Things to do and things to know about the Amazon Echo Show

Things to do and things to know about the Amazon Echo Show

There are going to be so many little things about the Echo Show that I’ve decided to just put this together as a place to post them, in sort of random order. I’ll do more narrative style pieces in other places. Feel free to suggest ones to be added or to ask questions by commenting on this page.

Update: I’ve decided I’ll need some organization. I’ll put Featured items at the top (ones that I think are particularly useful, often with multiple elements to them). Then, I’ll do it by date added, with the most recent at the top so people can tell what’s new.

  • Featured: 
  • Product page: Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
  • My Echo Show: first impressions
  • Amazon Echo Show help pages (at AmazonSmile*)
  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to get to Settings and more similar to what you would do on on a Fire tablet. Those settings include: Bluetooth (connect to devices); Wi-Fi; Home Screen (Background: default display background; Alexa App Photo; Prime Photos ((Chose an album from your Prime Photos account))); Home Card Preferences ((Rotate Once; Rotate Continuously: Displayed Home Cards ((Notifications; Upcoming Events; Drop In; Trending Topics)); Display (Theme; Photo Slideshow; Ambient Clock ((on or off)); Brightness; Adaptive Brightness); Sounds (Media Volume; Alarm, Timer and Notification Volume; Custom Sounds (Alarm; Notification; Start of Request; End of Request); Do Not Disturb (turns off screen and disables notifications, except timers and alarms); Scheduled; Starts; Ends); Device Options (Device Name; Device Location; Wake Word ((Amazon, Computer, Alexa, or Echo)); Date & Time; Temperature; Distance; Pair Amazon Echo Remote; Check for Software Updates; Reset to Factory Defaults; Serial Number); Restrict Access (block searches for Prime Photos, Movie Trailers, and/or YouTube (for YouTube, you can also turn off restricted mode); Things to Try; Help (VoiceView Screen REader; Screen Magnifier; Color Inversion; Color Collection; Closed Captioning; Messaging Without Speech); Accessibility; Legal & Compliance
  • The settings in the Amazon App for the Echo Show include: Do Not Disturb; Schedule (you can schedule when it is on Do Not Disturb); Drop in (on or off); Sounds (you can set the volume for Alarm/Timer/Notification, choose from a bunch of alarm sounds including celebrity sounds…Missy Elliott, Alec Baldwin, Jason Schwartzman, Dan Marino, Grand Tour, and 24:Legacy | set a New Message alarm sound, which is only default or off| turn on sounds for start of request and end of request), Device Name (you don’t need to change it for the intercom to work, but it could be easier if you do), Device Location (for weather), Device Time Zone (interestingly, there are a lot outside of the USA…portent of things to come?), Wake Word (Alexa, Amazon, Echo, or Computer), Home Screen Background (it’s easy to choose your own photo to replace the generic leaves and such), Temperature Units (I normally use Celsius, but I’m leaving this one on Fahrenheit for my Significant Other), Distance Units, Reset to Factory Defaults, and this is where you see your software version/serial number/MAC Address
  • Added June 30
  • Only one device can drop-in on an Echo show at a time, which is something I hope can be changed in the future. I tested it by doing a drop-in from a Samsung. While I was connected, I tried doing a drop-in from an iPhone, and I didn’t have the choice: it told me that it was on a call. That means that it can’t be used like a webcam with multiple parties viewing it on different devices at the same time. I understand that it would be difficult to show the videos and do the audio of multiple callers, but it would be nice if family members in different places could view, say, a party at once, or if a lecture could be given
  • Added June 29: 
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to zoom the video native to the Echo Show
  • Being able to see our dogs, who were at home, when I was at work was so worth it!
  • The videocall worked both on wi-fi and 3G (on a Samsung Galaxy S7)
  • It needs to be plugged in to work
  • The sound is good!
  • The screen is good! No sense of seeing the pixels…I can read it clearly across the room (at least the headline fonts)
  • It will show you YouTube and Amazon Prime videos
  • You manage it in the Alexa app on your phone
  • You can do a videocall from the Alexa app on your phone to the Show
  • The screen and camera angles can not be adjusted (except by actually pointing the device a different way). It seems to be it is intended to be viewed from above, which makes sense…it could be on a counter and you could be standing next to it (which would make your head higher). However, when using it as a monitor, that means it may be pointed too high. When going to work and wanting to use it to check in on the dogs, I stuck something under the back of it to tilt it lower
  • It has a touchscreen
  • There are three physical buttons on the top: mic/camera on and off, and up and down volumes
  • If you have the mic off on the device, a voice remote can still send commands
  • You can say, “Alexa, turn the screen off”. If you talk to it again, it comes back on
  • It seems to have some awareness of whether or not there are people in the room using it…probably motion detection. That means that, in a sense, just like the mic can be listening to you all the time, the Show is “watching you” all the time
  • I tested doing a videocall from my phone (using the Alexa app) to the Amazon Echo Show, but I was in the same room and got massive feedback! If you want to test it, go to another room first 🙂
  • When you are doing a videocall, you can turn off your microphone and video…tap your phone’s screen when you are using that. That’s also where you’ll see a way to end the call
  • “Show me cat videos on YouTube” will give you a set of choices…”Play cat videos on YouTube” will automatically start one (“top result”) going
  • You can say, “Alexa, go home” to get back to the home screen
  • Our dogs are much more interested in the Echo Show than in the TV: could be because it is new, but it might also be that the sound is different
  • I’m finding that having the Show in the same room as other Echo devices is confusing (more me than them, perhaps). I’ve muted the microphone on our original Echo for now
  • What’s the difference between “drop-in” and a call? In a “drop-in”, the recipient doesn’t have to do anything…after a bit of intentionally blurry screen to give time to tell it to stop, the video just starts. I don’t know how often people will use that with adults who can respond well, but for dogs/cats/other pets and babies, drop-in is the right thing, since they can’t tell the system to accept the incoming call. Totally up to you who has the ability to drop-in
  • Some “performance artist” types might allow drop-in…I can see that as a money-making opportunity. People pay for you to have them as contacts and allow them to drop-in whenever they want. Anybody who has a 24-hour webcam (like a zoo, and…well, you know some of the other possibilities) could use an Echo Show for drop-in instead. Hm…maybe they should put one in the Big Brother house this summer! It does mean that you have to have someone as a contact first, and you have to allow them, so it’s not as open as a webcam
  • Lots more to follow!

 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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