulnerabilities to attack car entertainment systems of various brands and get remote control of cars.” Extra points for the slide with ‘Build Zombie cars (just like Furious 8)’, too.


Arm IDA and Cross Check: Reversing the Boeing 787’s Core Network by Ruben Santamarta of IOActive talks about how, after discovering an accidentally public directory of sensitive Boeing information online(!), Santamarta developed a chain of exploits that could conceivably lead from the Internet to the “Common Data Network” of a 787. Boeing strongly disputes this.

I have considerable respect for Santamarta, whose work I’ve written about before, and as he put it: “Boeing communicated to IOActive that there are certain built-in compiler-level mitigations [author’s note: !!] that, in their point of view, prevent these vulnerabilities from being successfully exploited. IOActive was unable to locate or validate the existence of those mitigations in the CIS/MS firmware version we analyzed. When asked, Boeing declined to answer whether these mitigations might have been added on a later version … We hope that a determined, highly capable third party can safely confirm that these vulnerabilities are not exploitable … We are confident owners and operators of these aircraft would welcome such independent validation and verification.” Indeed. But hey, if you can’t trust Boeing, who can you trust, right?


Reverse Engineering WhatsApp Encryption for Chat Manipulation, from researchers at Check Point Software, described how to abuse WhatsApp group chat to put words into others’ mouths, albeit only in quote texts, and send private messages which look like group-chat messages. (Note however that this is post-decryption, so you have to already be a legitimate member of the chat.)


In Behind the scenes of iOS and Mac Security, Ivan Krstić, Apple’s Head of Security Engineering, publicly spoke about Apple security. That’s remarkable enough right there! In particular, it’s worth noting his exegesis of how Find My works while preserving privacy, and that Apple is going to start to offer rooted iPhones to security researchers.


Simultaneously, an organization almost as devoted to secrecy as Apple revealed more about their security practices too. Kudos! I refer of course to the NSA, who came onstage to discuss their reverse-engineering framework Ghidra, and how it came to be open-sourced.


In Critical Zero Days Remotely Compromise the Most Popular Real-Time OS, researchers from Armis Security explained how VxWorks, a real-time OS you’ve never heard of but which runs on over 2 billion machines including aircraft, medical devices, industrial control systems, and spacecraft, also boasts vulnerabilities in esoteric corners of its TCP/IP stack that could lead to remote code execution. So that’s not good.


Finally, in Exploring the New World : Remote Exploitation of SQLite and Curl, Tencent’s Blade Team (yes, Chinese researchers have been absolutely killing it this year) showed how we actually are all doomed. I kid, I kid. But while you’ve probably never heard of them, SQLite and Curl are two absolutely fundamental software components — an incredibly widely used compact single-file database and a command-line networking tool, respectively — and used an exploit of the former to successfully remote attack Google Home, and the latter to attack curl clients such as PHP/Apache as well as Git. Ouch.


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ET Deals: Samsung Galaxy S10e $549, WD 512GB Portable SSD $69, Sony PS4 Slim 1TB Limited Edition $249


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It’s a great day to be a gamer. In addition to an exceptionally priced gaming laptop today, you can also save big on a gaming desktop and get Sony’s limited edition Days of Play PS4 Slim.

Samsung Galaxy S10e Factory Unlocked w/ 128GB Storage ($549.99)

Today you can get one of Samsung’s Galaxy S10e smartphones with 128GB of storage marked down from $999.99 to $549.99. This phone is one of the fastest smartphones available on the market today with a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and 8GB of RAM. It also features a relatively high-quality camera and it comes fully unlocked.

Western Digital My Passport SSD 512GB USB 3.1 ($69.90)

Western Digital’s My Passport SSDs feature large amounts of storage space in a pocket-sized package. As you can see from the image, this model is just 10mm thin and smaller in scale than the average modern-day smartphone. It also has 512GB of storage space and it can transfer data at up to 515MB/s. It’s currently available at Amazon marked down from $199.99 to $69.90.

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim Days of Play 1TB Limited Edition ($249.99)

Sony’s limited edition PS4 comes with an updated exterior design and color steel black color scheme. This model also comes with a 1TB HDD, which is large enough to hold numerous games. Right now it’s marked down from $299.88 to $249.99 from Walmart.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Intel Core i7-8750H 15.6-Inch 1080p 144Hz IPS Gaming Laptop w/ Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming Laptop, 16GB RAM, and 256GB SSD ($999.99 / Prime Members: $899.99)

Acer’s Predator Helios 300 offers excellent gaming performance at a price that won’t break the bank. In addition to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and its Intel Core i7-8750H processor, this system also has a fast IPS display that can display up to 144 images each second. As this hardware is slightly out of date, the PC has been heavily discounted from $1,299.99 to $999.99. Prime members can save an additional $100 and get the system for $899.99, which makes it the same price as it was during Prime Day.

Overpowered DTW1 Intel Core i7-8700 Gaming Desktop w/ Nvidia GTX 1070, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD, 16GB RAM ($699.00)

This system also comes well equipped and packs in a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. It is also priced lower than what its individual components would cost. Walmart currently has this system listed as marked down from $1,399.00 to $699.00. This system is known to have cooling problems, however, so you should make sure to keep a careful eye on the temps or possibly opt to move the hardware to a different case.

Dell Vostro 15 5000 Intel Core i5-8265U 15.6-Inch 1080p IPS Laptop w/ 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD ($469.00)

Dell’s Vostro 15 5000 offers well-rounded performance for everyday tasks such as web browsing and word processing. Right now this system is also available with a significant discount from Dell, which drops its price from $1,127.14 to $469.00 with promo code BIZLT469.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.




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ET Deals: Xiaomi Electric Scooter $349, Sony PS4 Slim 1TB Limited Edition $249


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Computers are nice, but right now it’s summer. What would be more fun is something that lets you get out and enjoy the warm weather like an affordable electric scooter that can travel up to 18.6 miles on a single charge.

Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter ($349.00)

Xiaomi’s Mi electric scooter can drive at a top speed of 15.5 MPH and can travel up to 18.6 miles on a single charge, which makes it excellent for getting around town without relying on a car. This model was also designed to be lightweight and it folds up to make it easy to carry when not in use. Right now it is marked down from $499.00 to $349.00 from Walmart.

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Limited Edition ($249.99)

Sony’s limited edition PS4 comes with an updated exterior design and color steel black color scheme. This model also comes with a 1TB HDD, which is large enough to hold numerous games. Right now it’s marked down from $299.88 to $249.99 from Walmart.

Beats EP On-Ear Headphones ($64.95)

These headphones are reinforced with stainless steel, which makes them exceptionally durable. The headphones also have padded ear cuffs for increased comfort. Right now you can get a set of these headphones from Walmart marked down from $129.00 to $64.95.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i5-8265U 1080p 15.6-Inch Laptop w/ 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD ($599.99)

This well-rounded laptop features a quad-core Intel Core i5-8265U processor with Hyper-Threading technology and a 1080p display. The system should also boot and load files quickly thanks to its 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD. You can get this system from Dell marked down from $669.99 down to $599.99.

Kindle Unlimited 3-Month Subscription (FREE)

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service gives you access to over a million books as well as popular magazines and thousands of audiobooks. As part of a promotional offer, Amazon is currently offering three months of this service free of charge to Amazon Prime members. After three months, however, it returns to its regular monthly price of $9.99.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.




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