How to Watch ‘Rent: Live’ on TV & Livestream


(L-R): Brennin Hunt, Tinashe, Brandon Victor Dixon, Valentina, Vanessa Hudgens, Kiersey Clemons, Mario and Jordan Fisher at the “Rent: Live” photo call.
CREDIT: FRANK MICELOTTA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Jonathan Larson’s Tony-winning musical “Rent” is the latest to get the live-TV treatment — and the show’s bound to be big.

The “Rent: Live” cast includes big names such as Vanessa Hudgens, Tinashe and Kiersey Clemons, three stylish celebrities who never fail to impress with their off-duty looks. Jordan Fisher, who appeared alongside Hudgens in “Grease: Live,” also makes an appearance in the show, as well as “Let Me Love You” singer Mario and Broadway actor Brandon Victor Davis.

With such a star-studded cast, the acting and singing in “Rent: Live” is bound to be excellent. But the costumes — designed by Angela Wendt, who outfitted the cast of the original production — are also worth watching out for.


The biggest change is that there are so many more characters, and now we can also follow timeline,” Wendt explained to Playbill. “There will be new surprises, and you will also see some old friends — that’s all I’m going to say.”

To tune in to the performance on TV, fans can flip to Fox, where the show will air 8-11 p.m. ET on Jan. 26. Those on the West Coast will have to be patient, as the performance will be delayed until 8 p.m. PT.

For fans hoping to watch online, one option is to tune in to Fox.com, where the broadcast will be live-streamed. Without a cable login, Fox allows viewers only 60 minutes of complementary viewing, so don’t bank on Fox.com if you’ve cut the cord.

Otherwise, the show can be watched in full on Hulu if you have a subscription, or on YouTube’s live-TV edition. Both Hulu and YouTube will give you a weeklong free trial of their live-TV offerings.

Credit to Ella Chochrek from footwearnews.com

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5 game-changing ways consumer tech will evolve in 2019

Apple and Samsung will continue to shape the technology market this year, but can newcomers Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi spring a surprise?

2019 will be a bumper year for tech, with established and emerging brands looking to evolve, shake up and revitalize the market like never before.

Foldable smartphones, lightning-fast data connections, and wearables on every wrist are just some of the things that we’re expecting, and with prices going through the roof over the last 12 months, affordability will play a key role in their chances of success.

Looking at the year ahead, we’ve picked out five products, brands, trends or technologies to keep an eye on, from the key players to new kids on the block.

Samsung’s New Phone Designs

Samsung Galaxy S10 series

Despite being the enduring behemoth in the tech market – Samsung isn’t averse to a safety-first approach to innovation. The last major shake-up we saw in its phone design was the ‘edge’ – curved displays that eliminated the bezel from the side of a phone entirely. It’s been searching for its next big thing ever since, but despite the fact that the new S10 series is seen as a major upgrade (unlike the iterative nature of the Galaxy S9), it’s been beaten to the punch on two major design changes we’re likely to see – the hole punch front camera (as seen on the Honor View 20) and the in-screen fingerprint sensor. This won’t stop Samsung going all out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its flagship mobile on 20 February, with support for 5G another headline feature to complement the aesthetics. Rumors point towards three new models: the 6.1-inch Galaxy S10, 6.4-inch Galaxy S10+, and ‘lower-end’ 5.8-inch Galaxy ‘S10 Lite’ or ‘S10E’. ‘Leaked’ pictures (below) appear to confirm the S10 and S10+ will use an under-display fingerprint sensor, and thankfully, both models have a headphone jack.

Ultimately the success of Samsung’s new designs will determine whether they’re here to stay, or merely another small step on the ladder to mobile phone perfection.

Samsung Galaxy X

Perhaps the most exciting new arrival though is the foldable phone. First spotted at a Samsung developer conference back in November (see below), the Samsung Galaxy X will be able to transform from a standard phone into a wider, tablet-sized device. This shapeshifting hybrid will use Samsung’s new Infinity Flex Display, and it will be demoed at the same February event as the Galaxy S10. Google has confirmed that it’s working on an Android update that will be fully compatible with foldable phones, and with brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple showing interest, we expect to see more foldable designs in 2019.

