Newsletter (21st Nov 22): Amazon Broke Music… But At Least Smart Home Deals Have Landed!

(This newsletter was originally sent to subscribers on 21st November 2022)

Amazon just destroyed music… but at least Black Friday is almost here!

Today’s newsletter looks at the latest smart home news, our recent videos & blog posts, and more.

At the start of the month, Amazon announced that they had “upgraded” Prime Music – giving access to over 100 million songs (instead of just 2 million). But there was a big catch: “in shuffle mode” only. I discuss exactly what this means in a YouTube video.

At Least Black Friday Is (Basically) Here!

Most companies have already rolled out their Black Friday sales. My inbox has been filling up with offers from Ring, Amazon, Eufy, Philips Hue, Google Nest & more.

My Recommended Products page covers the best products that I personally recommend.

Amazon Sales

Amazon sells smart devices from most companies, but they also have great deals on their own Echo devices. Check deals on Amazon.com (or Amazon UK).

Ring Store

Ring have some nice offers on their cameras, doorbells & alarm system. The Floodlight Cam is cheaper than I’ve seen in a long time. Ring’s store is available here.

Hue Smart Lighting

It’s no secret that I prefer Philips Hue for smart lighting. They have some decent offers on their own store, although their newer products are still full price.

Blog: Best Wired Video Doorbell Without A Subscription

Me looking confused in front of a load of smart doorbells
Me looking confused in front of a load of smart doorbells

I prefer hardwired doorbells due to their increased performance (compared to battery versions), but I dislike how Ring basically force you to buy their subscription. So I have compared 13 hardwired doorbells to see which work best without a monthly fee.

News: Is Amazon Is ‘Killing’ Alexa?!

As someone who owns 10 Amazon Echo devices, I was a bit concerned about news reports saying that Amazon was “killing” Alexa. Is there any truth in this? Well no… sort of.

Amazon ARE actually sacking loads of the staff that work on the Alexa platform, since the Alexa division is losing a lot of money. This is concerning news, but Alexa and Amazon Echo are (currently) here to stay.

News: HomeKit Improves With New HOOBS Hub

I’m not a massive HomeKit user myself, but Apple users might be happy to know that HOOBS have unveiled a new Pro Hub which supports Matter and Thread. This will greatly help tie together future smart home devices for the Apple smart home ecosystem.

Blog: How To Fix When You Can’t Add New Hue Lights

Where the serial number is shown on the Hue Lightstrip controller
Where the serial number is shown on the Hue Lightstrip controller

I recently had a bit of a nightmare adding a couple of newer Philips Hue products (a bulb, and their indoor Lightstrip Plus) to my Hue app. It kept complaining that it couldn’t find the light. So I penned this article which discusses exactly what to check, in order to fix this annoying problem.

Wrapping Up

That wraps up today’s newsletter. I’ll be sending another in 2-3 weeks. I hope that you find some great Black Friday deals! As always, if you have any questions on anything, please feel free to hit reply and say ‘hi’.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that I was considering buying the new Philips Hue PC Monitor Gradient Strip. I ended up buying it before the sales, because it’s such a new product that I doubted it would be discounted (… and I was right! It’s still full price).

I’m really glad I bought it. It’s AWESOME! Late night Rocket League sessions are even more fun with this product. It has three distinct lighting zones (to match what’s on the screen), and then blends the light between these zones.

Testing out my newly installed Philips Hue PC Gradient Lightstrip with three zones and blended lighting inbetween
Testing out my newly installed Philips Hue PC Gradient Lightstrip with three zones and blended lighting in-between

(I don’t get any commission for discussing this product, by the way – I just wanted to follow up on my last email.)

I’m not a massive fan of ‘flashy’ RGB smart lights, but the gradient strips are a great innovation in my opinion.

Thanks for reading!

– Tristan

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

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