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Old 01-05-2019, 04:40 AM   #1
4691mls
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Why did you get a connected home device?

For those who have Alexa, Google Home or whatever, I'm curious what made you want one (aside from the obvious reasons for people who have a physical limitation of some kind and are helped by these devices).

Did you already have smart appliances/stereo/TV/whatever so you wanted to take advantage of them? Did you just think it seemed like fun?

At this point I can't see what I would use it for. My TV may be new enough to use with one of these devices but I'm fine controlling it with the remote. I live in a rental apartment and the appliances are all old/dumb/basic. I never even use the Google Assistant on my smartphone. However, at one point I had no interest in an ereader either and obviously that changed....
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:56 AM   #2
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In the beginning I got an Amazon Echo 1st generation device when they were introduced a few years ago mostly for the music and the novelty of asking her questions and turning on lights. I had Siri on my iPhone, but rarely used it for much, and never used it with Apple Music because I didn't like Apple Music--still don't. The Amazon Echo allowed a variety of music services besides Amazon Music which was an alluring feature. Early Alexa devices did not have great sound, but latest models are pretty good. Currently I use my Alexa devices for listening to music and to control several lamps (LED smart bulbs) throughout my house. It is very convenient at night to simply say, "Alexa, bathroom on" and have her turn on the bedroom and bathroom lights so I can make my run in the light. When I get back in bed I say, "Alexa, bathroom off," and she turns those lights off. I also use an Echo Plus 2 to play night time sleep sounds to drown out any distracting noises and help me sleep better. I tried using voice control for my TVs via Amazon Fire TVs, but that never worked out very well so I prefer using a remote instead as it is quicker in my case.

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Old 01-05-2019, 01:13 PM   #3
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I was an early adopter (Echo 1st Gen) and immediately used it for music, audiobooks, and radio. I now use two 3rd Gen Dots hooked up as a stereo pair and am more than pleased with this upgrade. It's my go to stereo system.

I have no plans to ever use it to control smart devices. I currently use it to play music, audiobooks, local radio stations, old time radio, BBC Radio, time, weather, and timers.
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Old 01-05-2019, 01:33 PM   #4
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It's a gadget and I tend to be an early adopter if I can afford it. I was on the original invite list and have used it daily immediately for music, audiobooks and radio, just like Tubemonkey. Have also used daily for timers and alarms, and happy with how those have now expanded in functionality. Only recently did I have it set up to turn some difficult to light areas on and off. Works mostly. Based on how it works with lights, which is sometimes iffy, I won't be using it to control other smart devices. The intercom feature is limited at best, but it's great for conversations under 1 minute (the echoing and background noise is just too much beyond that). Oh, and I love the constant weather report. Even does hourly now! There are times when I need that info and it's easier to ask Alexa.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. My bedside lamp gets me to the bathroom at night and I am OK with using remote controls for my TV and Roku (though I think my Roku remote may have voice search capability - haven't tried it). I have radio music on in the background at work in the daytime but don't listen at home much. I've never been a gadget freak or early adopter of new technology - just got a smartphone in 2017. Guess I'll continue without a smart home for now.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:05 PM   #6
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I actually got an invite for the original Echo but I didn't jump in until last year (when they were pretty much giving the Minis/Dots away).

I use them to control LED smart bulbs (so convenient) as well as audio player, alarm/timer, intercom and weather report.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:48 PM   #7
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I bought the first gen Echo for the novelty of it. It's set up in the kitchen, we use it for weather reports, sometimes for a timer, although I usually use my Apple Watch and or my iPhone for timers. Sometimes I listen to music when working in the kitchen, but more often than not I've got Netflix playing on an old iPad that is mounted on the backsplash.

My husband will use it for music, and sometimes to start his car, but it's quicker for him to use the Buick app on his phone. I think he has some news briefings set up too.

For those times I'm listening to an audiobook, or music, I find it easier to use my iPhone, so I can carry it with me. I don't use audiobooks very often though.

We don't have any other smart devices. I love gadgets, I love my iDevices, but don't have a need for voice control over my stuff.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:29 PM   #8
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It's a gadget. I like gadgets!