Apple Fighting Back

Apple has an interesting year ahead of it, to say the least. Analysts are reporting that the group’s phone sales are lower than expected, with Citi Group suggesting Apple’s original iPhone production forecast for Q4 2018 was reduced. A Forbes report adds that last year, Apple sold 14 million fewer phones than it did three years ago. There are plenty of words out there to describe Apple’s iPhone range, but ‘cheap’ isn’t one of them. As a growing number of Android rivals launch smartphones with similar specs and cheaper prices, Apple is feeling the pinch. It needs to find a way to fight back, and fast.

Falling iPhone sales could inspire iPhone SE2

The rumored iPhone SE 2 could be the device to save the day. The original SE launched in 2016 and recently went back on sale through Apple’s own website for a limited time. Since being relisted this month the phone has sold out once again, so there’s clearly a demand for an affordable small-screen iPhone. All eyes will be on Apple’s announcements this year, and in particular, it’s main launch event, typically held in September.

Apple AirPower charging pad (2019)

Though iPhones allegedly account for around two-thirds of Apple’s profit, it’s far from a one-trick pony. If there’s one thing Apple knows how to do well, it’s accessorized its own products.

One addition that could go straight on the must-have list is the Apple AirPower wireless charger that allows you to boost up to three devices at the same time – an iPhone, AirPods case and Apple Watch, for example.

We first caught a glimpse of Apple’s charging accessory back in 2017, and since then ‘manufacturing issues’ have seen the wireless charging pad delayed multiple times.

But it’s now looking increasingly likely that the AirPower will go on sale this year. Reports coming from a Hong Kong tech website cite sources ‘in the [AirPower] supply chain’ saying the accessory is now in production. For Apple users, that would mean no longer having to rely on third-party chargers from the likes of Anker and Belkin.

Apple AirPods 2 (2019)

Industry insiders expect the next-generation AirPods to drop in the next couple of months.

According to tech website DigiTimes, the new wireless earbuds will have added health monitoring functions, which potentially means we’ll see a slight price rise. The new AirPods are also tipped to feature a waterproof design.

We tested the original AirPods to see how they fared for overall sound quality, comfort, and durability. Take a peek at the review by CNET on the Apple AirPods 2 to see if these headphones are worthy of Best Buy status.

The Rise of Chinese Smart Phones

With high-end specs and low-end prices, a number of new smartphone brands are appearing in the UK – largely from China. The success of these brands could be key to breaking the dominance of Apple and Samsung – and they’re apparently ever increasing prices, in 2019.

Huawei has now cemented its position in the UK market as one of the go-to brands for premium mobiles on a budget. But with other Chinese smartphone brands looking to get in on the action, February’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event could see some worthy competitors take the spotlight.

Honor

Honor recently announced its flagship Honor View 20 and showing a clear desire to offer plenty of bang for your buck. Its phones are typically modestly priced – more so than Huawei, but it has also shown that it isn’t scared of innovation. How it evolves in 2019, will be interesting to see.

Xiaomi

Having officially landed in the UK at the end of 2018, Xiaomi will be looking to show off its existing range and its exciting work on folding phones at MWC 2019. There are already plenty of phones on offer through Xiaomi’s UK website, including the just-tested Xiaomi Mi 8, Mi 8 Pro and Mi MIX 3.

Xiaomi also released a video of its ‘fold-in-three’ smartphone this month to build some hype ahead of its appearance at MWC. See how the device works below:

Oppo

China-based smartphone group Oppo has close ties to OnePlus, with both brands sharing the same parent company – BBK Electronics. Back in July 2018, Oppo registered trademarks for 40 handsets in the UK and Europe.

Overseas, Oppo has made a name for itself more recently with the Oppo Find X. The trend-setting Find X is the first smartphone to use a motorized hidden panel for the front-facing camera. That nifty design choice means the display on the Find X is entirely bezel-less.

Cheaper and More Stylish Wearables

March is shaping up to be a big month in the world of wearables, with BaselWorld and the Wearable Technology Show both scheduled in the calendar. We’re already starting to see wearables address some of the biggest issues that have prevented them from becoming more mainstream – style and price – and we expect to see big strides in 2019.

Watch-like Wearables

The Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro, which costs around $249.99, can read texts and emails. It has two displays – the transparent LCD display is used for battery-saving mode, but you’ll be tapping away on the OLED color touchscreen most of the time.

The $295 Skagen Falster 2 (above) is aimed squarely at the fashion-conscious, available with a range of different 20mm straps in leather, silicone and steel mesh. Google Assistant is built in, along with a tracker tool that helps you locate your smartphone if it’s out of sight.

