Poltergeist with Alexa Show 8?

pete_c

Guru
I have an old Pioneer Elite VSX-44 connected to my Roku TV.  The Roku TV is not connected to the internet via Ethernet or Wireless.
 
Pioneer VSX-44 Manual
 
It is configured with 2 devices - Kodi (CEC) and a DTV NVR.  The Pioneer is plugged in to the house network.  I do not use the remote control features for the Pioneer on any phone.
 
The Pioneer is configured for 7.1 playback which works fine.
 
There is no LMS (Squeezeplayer) connectivity to the VSX-44.
 
Last night watching a movie I heard the Alexa Show 8 device in the home office start to speak like it was responding to a command.
The home office is on the second floor of the home.  
 
Movie watched was: The Girl Who Believes in Miracles (2021)
 
The Alexa Show 8 started to play music. 
 
The Alexa devices in the home are all connected to Home Assistant and I can see their status on the Alexa Media page.  I looked at HA / Alexa Devices status this morning and saw this:
 
[sharedmedia=gallery:images:1467]
 
The odd thing here is that the Alexa Show 8 audio started to play on the rear channels of the VSX-44 as zone 2.  The zone 2 audio is autonomous from main audio zone.  There is no blue tooth interface on the Pioneer VSX-44.  Zone 2 is not configured to connect to anything.  When I shut off the receiver Zone 2 continued to play the Alexa Show 8 music.  I do not use any of the features of the VSX-44 other than playback of the DTV NVR and Kodi box.  (no radio et al).  The Pioneer VSX-44 is connected to the house ethernet.
 
Finally used the VSX-44 remote control to shut off Zone 2 audio.
 
First time I have seen / heard this.  How does this happen?
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
The constant intelligent advertising is coming on Alexa boxes. Better get yoost to it.
 
Somebody needs to take these companies on, with a huge class action suit. I paid good money for my Alexa boxes and advertising was never agreed to in the price, at the time. To use it against me is just plain evil, and needs to be stepped on in the beginning, before it becomes accepted as commonplace and "normal".
 
 
OTOH: maybe hackers are getting into their systems??
 

pete_c

Guru
I have 4 Alexa Show devices and they are configured to show pictures from Amazon Photos in a screensaver. 

I did not much many advertisements coming from the Alexa show devices between pictures.  I did shut off those features a while ago.  Just wondering how the audio started to play on my VSX-44.  It was weird cuz I heard Alexa audio playback on my VSX-44 zone 2. And it came from the upstairs Amazon Show devices and not the downstairs ones. I also have an Amazon Dot connected to the whole house audio system with the microphone off.
The whole house audio (Russound) is not connected to the VSX-44. (7.1 speakers and 2 inputs and one output to the TV and using CEC).

The Kitchen / TV room Alexa devices have gone off speaking on their own before but never through the VSX-44.

A while back I disconnected the Roku TV from the internet because I would see advertisement pop ups relating to the movies I was streaming from the Linux KODI box (CEC) which bugged me.

I checked all of the Pioneer VSX-44 settings and see nothing configured that would be playing back Amazon Alexa sound. (VSX-44 and Alexa can be configured for DLNA).
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
The Pioneer probably has DLNA services turned on and you've got it connected via Ethernet.

I think this is how Alexa can play music to Sonos devices, as they're also capable of DLNA.

Though I'm not aware of how, or even if, you'd configure an Alexa to use such a thing as an audio output.  Did you have the Pioneer in any sort of output Echo speaker group in the past? 

I was so thoroughly underwhelmed with Pioneer's zone support for playback that I gave up on it. 

The Roku using CEC data for advertising?  From data it's not involved in handling?  That's a rude intrusion. 
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
And don't get me started on the hack potential for DLNA and other playback schemes.  Nearly no security at all.  It'd be the ONE thing that would drive me toward separating media devices from the rest of my network, if I was actually using any of them.  Which I'm not, as it's just far too fiddly for normal people to bother using.  Lots of potential but no complete follow-through support from enough systems to make it viable.
 

pete_c

Guru
Though I'm not aware of how, or even if, you'd configure an Alexa to use such a thing as an audio output.  Did you have the Pioneer in any sort of output Echo speaker group in the past? 
 
No.  

I was so thoroughly underwhelmed with Pioneer's zone support for playback that I gave up on it. 
 
The VSX-44 does have a GUI which I can see using the remote control.
 
