Which video-speaker device is right for you?
In the coming battle of the talking video speakers, Google is selling YouTube, Amazon looks to Prime Video, and with Facebook, it’s about the social network. ❚ Google and Facebook have joined Amazon in offering the next wave of home speakers, Alexa with a twist, with a video display. Facebook came out on Monday with its video portal. On Tuesday, Google introduced Google Home Hub, an update to its popular Google Home speaker, a new device with a video screen that’s all about Google. ❚ Amazon will be first to stores, with the revamped and larger Echo unit available Thursday, while Google’s Home Hub, an extension of the Home speaker line, will be released Oct. 22. The Facebook Portal and Portal+ products will be available in November. ❚ How the units compare:
Amazon Echo Show (second generation)
You’ll say: “Alexa” Price: $229 Release date: Oct. 11 Screen size: 10 inches (up from last year’s 7 inches)
Video content: Mostly Amazon Prime Video’s collection of movies and TV shows. The Amazon Silk browser offers access to Google’s YouTube, which was removed from the original Show due to a corporate spat between Amazon and Google.
Photos: Can stream photos that have been uploaded to the Amazon Prime library and be used as a photo frame.
Live TV: Many network and cable TV shows can be viewed via a $39.99 subscription to Hulu Live TV.
Video calls: To other users of the Echo Show and, coming later this year, members of the Skype network. Microphones: Eight
Other goodies: See lyrics and album art via Amazon Music and visualize weather reports. See who’s at the front door via the Ring video doorbell, an Amazon-owned product.
Google Home Hub
You’ll say: “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google”
Price: $149 Release date: Oct. 22
Screen size: 7 inches Video content: Google-owned YouTube for recipes, tutorials and entertainment programming.
Photos: Stream photos and videos from the Google Photos app and use as a photo frame.
Live TV: Many network and cable TV shows via YouTube TV, the $40 monthly cable alternative.
Video calls: No camera is offered on the Home Hub. Microphones: Two Other goodies: All popular Google services, such as Maps for visual commute, calendar for appointments and operation of smart home accessories. See who’s at the door on the screen via the Nest video doorbell, a Googleowned product.
Facebook Portal and Portal+
You’ll say: “Hey, Portal” Price: $199 and $349 Release date: November Screen size: 10.1 inches; the larger version is 15.6 inches
Photos: Stream photos and videos from your personal collection on Facebook
Live TV: No network and cable TV live content, but Facebook offers videos from its original productions on Facebook Watch as well as Newsy and the Food Network.
Video calls: Make and receive calls from friends and family via Facebook and Messenger. Up to six people can be on the call. Microphones: Four Other goodies: Facebook offers tools to disable the camera and microphones with a camera lock
The Echo Show has more speaker and screen size.
All popular Google services are available on the Home Hub.
Make video calls with up to six people on Facebook Portal.