Preorder New Amazon Fire Stick – Alexa now!

new-amazon-fire-tv-stickAmazon just made available their latest Amazon Fire TV Stick! The new Amazon Fire TV stick is priced at $39.99 which is the same as their first generation but $10 less than the Amazon Fire TV Stick with the voice control.

 

They are offering a promotion right now where you will get $65 worth of subscription for sling, hulu, and Amazon. The promotion includes the following although it is not exactly clear how the credit is broken down. Sling should be $10 / month. Hulu has various models based on content and comemrcials.

  • 1 month sling
  • 2 months of Hulu
  • $10 of credit for Amazon

All will require credit card when you sign up and you will need to be a new customer. You can simply use another e-mail from the one you are using.

Amazon Releases Widely Popular 2nd Gen Echo Dot

2nd-gen-echo-dot-whiteAmazon releases it’s widely popular Echo Dot and added a new color – white. In a surprise move, Amazon made available for pre-ordering the 2nd Gen. Echo Dot. The Amazon Echo Dot was launched along with the Tap and was a huge hit. It quickly sold out and was never restocked. Now we know why. We first found out about the 2nd Gen Echo Dot on a pre-maturely tweet sent by @amazonecho official twitter page yesterday which stole the thunder a bit. In the tweet, it was revealed the updated price of $49.99 which is $30 below the first generation. The tweet was promptly deleted. We don’t know if this prompted Amazon to move up the launch but it is now available for pre-order.

The Echo Dot allows for you to make your Bluetooth speakers ‘smart’. It can also enable you to access Alexa for your Amazon services such as e-reader, Prime library, music library, and streaming services. It can also enable you to access information through Wikipedia and other skills you can add. Without a speaker, you can still add to your to-do list and calendars and set alarms.

Buy one now here:

Trigger Alexa with Fire TV remote

fire tv remote alexaIn May, Amazon enable Alexa on its Fire TV remote. This allowed Fire TV owners to use Alexa as you had an Amazon Echo. If you already have an Echo, then this would not be foreign to you.

Movies / TV
With Alexa, you can trigger it to control a movie. You can ask Alexa to play a movie, TV show. It will also search from your active add-on subscriptions as well as third party apps. You can also use it to trigger a certain app.

Examples:
Play the movie [title]
Start playing the TV show [title]
Launch the app [title]
Open the [title] app

Music
You can also trigger music you have on your Prime Music library to simply listen to one of the Prime stations. You can rate a song by saying you like it or do not like the song. This will help Alexa rate the type of song it chooses for you. You can completely skip songs or rewind but cannot fast forward or rewind or change volume. Bummer. This is possible with Echo.

Audible and eBooks
Through Alexa, you can use your Fire TV to read eligible Kindle books in your library. You can even see the title and book cover on your TV. Neat!

News Flash Briefing
One great feature I love with Alexa is that you can ask her to read you the news flash. Go into the Alexa app and select your news source. You can select national, international, local news, sports, and weather source / location. All you say is “Alexa, What’s my news flash?” or “Alexa, Whats my flash briefing?” and it will read a 5-10 min briefing of the latest news from what you selected. I use it when I sit down and enjoy my breakfast. You can also set up your commute location and it’ll give you the congestion condition!

Shopping
No surprise to anyone, you can use Alexa to buy things on Amazon. It is a bit clumsy as you need to know the exact item you are interested in buying in order to buy through Alexa. If you ask Alexa to buy something, it will select the top result for that category and display the item. It is a bit easier to re-order something if it is something you have purchased in the past such as detergent, razor blades, diapers for example.

Weather / Traffic
Asking Alexa for the weather is also another one of my favorites. My kids use this almost every day to determine if they can wear shorts for the day! I don’t use the traffic much as I don’t commute to an office 🙂

Q&A / Jokes
This is kind of an easter egg hunt. You can ask “Alexa, how are you doing today?” or “Alexa, good morning” and she will read back a quote or a comment.