Zigbee explained: Plus the best devices that use it


It’s a big deal in the smart home space so get yourself clued up

Syncing up all the top smart home devices isn’t easy, and it requires a common language to bind together a wealth of tech from different manufacturers. That’s where Zigbee comes in – it is one of the leading protocols in helping tech talk to each other.

But how does Zigbee work, is it any good and, most importantly, should you even care? We attempt to answer those crucial questions below.

What is Zigbee?

Right, let’s start by trying to cover smart home protocols without dying of boredom. They’re how your sensors, bulbs, hubs, and cameras all talk to each other – and to you – quickly and securely. They’re necessary because the protocols you’re more familiar with, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, are rubbish for meshing together a lot of low power devices spread all around your home.

A better solution was required, and Zigbee – along with Z-Wave – is the answer.

What’s so good about Zigbee?

Zigbee uses the IEEE’s 802.15.4 personal-area network standard to communicate with other Zigbee devices between 32–65 feet depending on a few factors – and that’s why protocols like this are so important.

It creates a mesh, where each interoperable device becomes a sort of outpost, able to communicate with the next device. Because we’re going to end up having a lot of devices and sensors in our home, Zigbee needs to be able to support a lot of devices on the network, and luckily, it will cope with 65,000 at any given time. That should just about cover it.

Without the need for a centralized hub, it’s theoretically possible for devices to work over a huge area, passing on information around the mesh.


FUN FACT
When bees are returning to their hive, they do a ‘waggle dance’ to communicate important information to other bees, such as where to find that high-grade pollen or where the new nest is located. This zigzag dance is how Zigbee got its name. 

Now let’s get a bit more technical.

The current version, Zigbee 3.0, also benefits from 128-bit symmetric encryption – so data being shot around the mesh is pretty secure. However, if you’re really focused on top-notch security, there have been claims that there are Zigbee vulnerabilities around the way it handles encryption keys.

Zigbee works at 2.4GHz more often than not. This boosts transfer rates and Zigbee can fire round data at around 250kbps, which is pretty good – more than enough for simple signals like “hey the door just opened” or “lightbulb to 50% brightness”. However, 2.4GHz might sound familiar to you, and that’s because pretty much everything works on that spectrum – most notably your Wi-Fi enabled devices – and that means interference is a possibility.

Zigbee Alliance and Zigbee devices

So what kind of devices use Zigbee?

Well, the makers of Zigbee have started an alliance – this is how these things tend to work – of companies who essentially sign up to use Zigbee. There are over 400 members of the Zigbee Alliance, and they’ve racked up 2,500 devices between them.

The Zigbee Alliance recently announced that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date and that Zigbee Alliance technologies will account for 3.8 billion IEEE 802.15.4 units expected to have shipped by 2023.


Amazon is taking more control over smart home tech

Partner brands that participate in the Alliance read like a who’s who of the industry, but try Centrica, ARM, Philips, Comcast and AT&T for size. You can get a full list here.

Zigbee devices to try

Zigbee hubs… and alternatives

If you’re bringing together a load of Zigbee devices, it’s not enough just to plug them in and start controlling. You’ll need some kind of hub to bring them together. Amazon Echo Plus works have a Zigbee hardware hub, which can scan your network for Zigbee devices, without you having to set up each one individually. There are also options like SmartThings and Wink, which are also hubs that can add and control Zigbee devices, all from within one single app.

But Zigbee isn’t the only standard out there, and there’s also Z-Wave, which has nuanced differences and has more companies signed up.

Z-Wave has a better range and the signal has a maximum theoretical distance of about 100m, making it suitable even for a home the size of Buckingham Palace. It also runs on a different spectrum, and won’t be interfered with by Wi-Fi.

Zigbee: Should you care?

The rise of agnostic hubs and devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home mean that, thankfully, you shouldn’t need to care too much about whether your devices are running Zigbee or a different protocol. It would make your life easier if all your devices run on the same protocol, but the reality is that it’s extremely difficult to manage.

The question did raise its ugly head around the launch of the Amazon Echo Plus with its built-in smart home hub, which uses Zigbee but not Z-Wave. That was a black mark against the Echo Plus as a hardware hub, but the reality is that thanks to the Works with Alexa program, workarounds are already in place, and a lot of third-party hubs boast both standards anyway.

Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

We have news from Amazon and Google which could be significant for the smart home – and a host of smart home deals as well. If you’re looking to save money on smart home devices, scroll down for some top picks.

