This morning, Amazon has announced its latest streaming box: the Fire TV Cube. Combining existing streaming platforms with Alexa, this new set-top box goes beyond any of the online retailer’s previous offerings in one big way. Thanks to integrated IR blasters throughout, Fire TV Cube is designed to serve as a universal remote that controls your entire home theater.
Amazon has rolled all of its offerings across the Alexa and Fire TV OS platforms into one product that’s made to be the center of your entertainment experience. It’s launching today at Amazon with a special pre-order discount for Prime members. More details below.
The Fire TV Cube arrives as competition for cord-cutters is hotter than ever before. If you’re familiar with Amazon’s offerings, as we’re sure you are, you’ll find that this new release takes the best of various products and combines it into one. That includes 4K streaming, Alexa voice control and the usual access to all of Alexa’s skills.
Where it departs is integrated IR blasters on all sides of the Cube. That’s where the home theater aspect comes in. Fire TV Cube can control your TV via HDMI-CEC along with IR. The HDMI aspect allows Alexa to have full control of your TV, including power, which comes in handy when summoning your favorite content. For example, saying “Alexa, play The Crown” will turn on your TV and load up the content on Netflix.
Amazon is also offering control for popular set-top boxes from DirecTV, Comcast, Dish and others at launch. That allows it to leverage the same Alexa commands to bring up your favorite channels, as well. There’s no word at this time on potential control for gaming consoles like Xbox One or PlayStation 4.
Fire TV Cube offers support for HDR10 and Dolby Atmos audio out of the box, something that Apple TV is just now rolling out as well following Monday’s WWDC keynote. Built-in far-field mic arrays offer all of the same voice control that we’ve seen from Amazon’s other in-house Alexa offerings.
So what’s the long-term play here for Fire TV Cube? At this point, it appears that Amazon has constructed a set-top box that truly takes voice control to the next level. I’m not ready to throw out my beloved Logitech remote yet, but what Amazon is doing here has the potential to really gather steam in the long haul as support for additional features and services roll out.
“Alexa, Turn on the TV”—Introducing Amazon Fire TV Cube: A Simple and Intuitive Way to Control Your Entertainment
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun. 7, 2018– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Today, Amazon announced Fire TV Cube, a hands-free 4K Ultra HD streaming media player with Alexa, allowing you to control your TV from across the room. 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.”
“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.”
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.
Always Getting Smarter
The Alexa service is always getting smarter with new features and hands-free voice functionality added regularly. Many of your favorite apps currently support enhanced in-app voice controls on Fire TV, giving you more ways to use your voice while navigating through content, and dozens more are expected by the end of 2018. And with Fire TV Cube, many Alexa responses are optimized for the big screen and accompanied with rich visual information, allowing you to view your smart home camera feeds, watch video flash briefings, view sports scores, see extended weather forecasts, and watch trailers for movies playing in nearby theaters.
Pricing and Availability
Amazon Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order starting today for $119.99 and ships with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter beginning on June 21. As an introductory offer, Prime members can pre-order Fire TV Cube on June 7 and 8 for a special price of $89.99—a $30 savings. Plus, for a limited time, customers can pre-order Fire TV Cube and Amazon Cloud Cam together for $199.98 – a $40 savings. Customers who purchase and register their Fire TV Cube by July 1, will also receive a $10 credit for Prime Video. And starting on June 21, Fire TV devices are eligible for unlimited access to tens of millions of songs with Amazon Music starting at just $3.99/month.
For more information visit www.amazon.com/firetvcube.
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