Amazon this week announced a brand new streaming product, called Fire TV Cube, that brings together the company’s Echo speaker and Fire TV. As the name suggests, the Fire TV Cube is a cube-shaped 4K Ultra-HD media streaming player with Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa built-in. This allows you to control the cube and by that extension your TV from across the room, hands-free.
That’s right, folks, Amazon wants to get rid of the remote. The Fire TV Cube can power your TV on or off, change the volume, switch to a different input and change channels, all through your voice. It does this thanks to IR blasters housed on all four sides that lets the box communicate and control TV functionalities. As far as design is concerned, the Fire TV Cube looks unassuming until you activate it and a strip of LED light comes on. The box features a set of eight microphones allowing it to use far-field voice recognition to hear your voice from across the room.
Unlike the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick which come with a dedicated remotes, the Fire TV Cube uses Alexa to get work done. You can command Alexa to play Orange is the New Black on Netflix, for example, following which it will open the service and play the show from where you left off. The box also supports streaming apps like Hulu and PlayStation Vue. All you have to do is say, “Alexa” followed by the title of a movie, TV show or channel. You can also search by genre, director or actor.
Apart from content, you can also use Alexa on the Fire TV Cube to control smart home accessories, ask the weather forecast, view sports scores and perform actions on third-party apps that support Alexa. Amazon says that Alexa is always getting smarter, with new features and hands-free voice functionality being added regularly. A bundled Fire TV remote will be included in case you want to speak to Alexa a little more privately.
The Fire TV Cube has been announced for the US only as of now and is available for pre-order for $120. The product will ship with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter beginning on June 21. As of now there is no word on whether the device will reach the Indian market.
“We believe voice makes it easier for customers to control their entertainment systems and watch the TV and movies they care about,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President of Fire TV. “And, it’s just the beginning. Amazon Fire TV Cube will only get better over time with the Alexa service always getting smarter.”