Sometimes it’s the smallest snippets of news that can prove to be the most interesting, and news that Amazon is joining the board at the Zigbee Alliance is evidence of that. Zigbee is a technology that helps smart home devices communicate – faster, more stable and using lower energy than Wi-Fi.

Amazon adopted it for the Echo Plus and 2018 Echo Show, which is a Zigbee hub that can connect compliant products automatically. And now Amazon has a seat at the table, shaping the priorities and future decisions of Zigbee.

Now, it’s not that difficult to get a seat at that table. You just have to be one of Zigbee’s biggest customers – reports The Verge – and that only requires sending around $75,000 its way annually, which is nothing. But with Amazon essentially driving the smart home market right now, it’s now going to be a highly influential voice.

So in real terms, what does this mean? Well, we’d dare to suggest that Amazon could double down on Zigbee integration, which could mean integrating hub technology into more devices – which would essentially finish off the idea of the smart home hub.

This would likely swing the smart home market the way of Zigbee, away from Z-Wave which is the rival standard.

Other companies on the Zigbee board are SmartThings (which Amazon is currently rendering increasingly irrelevant) Signify (Philips Hue) and Comcast – so there’s plenty of dollar behind the standard.

The 5G revolution is coming. Here’s everything you need to know

The next generation of wireless technology, fittingly known as 5G, is just around the corner. And it promises to change our lives forever.

At least, that’s what the wireless industry is saying. It really wants 5G to be a thing.

Ever since Verizon said it would be the first major telecom company to deploy 5G field tests three years ago, the hype for the technology has been building. It’s been referred to as a foundational tech that will supercharge areas like self-driving cars, streaming virtual and augmented reality and telemedicine like remote surgery.

But what exactly is 5G? Why are people so excited? The following is a breakdown of why the next generation of wireless technology is more than just a boost in speed, and why you should be excited yourself.

What is 5G?

It’s the next (fifth) generation of cellular technology which promises to greatly enhance the speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. How fast are we talking about? Think 10 to 100 times speedier than your typical cellular connection, and even faster than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house. (You’ll be able to download a season’s worth of “Stranger Things” in seconds.)

Is it just about speed?

No! One of the key benefits is something called low latency. You’ll hear this word mentioned A LOT. Latency is the response time between when you click on a link or start streaming a video on your phone, sending the request up to the network, and when the network responds and gives you your website or starts playing your video.

That lag time can last around 20 milliseconds with current networks. It doesn’t seem like much, but with 5G, that latency gets reduced to 1 millisecond, or about the time it takes for a flash in a normal camera to finish.

That responsiveness is critical for things like playing an intense video game in virtual reality or for a surgeon in New York to control a pair of robotic arms performing a procedure in San Francisco.

How does it work?

5G initially used super high-frequency spectrum, which has shorter range but higher capacity, to deliver a massive pipe for online access. But given the range and interference issues, the carriers are starting to explore lower frequency spectrum — the type used in today’s networks, to help ferry 5G across greater distances and through walls and other obstructions.

Are there other benefits?

Yes! The 5G network is designed to connect a far greater number of devices than traditional cellular network. That Internet of Things trend you keep hearing about? 5G can power multiple devices around you, whether it’s a dog collar or a refrigerator.

The 5G network was also specifically built to handle equipment used by businesses, such as farm equipment or ATM machines. Beyond speed, it’s also designed to work different on connected products that don’t need a constant connection, like a sensor for fertilizer. Those kinds of low-power scanners are designed to work on the same battery for 10 years and still be able to periodically send over data.

Sounds great, but when does 5G get here?

Verizon will launch the first “5G” service in the world in October, but it’s a bit of a technicality.

The service isn’t mobile service, but a fixed broadband replacement. An installer will need to put in special equipment that can pick up the 5G signals and turn it into a Wi-Fi connection in the home so your other devices can access it.

There’s also some debate about whether the service even qualifies for 5G because it doesn’t use the standards that the industry has agreed upon. The company wanted to jump out ahead, and used its own proprietary technology. Verizon argues that the speeds, which range from 300 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second, qualify the service for 5G designation. Its rivals and even experts from chipmaker Qualcomm disputes the claim.

Okay, but what about mobile 5G?

Verizon says it will launch its mobile 5G next year. AT&T is looking like the first company to launch a true mobile 5G service. It plans to launch 5G this year in 12 markets.

Like the Verizon deployment, expect the roll out of 5G in these cities to be extremely limited.

