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Amazon unveils Fire TV Cube to control television by voice
08 June 2018, 04:42 | Max Haynes
Amazon is bringing Alexa and Echo to France this month
The all-new Fire TV Cube represents a new form-factor that combines functionality from several products in the Amazon catalog including the Fire TV and the popular Echo digital AI assistant.
As an extra bonus, if you activate the Fire TV Cube before July 1, you'll get a $10 credit for Amazon Prime Video. However, Prime members can grab one for $89.99 if they order on June 7th or 8th.
The Fire TV Cube will also connect to a low-priced TV antennae.
To say that the Fire TV Cube is a hybrid device between an Echo speaker and a Fire TV dongle is both true and false.
That last part, that it can jump between inputs, was my favorite part of the Fire TV Cube, which was only hard-connected to the TV.
Amazon says it'll work with a number of compatible TVs, sound bars, A/V receivers and cable or satellite boxes.
If you don't want to use your voice to control every little thing, then the Fire TV Cube will also ship with the same Alexa remote that we've seen with the existing Fire TV streaming devices. It features the beamforming technology that reduces noise and other advanced additions which allows it "to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request".
Users can say things like "Alexa, find dramas", and a number list will appear on the screen. The growing app library provides over 500,000 movies and TV episodes from services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC, and more. However, for the average person who doesn't have a large sound system and already has an Amazon Echo and Fire TV, the Fire TV Cube probably won't add too much value.
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But thanks to a combination of HDMI-CEC and a series of IR blasters the Cube can also control the rest of your home theatre setup. Amazon is also bundling a separate IR extender with the Cube, making it possible to reach devices hidden away in cabinets and such.
Google's $130 (£105) Home speaker is triggered by the phrase "Hey Google" while Amazon's Echo uses "Alexa".
The Amazon Echo Look is now available to all customers in the U.S. The main draw of the Echo Look is that it can take a hands-free photo of your outfit, complete with built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing, and background blur to help you stand out in your photo.
Google's Assistant software is also able to answer follow-up questions on the same topic, in a near-conversation style, but Echo as yet can not.
Amazon is debuting a new Alexa-based streaming box today, but this one is a bit more capable than the rest of the company's lineup.
Although it's always listening, it's not always recording what you're saying. "And, it's just the beginning". Plus, for a limited time, customers can pre-order Fire TV Cube and the recently announced Amazon Cloud Cam together for $199.98.
For example, browsing your TV guide, scheduling recordings or playing recordings from your DVR can't be done with your voice, CNET noted.
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