Tech round-up for December 8: Electric vehicles from Tesla and electric bikes from Canada, online video wars, home entertainment tech gift guide

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, online video becomes a battleground, and the home entertainment gift guide. But first, some new electric vehicles have been announced.

Tesla announced two new electric vehicles

Tesla’s a bit behind schedule with its production of the Model 3, but that hasn’t stopped Elon Musk from designing new vehicles.

A couple of weeks ago, the company revealed a new version of its Roadster. The first Roadster hit the pavement in 2008 and was the company’s first production vehicle. The new model won’t be available until 2020. The new Roadster has a faster acceleration than any “street legal” vehicle currently available.

You can reserve one for only Cdn$64,000 (on a base price of $257,000).

Coming to market a year earlier, in 2019, is the Tesla Semi, a fully electric transport vehicle that promises faster and more consistent acceleration and deceleration than diesel tractor-trailers. The Semi is designed with a host of safety features, including sensors that will prevent jackknifing and a low centre of gravity.

Then there’s this: “Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi.”

Reservations of the Semi can be made with a $5,000 deposit.

Electric bikes made in Canada

Cars and trucks aren’t the only vehicles going electric. A number of Canadian companies are making electric bicycles, which are quite popular for commuting in Europe.

Ohm Electric Bikes have a handful of models for commuting, cross-country, and light trail riding.

Volt Bike has a series of folding models, a step-through, and a couple of versions of the Yukon, which was designed with the features of a mountain bike and intended to be used year-round, even in places like Edmonton and Winnipeg.

As long as an electric bicycle has a motor that is 500 watts or less, you do not need a license to operate it.

Amazon Prime Video comes to Apple TV while Google pulls YouTube from Amazon devices

Amazon Prime Video, which provides movies and TV series to people with an Amazon Prime membership, is now available on Apple TV.

This means that shows from Prime Video will be integrated into Apple’s TV app, and are searchable using the Siri voice activated search.

Ironically, at the same time, Google has pulled the YouTube app from Amazon’s devices like the Echo Show and FireTV media streamer.

In a statement, Google explained why: “We’ve been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other’s products and services. But Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”

Home entertainment gift guide

If you’re looking for a new TV, it’s time to think about moving up to super high-def. There’s more 4K content being produced all the time, and if you get a screen that is also equipped with HDR you’ll notice the difference (and you’ll be happy with it).

Every manufacturer has a 4K model, and they are all coming up with ways to set their brand apart. Samsung’s QLED models are significant because of what the company calls the One Connect box, which is the connectivity guts from the TV pulled out from the screen, and in a box that can be dozens of metres away from the screen itself.

What this means is that you can put your TV on the wall and not have to look at an black, umbilical mass of wires and cables. You plug all your connections into the One Connect box, and run a nearly invisible optical cable to the TV.

The best thing to plug into that new TV is the new Microsoft Xbox One X, which has the distinction of being the “world’s most powerful console”. According to the technical specs it really is, but it’s also a really great device that provides full support of 4K and HDR video from streaming sources, but also from 4K Blu-ray discs.

If you’re thinking about getting a 4K Blu-ray player, the best one on the market is the Xbox One X. And it plays games, too.

The new Apple TV 4K is something else you can connect to your new TV. It comes with the benefit that you can play the 4K versions of any of the movies you’ve purchased through iTunes library that have been released in the upgraded resolution.

But it’s not the only option. The Roku Ultra media streamer is only $120, and gives you access to the same streaming services, including 4K and HDR pictures when they are available. The remote control for the Roku has a built-in finder feature, which is handy if yours keeps getting lost in the cushions. And you can plug headphones into the remote, too, in the event you need to keep the volume down.


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