Also, there won’t be any 5G phones available yet, so you’ll initially get hockey puck-like wireless hotspot devices that can tap into those networks.

No 5G phones? Can’t I just pick up 5G with my existing smartphone?

Sorry, no. 5G technology requires a specific set of antennas which aren’t available yet. Sprint says it plans to release the first US smartphone next year, which will be built by LG.

5G smartphones are expected to come out in the first half of next year.

How broadly will 5G be available next year?

There’s a stronger possibility that you’ll be able to pick up 5G service (once you get a compatible phone), but it’s still going to be limited.

T-Mobile says it’s launching 30 cities next year, while Sprint will launch in six cities.

But don’t feel like you need to rush out to buy that first 5G smartphone. Chances are, service won’t be widely available until 2020 or beyond.

Our 5G glossary

Do you want to show off your 5G knowledge to your friends? Or seem like the smartest person at a party? Check out our 5G glossary below.

5G NR

The 5G bit is pretty obvious, but the NR stands for New Radio. You don’t have to know a lot about this beyond the fact that it’s the name of the standard that the entire wireless industry is rallying behind, and it just came out in December.

That’s important because it means everyone is on the same page when it comes to their mobile 5G networks. Carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are following 5G NR as they build their networks. But Verizon, which began testing 5G as a broadband replacement service before the standard was approved, isn’t using the standard — yet. The company says it will eventually adopt 5G NR for its broadband service, and intends to use NR for its 5G mobile network.

Millimeter wave

All cellular networks use airwaves to ferry data over the air, with standard networks using spectrum in lower frequency bands like 700 megahertz. Generally, the higher the band or frequency, the higher the speed you can achieve. The consequence of higher frequency, however, is shorter range.

In order to achieve those crazy-high 5G speeds, you need really, really high frequency spectrum. The millimeter wave range falls between 24 gigahertz and 100 gigahertz.

The problem with super-high frequency spectrum, besides the short range, is it’s pretty finicky — a leaf blows the wrong way and you get interference. Forget about obstacles like walls. Companies like Verizon are working on using software and broadcasting tricks to get around these problems and ensure stable connections.

Sub-6GHz

Given how troublesome really high-band spectrum can be (see the “Millimeter wave” section), there’s a movement to embrace spectrum at a much lower frequency, or anything lower than 6GHz. The additional benefit is that carriers can use spectrum they already own to get going on 5G networks. T-Mobile, for instance, has a swath of 600MHz spectrum it plans to use to power its 5G deployment. Prior to sub-6GHz, that would’ve been impossible.

That’s why you’re seeing more carriers embrace lower frequency spectrum.

But lower frequency spectrum has the opposite problem: while it reaches great distance, it doesn’t have the same speed and capacity as millimeter wave spectrum.

The ideal down the line will be for carriers to use a blend of the two.

Gigabit LTE

You’re hearing more about Gigabit LTE as a precursor to 5G. Ultimately it’s about much higher speeds on the existing LTE network. But the work going toward building a Gigabit LTE network provides the foundation for 5G.

For more on Gigabit LTE, read our explainer here.

MIMO

An acronym for multiple input, multiple output. Basically, it’s the idea of shoving more antennas into our phones and on cellular towers. And you can always have more antennas. They feed into the faster Gigabit LTE network, and companies are deploying what’s known as 4×4 MIMO, in which four antennas are installed in a phone.

Carrier aggregation

Wireless carriers can take different bands of radio frequencies and bind them together so phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 can pick and choose the speediest and least congested one available. Think of it as a three-lane highway so cars can weave in and out depending on which lane has less traffic.

QAM

This is a term that’s so highly technical, I don’t even bother to explain the nuance. It stands for quadrature amplitude modulation. See? Don’t even worry about it.

What you need to know is that it allows traffic to move quickly in a different way than carrier aggregation or MIMO. Remember that highway analogy? Well, with 256 QAM, you’ll have big tractor trailers carrying data instead of tiny cars. MIMO, carrier aggregation and QAM are already going into 4G networks, but play an important role in 5G too.

Beam forming

This is a way to direct 5G signals in specific direction, potentially giving you your own specific connection. Verizon has been using beam forming for millimeter wave spectrum, getting around obstructions like walls or trees.

Unlicensed spectrum

Cellular networks all rely on what’s known as licensed spectrum, which they own and purchased from the government.