Wikipedia
Alexa also has access to a database of facts. You can ask how far you are to say New York city, ask for conversion such as cooking, time zone, and more. You can ask celebrities or athlete’s age!

Lists (To do / Shopping)
Alexa can aggregate shopping list and to do list. You can use it as a personal assistant to remind you to do something and check it on your Fire TV or on your app later. You can also have Alexa read out your shopping or to do list using your remote.

There are much much more features which you can do with sports scores, movie info, local search, and some features which are voice only where nothing will display on your Fire TV. For all features, check out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201859020

 

PBS Kids and Amazon Prime TV!

20160630_211552_911217_pressimageCan you watch shows like Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood?
Do you like Wild Kratts?
How about Odd Squad, Dinosaur Train, Nature Cat, and Ready Jet Go!

Well you are in luck. Amazon signed a deal with PBS Kids to be the exclusive premium subscription service on their Prime video service. This is an agreement that will span multiple years. For people with Amazon Prime membership, you will be able to watch PBS Kids on the PC through www.amazon.com/primevideos through a web browser or use the Amazon Video App. I just gave this a try and a quick search yielded 53 TV show results! Some are individual videos and some are entire season series so the actual videos are much much more.

2016-07-02 17.41.13And of course, you can watch PBS Kids through Amazon videos through Fire TV stick, Fire TV, or Fire tablets.

 

 

 

Erosnow available on Fire TV

erosnowErosnow, the Bollywood movie entertainment production group has signed a deal to offer its on demand service to Fire TV. Eros International is a publicly traded company on the NYSE and has been a big player in distribution and licensing of the latest Hindi, Tamil, and other Indian language movies and TV shows across Fire TV users. The huge library of films will be accessible to users across US, UK, and Western Europe.

To access the movies, navigate to the Amazon App store and install the ErosNow app. From there, you will be able to search and watch movies similar to Netflix.
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I browsed a bit and you can watch popular movies such as Bajirao Masani, Piku, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon, Calendar Girls, Kuch Kuch Locha Hai. You can see the rest of the most popular Hindi movies here.

Buy the Amazon Fire TV $15 off

Amazon is running a promotion for it’s widely popular Fire TV at a $15 discount bringing the cost down to $84.99. Amazon boasted in a press release that it’s Fire device was #1 and Fire TV Stick was #3  best seller over the holiday. It made a statement in terms of how popular its device is and how it was a great gift. It is simple to use and has many features which maximizes your prime membership if you have one. If you don’t have the fire TV or Fire TV stick and was not able to obtain one as a gift, this discount will be a great time to purchase the Fire TV.

amazon fire tv 15 off

Amazon Introduces Add On Subscription to Prime and Prices

amazon prime subscriptionAmazon announced this week the ability for Prime users to add on subscriptions to some of the most coveted TV series and movies through their streaming partners program. For most people, Prime provided sufficient content but left others to want more. With add-on paid subscription, a Prime user can add popular premium content such as stars, Showtime, Comedy Central, Drama Fever and others. There are many movie subscriptions, workout, as well as documentaries, and something for children. Here is a sample of Amazon’s add-on subscription price list as well as their promo free trial length.

Showtime – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Starz – $8.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Comedy Central Stand up plus – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Acorn TV – $4.99 / month (30 day free trial)
Lifetime Movie Club – $3.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Gaia – $9.99/month (7 day free trial)
Quello Concerts – $7.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dramafever Instant (Asian J and K Dramas) – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
Hooplakidz – $5.99/month (7 day free trial)
Smithsonian Earth – $3.99/month (7 day free trial)
The Ring TV (boxing) – $2.99 / month (7 day free trial)
Dove Channel (Rated G content such as Veggietales) – $4.99/month (7 day free trial)

Check out the full list here.

Amazon blocks sale of Chromecast and Apple TV

Amazon has a love – hate relationship with Google and Apple. On one hand, Amazon has made a lot of money selling Android devices such as smartphones, tablets, accessories, and other related devices. It’s very own Fire tablet OS is based off of Android! Similarly, it has sold a lot of Apple products as well as resale of the said products from iMacs all the way down to iPod touches and all of its accessories.