The features are overwhelming and I have none enabled except for the Ethernet connection.
 
The only inputs to the VSX-44 are the DTV VCR and Kodi box.  I have removed everything else.  I also disabled the Roku pieces on the Television.
 
I save my 4K videos now on the NAS and Kodi playback works fine.
 
I disabled it because I would see Roku pop ups when playing movies from the Kodi box.  I do use the Kodi Netflix and AOD plugins for my subs these days.
 
I am using CEC and have it working well.  All I have done is adjusted the 7.1 sound with Dolby video testing shorts.
 
I have looked at the media sources available to the VSX-44 and have historically seen my Squeezebox server, MythTV server and NAS box and have never connected to these sources.
 
Alexa does have a plugin / skill for DLNA and I have never tried it or enabled it.  Wierd thing was how the Amazon Show 8 heard the command in the office far away from the TV room and the other 3 Amazon shows / Amazon Dots / Amazon Echos that are closer did not hear anything.  
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
pete_c said:
<snippage>

 
Alexa does have a plugin / skill for DLNA and I have never tried it or enabled it.  Wierd thing was how the Amazon Show 8 heard the command in the office far away from the TV room and the other 3 Amazon shows / Amazon Dots / Amazon Echos that are closer did not hear anything.  
I find my Alexa 8" show hears better than any other Alexa box but also if I stand right in front of an Alexa box and give commands the one at the other end of the house (8"show) will usually be the one to answer and vice versa. These things are so designed to "like" echoic voices they seem to reject the clear ones. Very amazing technology but very scary at times too.
 
I have also noticed that if you ask a question and while the box is answering ask another, a different Alexa box will answer. It almost seems as they need recoup time between responses.
 
Lately I have been getting some total blanks (no response), big delays, and "I am not sure" responses from my Alexa boxes, only to find my devices operating as asked up to 3-4 minutes later! I believe some of it goes through IFTTT and it gets bogged down at times. Usually I repeat the command and then never notice it. I know my vocal outputs via Alexa go through IFTTT but not sure about vocal commands, through ISY Portal, through ISY994, through WiFi, to RGBCW bulbs/strips etc.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
I make no use of IFTTT for anything voice-command related.  It's just too unreliable.  I wish it wasn't, but I've seen terrible round-trip times for several things using just plain on/off kinds of functionality, not any complex logic or anything.

I have several Echo units and almost all wood flooring throughout the house, it makes for challenging detection sometimes.  The Kitchen Show does not like anything being on the counter in front of it, nor does it like the adjacent range vent hood running. 

I get the feeling that if you've got Echo units connecting to different WiFi access points there's something lost in their ability to handle overlapping detection, or present unified announcements.  I suppose I could test this by creating a secondary  and unique SSID on one of the access points and forcing all Echo units to attempt to use it.  I think most of them can 'hear' one particular access point, so it might work. I've got five access points in the house, all connected to the same subnet, with no VLAN or other filtering shenanigans involved.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
Is the Show 8 and zone 2 set up in the same "room" in the Amazon architecture?  (Or perhaps they are both NOT set up in a room and therefore Alexa lumps them together that way). I could see where Alexa is smart enough to use the speakers in the same room as the Alexa even if you never specifically set it up that way. For example, when I am in a specific room, I can use commands without a room identifier and it knows with device I am speaking about because I have set those devices up in a "room" in the Alexa architecture.  If I say, "turn off the desk lamp" and I am in my daughters room, it will turn off the desk light in my daughters room.  If I say "turn off the desk light" and I am in the office, it will turn off the desk light in the office.  If I am in the office and I say "Turn off Jan's desk light" it will turn off the light in Jan's room, etc. 
 
 
I also suspect the Alexa "overheard" the movie just enough that it misunderstood some dialog and thought it was a command to "Play Tiny Dancer"
 

pete_c

Guru
Is the Show 8 and zone 2 set up in the same "room" in the Amazon architecture? 
 
The VSX-44 zone 2 independant source and audio is not configured to play back audio.
 
I've been able to replicate the music playback by telling Alexa "what time is it answer".
 
It must have heard it from the movie.  I have not been able to replicate the zone 2 music playback.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
I have found the Echo Show units hear much better if I place a small wedge (maybe 15-20 degrees?) underneath them causing the front face to be more vertical. It makes them easier to see from a seated vantage point and they seem to hear better also.
 
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