Newsletter (24th Jan 2023): “Hey Disney!”, BIG Hue Price Rises Incoming & More Smart Home Updates

(This newsletter was originally sent to subscribers on 24th January 2023)

Hi I’m Tristan! I hope that you’re all settling back into your new year routines, and welcome to today’s Smart Home Point newsletter.

CES 2023 saw a bunch of smart home updates, which we sum up here, along with other news about Apple’s new HomePod Speakers and Philips Hue’s upcoming EU/UK price hikes.

News: “Hey Disney”

The Disney logo on a shop window
The Disney logo on a shop window

Amazon and Disney have teamed up to bring Disney fans a more Disney-oriented experience on Amazon Echo devices. This will be released “in the coming months” and it is (unfortunately) a paid add-on, but it will introduce a new wake-word of “Hey Disney!”, along with more than 20 characters from Pixar, Star Wars and Disney.

There will be new Disney jokes and trivia introduced to the Amazon Echo devices, and this new feature will also be available in certain Disney resorts in America.

The price for this new add-on has not yet been announced.

News: EU and UK Customers Beware: Hue Price Rises Are Incoming

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

Signify, the company behind the Philips Hue brand, have announced that their prices will rise across the board in Europe and the UK.

While the average price increase will ‘only’ be 10%, some products will see a much bigger hike – including the Enrave Ceiling Lamp which will go up from €260 to €300: almost a 16% hike.

It’s rumored that the Hue Outdoor Lightstrip will have a big price rise too, but the exact details of this are unknown.

Signify said that these price rises are due to currency fluctations, with both the Euro and Pound Sterling suffering “depreciation” in recent months.

Blog: How Much Electric Your Smart Home Uses (With Calculator)

Me holding a calculator looking at electric usage with the text I Tested LOADS Of Devices

I recently had a smart meter installed, and I noticed that my electric usage was much higher than I would have expected.

So I went around my home, testing all my smart devices, to see if they were the culprit. I put all the results on my blog, along with shooting a video which is available on YouTube.

The blog post is worth checking out, especially because it contains a handy calculator so you can work out your own smart home’s electric usage.

News: Apple Launches New HomePod

Apple have unveiled a fully redesigned and revamped HomePod, two years after the original was scrapped. It is a similar size to the original one, and it will cost $299 – supporting both Thread and Matter. There will also be a HomePod Mini released later this year.

The new HomePod – which will ship from February 3rd – has less speakers and microphones, but Apple say that the sound quality will still be just as good, with support for Apple TV 4K and Dolby Atmos.

This model has build-in temperature and humidity sensors, which can then be used as triggers for smart home automations – a really neat feature.

News: Other Amazon CES 2023 Announcements

Amazon summed up their CES 2023 announcements in a blog post, explaining that they plan to roll Matter support out to even more devices later in 2023.

They also said that the Ring Peephole Cam has been re-continued – a year after discontinuing it. This is great news, because the Peephole Cam was great for renters and people who couldn’t easily drill a Ring Doorbell outside their home.

Blog: 15 HILARIOUS Smart Home Jokes

Why did the smart plug refuse to go on a date... Because it wasnt turned on.

If you’re interested in really terrible (I mean, hilarious) jokes and puns about smart homes, then click the button below to read 15 totally-awesome-and-funny smart home jokes.

Contributions are welcome, too – so if you’d like your joke added, please leave a comment and we’ll add yours up (and add your name as credit).

News: Other CES 2023 News

Ring and Amazon weren’t the only companies at CES 2023, of course. Companies like Reolink, SwitchBot and TP-Link all unveiled new products too.

Reolink have some awesome new products, including a range of PoE cameras and an interesting 7 megapixel fisheye camera which has a great field-of-view.

LifeHackster shot a useful video covering these announcements, so it’s worth checking the video out if you’re interested in smart cameras.

Wrapping Up

That’s it for today’s newsletter – thanks for reading. As always, if you have any questions (or just want to say ‘hi’), please feel free to reply to this email.

I was interested to see that Amazon are launching the new Disney features as a paid extra. Is that a sign of things to come? Amazon adding new features, but making them paid-for? We’ll see.

I will be launching a few new short videos on YouTube and TikTok in the coming week, so please subscribe to my channels there if you haven’t already.

Until then, have a good one!

– 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).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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