In all the hoopla surrounding E3 (and our work with the team to prepare you readers for it) this awesome bit of tech news kind of slipped past our radar. Don’t let that discourage you, however, from thinking this isn’t worth noting, as Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube device seems ridiculously cool.
I reviewed their original Fire TV when it first launched and loved it (hell, it’s something I still use on a regular basis in my house). Since then, Amazon has continued to produce new technology and devices to make your life a bit easier (like the Echo, which I also reviewed). Next week, they’re debuting the Fire Cube. Imagine if the Amazon Echo and Fire TV had a baby…the Cube is what you end up with.
It can be entirely hands-free, allowing you to browse content and watch your favorite shows using simple voice commands. Moreso, you can connect supporting devices (TV, soundbar, etc) to also be controlled by your voice. So you’ll be able to turn on your television, and even switch inputs (ideal for homes with multiple devices connected to the TV), using only your voice.
Fire TV Cube uses multi-directional infrared technology, cloud based protocols and HDMI CEC, that—combined with Alexa—let you control your compatible TV, sound bar, A/V receiver, and cable or satellite box. Power your TV on and off, change the volume, switch to different inputs, and change the cable channel—all with just your voice. Even with the TV off, simply say “Alexa, play Billions on SHOWTIME” and Fire TV Cube powers on your TV and starts playback right where you left off. Plus, because the Alexa service is always getting smarter, Fire TV Cube is going to get even better over time.
Amazon Fire TV Cube features a simple, guided setup for Alexa voice control of your devices, giving you easy access to the vast catalog of content currently available on Fire TV; including tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills, as well as over 500,000 movies and TV episodes and thousands of 4K Ultra HD and HDR titles. Simply ask Alexa to navigate and control content in popular apps, including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, FOX NOW, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PlayStation Vue, CBS All Access, and NBC. Just say “Alexa, launch Netflix”; “Alexa, tune to CBS”; or “Alexa, find dramas.”
Far-Field Voice Recognition
Amazon Fire TV Cube uses far-field voice recognition with eight microphones to hear you even from across the room. Advanced beamforming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even next to your TV.
Live TV, However You Want It
Fire TV Cube lets you control your live TV hands-free whether it’s through your cable or satellite boxes; streaming apps like Hulu and PlayStation Vue; or HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ through Amazon Channels. Just say, “Alexa, switch to channel 31”; “Alexa, watch ESPN”; or “Alexa, tune to NBC.”
Amazon Fire TV Cube is compatible with set-top boxes from top providers such as Comcast, DISH, and DIRECTV, covering more than 90 percent of households with a cable or satellite subscription.
Easy Control of All Your Entertainment
With a content-forward user interface, Fire TV Cube makes it easy to find the movies and TV shows you love with a more natural way to navigate and search simply by using your voice, with phrases like “Alexa, find sci-fi movies”; “Alexa, play the trailer”; and “Alexa, show me more results.” You can even search for TV and movies by director or actor.
All in all, it’s a neat addition to Amazon’s family of devices and if you’re already using smart tech in your home/entertainment center throwing the Fire Cube into the mix might be worthwhile. The Fire Cube will launch next week on February 21st, but is currently available for pre-order.