Amazon continues to pull ahead in the smart home assistant device race, releasing yet another native Alexa-enabled product. This one is focused mainly on how your home entertainment can take hands-free to the next level.
The new product is called the Fire TV Cube, and joins other Amazon products including the Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick, Fire-enabled televisions, and the entire Echo family line.
The cube is aptly named, as it is literally shaped like a cube. The design basically combines the look of the Fire TV and the Echo. The first TV is a small square, so the Cube just exaggerates that look. Also, the Cube incorporates the standard Echo control buttons, on the top of the device. These buttons include a microphone mute button as well as volume controls.
Those currently using stand-alone Echo devices do have some options for hands-free TV control without using the Cube, but it requires using both an Echo and a Fire device. The Cube simplifies this by offering a fully functional Fire TV and Echo with Alexa in a single device. It also gives a “screen” option – your TV – which was previously only available through using the Echo Show.
Here’s what you can expect from the Fire TV Cube, which will be released on June 21, 2018:
- As a regular Echo can do, the Cube can control lights, locks, and any other compatible, connected device. The Cube is a seamless way to set the right mood and play a movie all with a quick, hands-free command
- The hardware for the Cube includes Amazon’s latest tech, which boasts “far-field voice recognition, eight microphones, and beamforming technology” so that you can give your device commands from anywhere in the room.
- Hands-free control of your entertainment includes the ability to play, rewind, fast forward and pause your content, as well as use your voice to search for apps, shows, and movies.
- When available with compatible equipment, you can also control your TV (turn it on and off), as well as your accessories like your sound bar, your cable box, and your receiver.
- The Fire TV Cube works independently of your TV, as well, and can just give you the weather, read your news briefing, and use other available Alexa skills like ordering food and calling for a ride.
- The Cube, as a streaming device, can support the best in entertainment with “access to vivid 4K Ultra HD up to 60 fps, HDR, and the audio clarity of Dolby Atmos.”
An important note about the Fire TV Cube is that you need to do a little research to make sure that your products are compatible, or to find out which products are compatible before you go out and purchase a whole new entertainment system. The Amazon website provides detailed information about which devices are supported.
The Fire TV Cube falls short in a couple areas where other Echo devices do not, including sleep times, Alexa Calling and Messaging, multi-room music, and Bluetooth connections to mobile phones. These functions are not currently supported by the device.
Photo by Amazon