But the move to 5G comes with the recognition that there just isn’t enough spectrum when it comes to maintaining wide coverage. So the carriers are moving to unlicensed spectrum, similar to the kind of free airwaves that our Wi-Fi networks ride on.

Network slicing

This is the ability to carve out individual slivers of spectrum to offer specific devices the kind of connection they need. For instance, the same cellular tower can offer a lower-power, slower connection to a sensor for a connected water meter in your home, while at the same time offering a faster, lower-latency connection to a self-driving car that’s navigating in real time.

Article originally posted on CNET.

Massive small cell investment needed to support 5G

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission meets later today to, among other things, vote on a proposal that will streamline small cell deployment rules and, if adopted, make it easier for carriers to build out small cell sites needed to deliver on 5G.

The meat of the proposed order would:

  • Ban local regulations designed to prohibit wireless infrastructure deployment;
  • Standardize the fee structure cities can charge for reviewing small cell projects;
  • Establish a 60-day shot clock for attaching small cells to existing structures and 90 days for new builds;
  • And sets “modest guardrails on other municipal rules that may prohibit service.”

Ahead of the vote, Commissioner Brendan Carr worked to gain consensus from municipal-level leaders. “More than several dozen mayors, local officials, and state lawmakers have called on the FCC to streamline the rules governing small cell buildout,” Carr said in a statement. “They want the FCC to build on the commonsense reforms adopted in state legislatures and town councils across the country so that every community—from big city to small town—gets a fair shot at next-generation connectivity. As they put it, FCC action will help spur investment and infrastructure buildout in their communities, while helping the U.S. win the race to 5G. I am glad to see the support from this diverse group of state and local officials.”

The proposal got another boost this week when the Wall Street Journal editorial board came out strongly in favor of the potential rule changes. The authors characterized the current level of local approval as pushed by “self-serving behavior from local politicians has become so egregious that it’s prompting welcome intervention” from regulators.

 

Update: The FCC today approved the small cell order outlined above. Carr said in a statement: “In the global race to 5G, the stakes are high—it is about economic leadership for the next decade. The smart infrastructure policies we adopt today strengthen America’s role as a tech and economic leader while ensuring that every community benefits from 5G. Wireless providers are projected to spend $275 billion in the U.S. to build 5G, which represents a massive private sector investment in American infrastructure and jobs—without a penny of new taxes. Today’s order streamlines the approval process for 5G small cells and helps ensure that our country will continue to be the innovation hub of the world.”

The move was applauded by Jonathan Adelstein, a former FCC commissioner and president of the Wireless Infrastructure Association. Adelstein said in a statement, “As promising as 5G is, it’s only as good as the infrastructure on which it’s deployed. And 5G will require all manner of infrastructure, including macro towers and small cells. As Commissioner O’Rielly said, macro towers play a key role in wireless networks. That role will expand in 5G. I commend Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly for their plans to address all types of wireless infrastructure in a future proceeding. WIA looks forward to working with them and the entire Commission to build on the amazing progress the FCC made today.”

 

article originally posted on rcrwireless.

How to sell your old Amazon devices.

Amazon’s new Echo speakers for 2018 are impressive. New cloth designs and upgraded sound quality (especially on the Echo Dot) are all welcome upgrades.

Splurging on one, or more, is tempting. But what if you already own multiple, older Echo speakers that you paid good money for a few years ago? Don’t just kiss all that cash goodbye. Trade them in to Amazon, and get credit toward your next Echo device. Here’s how it works.

The trade-off with Amazon trade-in

Amazon’s trade-in program is definitely convenient, though it isn’t perfect. It has drawbacks; the biggest is that Amazon sets the price, not you. Unfortunately, Amazon’s price is often much lower than what you originally paid.

There are many upsides to using Amazon trade-in. First, you get the appraised value of your device as an Amazon gift card, which you can use on a new Echo speaker or literally anything else in shopping giant’s vast online catalog.

Second, if you do decide to buy a new Echo product, Amazon says it will shave 25 percent off the list price of “qualifying” new Echo gadget. An added bonus is that Amazon won’t charge any extra fees to do the trade-in and shipping your old Echo back is free.

Amazon trade-in tips

  • You’ll get the most for your money if your Echo units are functional, with minimal damage.
  • If there is damage, you might get less money after Amazon appraises the item.
  • It’s free to ship trade-in devices back.
  • Only select Echo products are eligible for trade-in.

How much will I get?

Here’s a list of Echo devices that currently are part of Amazon’s trade-in program, and how much you’ll get for them.