Toshiba TVs with Alexa built-in let you drop the remote

Far-field mics finally come to a TV. Unfortunately, they're only available in Europe.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier
2 min read

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 .


The "Bazooka" TV.


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.

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