Consumer Reports: Making the most of your digital assistant

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Consumer Reports: Making the most of your digital assistant - Alicia Vitarelli reports during Action News at 4:30pm on January 11, 2018. (WPVI)

If you recently got a new Amazon Echo or Google Home and you're not sure exactly what to do with it, Consumer is here to help you get the most out of your new digital assistant.

Whether it's making shopping lists or converting cups to ounces, a voice assistant can help you out in ways you've never imagined. But first, you have to set it up.

"When you get a new voice assistant or smart speaker, you need to download the app that goes with it. And from there it will walk you through how to set the device up," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Electronics Editor.

Once that's done, the possibilities are endless, but you might have to enable things called "skills" for the Echo and "actions" for Google Home - think of them as added features that make your assistant even smarter.

"You can have it tell you what the weather is or have it read your calendar for the day. You can also get the latest sports scores or even play trivia games," said Fowler.

Are you ready to let your new assistant really show its stuff? With high-tech add-ons like smart light bulbs, thermostats, door locks and plugs you've got an instant smart home.

"If you have a smart plug, you can turn on and off whatever you happen to have plugged into it," said Fowler.

Another tip from Consumer Reports? Practice patience as you get to know your new assistant and what it can do.

"It's important to remember that you know Rome wasn't built in a day. And that you're gonna buy things to connect to it and add skills and apps and it's kinda something you construct over time," said Fowler.

When it comes to sound quality for music, Consumer Reports only gave the original Amazon Echo earned a "good" rating, and the Google Home, a "fair."

But they say the new Google Home Max, the Sonos One with Alexa built in, and the upcoming Apple Home Pod all promise to raise the bar on sound quality.

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