Amazon’s new smart speaker is a TV streaming box, and vice versa


It also includes an infrared emitter that can control TV volume and switch to live channels on cable and satellite boxes.

Fire TV Cube doesn't support calling and messaging, Bluetooth sync or multi-room music in conjunction with other Alexa-enabled speakers. "And, it's just the beginning".

The big picture: Amazon's long-rumored Fire TV Cube marries two established product lines into a cube-shaped form factor. Unlike other voice-command entertainment options such as Comcast's Xfinity X1 platform and Apple TV, which require you to speak directly into a remote control to change channels or search for specific programs, your voice is the only device needed to turn on and activate the Fire TV Cube. Apps like Netflix Prime Video, HBO, Hulu and more will give you access to over 500,000 movies and TV shows.

Amazon said the device uses far-field voice recognition with eight microphones and beamforming to make Alexa hear commands better even when it's noisy.

The Fire TV Cube is set to start shipping on June 21 with an IR extender cable, Ethernet adapter, and Alexa Voice Remote for $120.

The Fire TV Cube is a new streaming box with Alexa built right in. So it sits there waiting for voice commands even when you're not using the TV.

Gautam Pant, an associate professor of Management Sciences at the University of Iowa, says the short answer is no they're not always spying, but people should think of Alexa like a virtual assistant.

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It can also stream in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos, at least from services that are supported on Fire TV.

About the UI of the box, Amazon says that it works to deliver "content forward" with actions and operations surrounding the wirelessness of the Fire TV Cube.

Advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content now playing, and competing speech.

If you're in deep with Amazon's Prime and Alexa ecosystem, you might be interested to hear that they've just added the Fire TV Cube to their hardware lineup with a $30 discount and a bonus $10 Prime Video movie credit when you activate the Fire TV Cube by July 1st.

The Fire TV Cube will be an interesting test for full-blown streaming boxes, which have fallen out of favor as most consumers opt for cheaper streaming dongles that can fit behind a television.

Are you keen to put Alexa at the centre of your home theatre setup?