Amazon unveils a revamped Fire TV Cube streaming box, plus its first soundbar: the Nebula Fire TV Edition

Perhaps the second time will be the charm for Amazon’s Fire TV Cube. We weren’t impressed with the media streamer when we reviewed it in June, 2018. But Amazon took the stage at the IFA consumer-electronics show in Berlin today to demo an all-new version that promises to deliver twice the processor power. That could go a long way to alleviate our complaints about the original. The company also showcased the Nebula Fire TV Edition soundbar, which will be manufactured by the Chinese conglomerate Anker.Available for preorder now and shipping on October 10, the revamped Fire TV CubeRemove non-product link boasts a new hexa-core processor and Local Voice Control, a new feature that’s supposed to process such standard navigational commands as “Alexa, scroll right” and “Alexa, go home” up to four times faster than the original Cube, which sent such commands to the cloud, first.To read this article in full, please click here …

Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation review: Naim didn’t need to make this wireless speaker better, but I’m glad it did

The Naim Mu-so was one of the very best all-in-one audio systems I’ve reviewed, and this updated version is better in every way. The Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation gains HDMI with ARC, so you can pair it with your TV; and it supports Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, and Bluetooth, so you can stream music from just about any source. It has a bigger amp, more processing power, and better drivers than the original. It’s only a little more expensive—$1,599—and it sounds positively divine.The 2019 version of the Naim Mu-so doesn’t look appreciably different than the original, but Naim says 95 percent of the system has been re-engineered, including a redesign of the speaker’s interior and its bracing and baffle molding that to squeeze out 13-percent more interior space while rendering the entire enclosure more rigid to suppress vibration and unwanted resonance. The new model still sits on an acrylic base with a dimmable LED lighting up its brand, and that massive aluminum heatsink on the back of the unit remains to deliver passive cooling. The oversized control wheel has been carried over, with a new proximity sensor that lights up its touch-sensitive controls the instant you place your hand near it.To read this article in full, please click here …

JBL Link Bar review: A soundbar, Google Assistant, and Android TV rolled into one big compromise

One of the best—and worst—things about the Android TV platform is that it allows for weird, ambitious products like the JBL Link Bar.While it looks like a typical soundbar, the $400 JBL Link Bar doubles as an Android TV player for streaming video from apps like Netflix. It also responds to “Hey Google” voice commands, and it has three HDMI passthrough inputs, so you can see Google Assistant’s responses on the big screen without switching away from your cable box or Blu-ray player.This is the kind of wild idea that you won’t see from Roku, because Roku licenses its software only to smart TV and cable-box manufacturers. You will encounter a few soundbars with Amazon Alexa integrated, but not Amazon’s Fire TV media streamer, although at least one of them—Polk Audio’s Command Bar—has a USB port that you can plug an Amazon Fire TV stick into.To read this article in full, please click here …

10 wishes for the new Nvidia Shield TV

The Nvidia Shield TV occupies a special place among streaming TV players. It’s by far the best Android TV box you can buy today, and it’s one of the only streaming devices that doesn’t sacrifice speed to hit a low price. (The other is the Apple TV 4K.)Still, the current Nvidia Shield TV is more than two years old, and it has the same processor and performance as the original 2015 version. An upgrade is overdue, which may explain why new Shield TV hardware—including both a refreshed streaming box and a possible Shield dongle—recently appeared in FCC filings.To read this article in full, please click here …


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