It’s honestly surprising it has taken Amazon nearly four years to combine the functionality of a Fire TV digital media player and Echo smart speaker into one extremely versatile Alexa-controlled device.
But the Fire TV Cube is finally out, priced at an aggressive $119.99 on pre-order in the US today, and even made available for a discounted $89.99 for Prime members today and tomorrow only.
June 21 is the actual release date, and the 4K Ultra HD-capable Amazon Fire TV Cube streaming media player with hands-free Alexa support will be shipped alongside an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter.
Keep in mind that a standard Fire TV costs $69.99, lacking the advanced far-field voice recognition technology and built-in speaker of the 465-gram Cube. A whopping eight microphones enable Alexa to hear you “from across the room”, while beamforming capabilities will make sure ambient noise, “reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech” are suppressed for perfect voice command clarity.
Some of the things you can get done simply by asking include powering your TV on and off, changing the volume, switching to different inputs, and yes, changing the cable channel. You can use your voice to navigate and control Netflix, Prime Video or Hulu content, and believe it or not, the Alexa-powered Fire TV Cube handles not just compatible TVs, but also sound bars, A/V receivers, and set-top boxes from “top providers” like Comcast, Dish, and DirecTV.
Perhaps the Cube’s coolest skill is voice support even with the TV off, which means you can both power your TV and play a certain movie or show with a single command. Voice search is also supported, not to mention all the typical Alexa tricks, like weather forecasts, news and smart home device controls.