Currently use it for radio (TuneIn) and music (Spotify) mostly in the kitchen, plus timers for cooking. Have a Spot in the bedroom for a bedside clock and alarm and use the various Alexas to control a number of wi-fi plugs and light bulbs.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4691mls View Post
Thanks for the replies. My bedside lamp gets me to the bathroom at night and I am OK with using remote controls for my TV and Roku (though I think my Roku remote may have voice search capability - haven't tried it). I have radio music on in the background at work in the daytime but don't listen at home much. I've never been a gadget freak or early adopter of new technology - just got a smartphone in 2017. Guess I'll continue without a smart home for now.
The voice search isn't all that useful, IMHO. I thought it would be great because my brother has dexterity issues. However, it does not search within the app you are using (i.e. Netflix). Instead, it goes to the main screen and searches out all the pay places for your movie.

FWIW, I also don't have a Smart phone. I have Itouches, but the cost of a Smartphone vs. my need for it are small. I just have a flip phone which is necessary now that most of the pay phones are gone.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
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FWIW, I also don't have a Smart phone. I have Itouches, but the cost of a Smartphone vs. my need for it are small. I just have a flip phone which is necessary now that most of the pay phones are gone.
I have several Android smartphones ($10~$20 no-contract/pre-paid), but never activate them. I use them just like a tablet or an iPod touch. Very cheap and reliable media players for music, radio and audiobooks.

BTW, I still use an old school flip phone for calls and texts.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:34 PM   #11
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The voice search isn't all that useful, IMHO. I thought it would be great because my brother has dexterity issues. However, it does not search within the app you are using (i.e. Netflix). Instead, it goes to the main screen and searches out all the pay places for your movie.

FWIW, I also don't have a Smart phone. I have Itouches, but the cost of a Smartphone vs. my need for it are small. I just have a flip phone which is necessary now that most of the pay phones are gone.
Well now I'm really not inspired to try the Roku voice search!
FYI - if someone in your household has a smartphone or tablet, you can use the Roku mobile app for searching - it's easier to type in a word on the app than to slowly enter it one letter at a time with the remote. I don't know if that's any better for a person with dexterity issues though.

The main reason I got a smartphone was to be able to check email anytime, anywhere. It also comes in handy if I need to check the weather or get directions.

The other thing I often use it for is if I'm at home and feeling lazy, now I don't have to get up off the couch and go into the other room where the computer is to look up something online

Also I will use it if I am away from home with access to wifi and want to get an Overdrive library book. My Sony ereader has very slow/clunky internet/library access, so I will use the faster phone to browse and check out. Then on the Sony I can just go directly to my Loans (I have this saved as home page) and download the book.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:12 AM   #12
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I've just ordered a Google Home. I wanted one before it was available in the Netherlands, but when it was released last year I didn't get one because the only reason was because I think it's a fun gadget.

However, I've been wanting to get a bigger Bluetooth speaker to stream music to. It's possible to do so with my Sonos speaker (which I love), but it's a bit cumbersome. When looking at speakers I decided to check if the Google Home was able to stream music from an iPod and it can. The speakers I had planned on getting was €119 and the Google Home is €149. For and extra €30 and get a lot more functionality.

I'll probably keep using my Sonos for listening to the radio. If I end up not using it anymore I'll move it to my studio room or maybe the bathroom or the store.

I do, eventually, want to connect some lights to it. But I'll have to research which system. It'll probably be the Click On Click Off products, since we sell those in our store so I can get them at a discount. I do like the Philips Hue series, but according to Philips we aren't specialized enough, though we are specialized enough to repair those products according to their helpdesk (in reality I think the big/huge store have made a deal with Philips that they can sell certain products but independent stores can't, we've had it happen with several Philips products).
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilbo1967 View Post
It's a gadget. I like gadgets!
Mostly this, but...

I use my Echo for lights, attic fan (the only switch is upstairs) and music. I use it in combination with a Harmony Hub to control my entertainment system (power on/off tv, stereo, change inputs for specific named activities, etc...).

I like being able to set a sleep timer that will turn everything off, and one that I can schedule further in the future than what my TV allows. I love being able to pause and resume Netflix/Hulu/Prime videos with my voice--especially when I sit down with a double handful of sammich (I'm sure my remotes appreciate not being contaminated with cheetoh-dust, as well)!

When I forget to set a sleep-timer, it's more convenient to whisper "Alexa, TV off" when the glow wakes me up than it is to fumble around for the remote.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-18-2019 at 10:19 AM.
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