In a move that makes total sense, Amazon has finally combined the greatness of both the Amazon Echo and Fire TV.
Yesterday (June 8), the tech giant announced the Fire TV Cube which is described as “a hands-free 4K Ultra HD streaming media player with Alexa, allowing you to control your TV from across the room.” Combined with Alexa, multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols and HDMI CEC it will allow users to control compatible TV’s, satellite or cable boxes, A/V receivers and sound bars.
Your voice will be the key, and with a command, you will be able to power your TV on and off, raise or lower the volume, change the channel and even switch the television inputs. Amazon boasts that even with the TV off, you can resume a show you were watching by commanding Alexa to play it and it will pick right up where it left off. Fire TV Cube utilizes Far-Field Voice Recognition which uses eight microphones that will allow the device to pick up your voice from across the room. The mic system is designed so that Alexa can quickly pick up your voice over other sounds including your television.
Unfortunately, there is a minor setback with the Fire TV Cube due to some companies dragging their feet when it comes to Alexa adoption. Thus Amazon has included an IR extender (which has its limitations) to help communicate with devices that Fire TV Cube’s multidirectional signal may have trouble reaching. BUT with the promise of Alexa always “getting smarter” and thousands of apps such as Netflix that currently support enhanced in-app voice controls you should be able to overlook that issue.
As far as pricing and availability are concerned, the Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order starting today and will cost $119.99. When it ships on June 21st, it will come with a remote, IR extender and ethernet adapter. Amazon Prime members can purchase a cube for $89,99 and save $30 when they pre-order the device on June 7th and 8th. A bundle featuring Fire TV Cube and Amazon Cloud Cam is also available for a limited time and will cost $199.98 saving you $40.
Check out the Fire TV Cube in action below.