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By Jefferson Mangubat
Roku announces the Streambar with support for Dolby Audio and 4K streaming
by Jefferson Mangubat
Roku has introduced a new soundbar that lets you stream 4K HDR content along with other capabilities. The Streambar features a couple of control options such as through the included remote or with native voice assistant support for Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.
The soundbar combines four 1.9-inch full-range speaker drivers that produce rich Dolby Audio for compatible TV models, including those of Roku. It connects to your TV via HDMI and it also includes a Bluetooth receiver. You can also stream music directly from your smartphone, courtesy of the soundbar's Spotify Connect feature.
Streambar also ships with a voice remote for controlling your TV power, sound, and streaming. Later this year, the soundbar will roll out support for Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit on select 4K Roku devices. AirPlay 2 will let you stream and share your favorite content from your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook to any supported Roku device. In addition, you can control your Roku device through HomeKit using the Home app and Siri on Apple's devices.
Roku will release the Streambar in the UK by the end of October for £129 via online stores and physical retail shops. It will also be available to purchase in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but pricing for the other regions was not mentioned.
Apple TV is now available on LG's 2018 TV models, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit coming later
by João Carrasqueira
Last year, LG rolled out its annual set of premium TVs, and those new models got updated later in the year to add support for Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit features. These allow iPhone users - or users of Apple devices in general - to integrate the TVs into the Apple ecosystem, making it possible to project content from an iPhone to the TV, for example.
Earlier this year, the company had promised to bring those features to the 2018 TVs, but last week, the company seemingly backtracked on that promise and said it didn't plan to update TVs released before 2019. It turns out the company is now going back again, as the company's UK Twitter account today confirmed that an update later this year will add support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit (via The Verge).
LG didn't provide a ton of details on the rollout of these features, but it said it will share more as the release date nears. In the same tweet, the company also said that the 2018 OLED and Super UHD TV models now support Apple TV worldwide, so even without AirPlay, you should be able to watch the content on Apple TV on these models. Apple TV was also made available to 2019 TV models earlier this year.
Since LG didn't clarify, it's not clear which models exactly will be getting the update. Considering premium TVs can cost thousands of dollars, it's good to see the company is willing to respond to customer feedback and support TV models for at least two years.
By Jay Bonggolto
Amazon's eero routers add support for Apple's HomeKit smart home system
by Jay Bonggolto
Eero, an Amazon-owned home wifi system company, announced today that its routers have been updated with support for Apple’s HomeKit smart home system. The update integrates eero routers with Apple’s Home app in order to allow you to have more control over your internet-connected HomeKit accessories.
To make use of the new feature, simply download the eero app for iOS from the App Store and open the Discover tab. Then follow the guide for setting up your eero devices with the Home app. The advantage of this integration is flexibility in terms of adjusting the security settings for each HomeKit accessory. This can be used to prevent these accessories from communicating with other devices connected to your home network as well as block unauthorized online services.
There are three security levels that you can pick to limit internet connectivity for every smart home device:
Keep in mind that HomeKit will complement eero’s existing security features, which will continue to work even if you use Apple's smart home system. HomeKit is supported on all eero, eero Pro, and eero Beacon devices that run eeroOS 3.18.0 or later.
LG begins rolling out Amazon Alexa support for its 2019 ThinQ AI TVs
by Paul Hill
LG has said that it’ll begin rolling out support for Amazon Alexa in 14 countries on its 2019 ThinQ AI TVs. It said that TVs in North America will get the update this month, followed by TVs in Europe and Asia which will be updated in the succeeding weeks. The update will be implemented through the Alexa app and arrive on LG's UHD TVs, NanoCell TVs, and OLED TVs from the 2019 ThinQ AI line-up.
The supported countries at the time of the announcement are Austria, Australia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Discussing the software update, Brian Kwon, president of Mobile Communications and Home Entertainment companies at LG, said:
The company also took the time to announce that its 2019 OLED TVs and select NanoCell TVs will receive AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support in an update scheduled for the middle of the year. AirPlay 2 will give ThinQ AI TV owners the ability to watch videos on the Apple TV app and content from other connected Apple devices. With the addition of HomeKit, users will be able to control their TV via Siri or the Home app.
LG begins rollout of 2019 premium TV lineup with OLED and NanoCell
by Paul Hill
LG has announced that it’ll begin the roll out of its 2019 premium TV lineup this week. Customers in the U.S. and South Korea will be able to buy the devices first and then key markets in Asia, Europe, and South America will follow. Pricing and availability of each individual model will be announced separately in each region.
Discussing this year’s new product range, Brian Kwon, president of Mobile Communications and Home Entertainment companies, said:
OLED TVs will be getting more important for LG this year as it expects them to make up 20 percent of the firm’s high-end TV portfolio with demand reaching 3.6 million units this year. The demand is only set to grow in the next two years, reaching 10 million in 2021.
This year, the firm will offer several OLED TVs with different screen sizes as well as the world’s first 8K OLED TV. It will also offer several NanoCell LCD TVs which are expected to deliver “stellar picture quality” with wider viewing angles in a sleek package with ultra-thin bezels. Select, but unspecified, OLED and NanoCell LCDs will also support HDMI 2.1 which permits viewing 4K content at 120 fps. If you're looking for HDMI 2.1 support you'll have to check the specs of the individual products when they're available.
All of the OLED and NanoCell offerings will include the second generation α9 processor equipped with deep learning technology to deliver improved picture and sound. Additionally, they’ll get an update mid-year to support Apple AirPlay 2 and Apple HomeKit. Another firmware update will bring Amazon Alexa support, adding to the Google Assistant support that they ship with.
The NanoCell range this year consists of the 75SM99, 65/55SM95, 86/75/65/55SM90, 75/65/55/49SM85, and 65/55/49SM80 models. The OLED lineup includes the 77/65W9, 65/55E9, 77/65/55C9, and 65/55B9 models.