If you've been waiting to talk to your Alexa-enabled TV without having to pick up a remote, you might want to consider moving to Europe.
At the IFA trade show in Berlin on Thursday, Toshiba announced that in 2019, most of its smart TVs aimed for Europe — OLED and LCD — will offer the ability to listen for Alexa voice commands without needing to talk into the remote control.
The advantage is that you can perform simple tasks with voice commands alone. You can adjust "volume, channels and inputs, and also ask Alexa to play music, read the news, launch apps, offer movie recommendations and access thousands of Alexa skills built by third-party developers," according to Toshiba's press release. That's because the TVs will have built-in far-field microphones always listening for the "Alexa" command, just like an Echo speaker.
No current TV in the US offers far-field Alexa microphones built in. Current Fire TV models from Toshiba require you to either talk into the mic or add an Echo speaker yourself. Other TVs can also with far-field Fire TV device add-ons, like the Fire TV Cube or a combination of an Echo and a Fire TV Stick.
Many Toshiba TVs will also get the ability to enable Amazon Dash replenishment at setup. That means they'll automatically reorder batteries for the remote control when the TV detects the current batteries need replacing.
Toshiba also showed a range of other TVs at IFA. Many are concepts, but the ones going on sale are intended for Europe only.
- Concept "Bazooka" TV with a built-in subwoofer and tweeter and sound tuned by Onkyo
- Concept 65-inch 8K TV with HDR and and HDMI 2.1-capable input
- Concept "wall art" TV that's just 2.5mm thick
- 65-inch LCD TV with 4K HDR, full-array local dimming and wide color gamut
- A range of 4K TVs with Android TV smarts and "bezel-less" designs
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