Amazon’s new Fire TV Cube turns Alexa into your remote
“Alexa, turn on Bravo.”
Continuing its quest to eliminate the mundane tasks of life, you can now tell Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to change the channel without a remote. The company unveiled on Thursday its newest TV streaming device, the Amazon Fire TV Cube — part Amazon Echo smart speaker, part Fire TV.
The device, available for purchase starting June 21, lets users adjust the volume on compatible TVs, switch inputs, change the channel and power on and off by using their voice.
Fire TV users could use their voices to make requests by holding down on the remote, but this is the first time it’s entirely hands-free.
After making a request for, let’s say, the Real Housewives of New York, the Cube will respond by serving up the user’s cable, satellite box or some streaming apps.
The Cube, which is available for purchase starting June 21, will cost $119.99. But Amazon is offering it for $89.99 for Prime members until Friday.
Taking a cue from its name, the square-shaped device is neatly packaged — standing 3.4 by 3.4 by 3 inches — and supports 4K Ultra HD. The gadget features an always-on Alexa speaker supported by eight microphones and has 16 GB of storage for apps. It comes with a remote in case you’d rather not announce the name of the show you’re watching to other people at home.
Similar to Amazon’s existing Fire streaming sticks, the Cube supports popular video apps, such as Netflix and Hulu. Amazon tweaked its Fire TV user interface for the Cube to make it a “more natural way to navigate,” the company said in a statement.
This means you can ask Alexa to find sci-fi movies, play movie trailers or show more results. Also, because it’s an Echo speaker at its core, it’ll tell you the weather or let you re-order toothpaste on Amazon.
Patrick Moorehead, a principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, told CNNMoney consumers will likely “eat it up” due its attractive price point and capabilities. It will also “put pressure” on its closest competitors, such as the Apple TV, to add similar capabilities for a lower price.