The big disagreement comes from the fact that both Chromecast and Apple TV lacks support for Amazon’s Prime content. This has been called out by many users in the past as support for Prime on Chromecast and Apple TV would be a very nice icing on the cake. It would absolutely expand the media library especially for Prime subscribers.

However, this would also put Amazon at risk as it may mean the death to its very own Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV stick. With this in mind, Amazon is likely to have made a conscious decision to block the sale at one of the world’s largest e-retailer. Amazon officially responded that the reason for pulling Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nexus TV is to “prevent confusion”. Right…ridiculing your customer base doesn’t bode well with said consumer *sneer*.

 

How to watch Amazon Prime videos offline

Amazon announced a series of new products but hidden among the new products is a new feature that will really get a lot of people onboard to not only Fire TV but for Amazon Prime. The new feature? Offline viewing of Amazon Prime videos. Previously, the only way to watch Amazon Prime videos was to stream them. To watch any Amazon Prime or any videos through offline you had to buy or rent it. Only then will you be able to download the video and watch without an Internet connection. After this announcement, you will now be able to download Amazon Prime videos for offline viewing. (edit) This feature was previously only available to Amazon Fire devices. Now, this has been enabled for Android and iOS devices. Note that not all Prime videos are available offline. Amazon is working closely with content owners to obtain rights so that you can view these offline.

Before you can download the video you want to watch offline, you need to download the Amazon Video app. If you have a Kindle Fire, you can download this app through the Amazon App store. This app is not found on the Google Play or Apple App store.

Follow the below instructions for Android / iOS Apple iPad or iPhone devices:

Install Amazon Video App for Offline Video Viewing:

for Android

If you do not have the Amazon App store, you will first need to install it. First, navigate to this website:

www.amazon.com/gp/video/splash/sd/t/appstore

Next, follow the instructions and download the Amazon Appstore.

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Open the file that downloaded called ‘AmazonApps.apk’. It is an executable file to install an app. You will get the below screen asking you to install the app. If you have problems clicking the install button, you will need to disable any screen filter apps such as a blue light filter in order for it to work.

If you still get an error, go to phone settings -> security -> enable ‘unknown sources’ which will allow you to install apps from unknown sources.

 

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After a bit, you will get to the below screen asking you to sign into your Amazon account. If you already have an Amazon account from Amazon Shopping, the same login will be used. Click the ‘sigh out and use a different account’ link if you want to use another account.

 

 

 

 

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Once inside the Amazon Appstore, search for the Amazon Video app. It is a free app with the below icon.

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Click install and go through the same process as above when you installed the Amazon App.

 

 

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Once installed, open the Amazon Video App. From here, you can navigate through Prime videos. If you see a download icon next to the video, it means you can download it for offline viewing.

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Make sure you are on WiFi connection when you download it. I did a test by downloading the Pilot for an Amazon Prime exclusive series, “Transparent”. After I downloaded the Pilot, I turned on Airplane mode and the play icon was displayed.

 

 

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I hit play and I get a pop up saying that I have a 76 day offline viewing period. Seems overly generous unless you are going off on a long boat ride across the Pacific!

Once you are done, you can simply delete the video from your account.

How to watch Prime videos offline through iOS devices (iPad and iPhone)

To watch Amazon Prime videos offline, you simply install the Amazon Video app from the Apple App store. Once you install it, you can follow the same instructions as we have for Android.

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Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku leads streaming devices with 86% of market sales

Recent research found that Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku leads the streaming device market at 86% in 2014. This research was led by Park Associates who are well known for their research in market intelligence for over 25 years. They also predict that by 2019, up to 86 million such devices will be sold. Roku led all devices at 34% and Google’s Chromecast followed at 23%. Amazon’s Fire TV is a newcomer, but it has overtaken Apple at #3.


Source: Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku dominate streaming media device market with 86% of sales