Toshiba has announced it’s diving into the connected home with its new range of Alexa-enabled TVs.
At this year’s IFA in Berlin, Toshiba revealed that it’s collaborated with Amazon for the new 4K Smart TV range which will make it possible to control your TV by speaking to an Echo or Echo Dot device.
With the inclusion of the Alexa Smart Home API, these TVs will make it possible to perform simple actions such as turning your TV on and off, changing channels and inputs, adjusting volume and rewinding and fast-forwarding what you’re watching without the need for a remote control.
Remote control without the remote
To get your Toshiba Smart TV and Echo device in sync you simply have to connect to Alexa via the Alexa app once and keep both devices connected to your home WiFi.
According to Toshiba, Alexa-integration will make watching TV “a more inclusive and social affair” as it’ll now be possible for everyone in the home to contribute to the TV schedule as long as they’re within earshot of Alexa. In some senses this is great, but we imagine democratisation of TV control will bring chaos to some homes more than others.
We also find our existing Amazon Echo is frequently activated when it thinks it overhears our television as it is, so in theory there could be a risk of the television controlling itself.
The Alexa-enabled TV models will offer Ultra HD 4K resolution but also come with a built-in upscaler feature which will mean that even if you’re watching non-4K content, its quality should be enhanced.
It should, however, be fairly easy to find 4K content as the TVs’ Smart Portal makes it possible to access the Netflix and YouTube apps which both have ever-growing libraries of 4K videos.
As the TVs simply use Alexa's API there's nothing stopping Toshiba from building apps for other smart assistants in the future and when we spoke to a Toshiba rep at the show that seems to be the intention. According to the representative, Toshiba is looking to be completely 'agnostic' as a platform and there will be more virtual assistant support to come.
The range of TVs is expected to release in Q4 2017 with screen sizes ranging from 43 to 75 inches. Prices will start at 399 euros for the 43 inch model. No other pricing has been confirmed as yet but we'll update as soon as it's available.
- IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.