Amazon announces Fire TV Cube with 4K playback and built-in microphones

Amazon announces Fire TV Cube with 4K playback and built-in microphones

Where it stands out from Amazon's other Fire-branded products, however, is in its ability to control your TV and other set-top devices, such as cable boxes and sound bars, directly. And starting on June 21, Fire TV devices are eligible for access to Amazon Music starting at just $3.99/month. It's called the Fire TV Cube, and it's essentially a mashup between the 4K Fire TV and an Echo Dot. Also, because it's an Echo speaker at its core, it'll tell you the weather or let you re-order toothpaste on Amazon.

Amazon's other voice-controlled Fire TV devices require a push of the remote's mic button or a separate Echo device with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.

But beyond playing movies and shows and answering Alexa queries, the Fire TV Cube will also work as a universal remote.

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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's Fire TV Cube will sell for $119.99.

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.

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It all sounds rather ambitious, but at launch (which is due for June 21st in the United States with a UK release yet to be announced) the functionality will be more limited, restricting Alexa to more modest controls like volume and input selection. So it sits there waiting for voice commands even when you're not using the TV.

There will be more to the story, so be sure to stay tuned in for more details. Its incorporation of Alexa allows it to grow as people add more applications and functionality to the software. The Fire TV Cube supports HDR10 and Dolby Atmos but lacks Dolby Vision.

That's made life hard for premium streaming boxes like the Apple TV, which sells for $150 and up. (The actual price is $120, but Amazon is offering it to Prime subscribers for $90 through Friday.) "We really believe we've priced it at a price that customers not only think is valuable, but is super reasonable when you think about Echo, Fire TV, far-field control, and device control", says Penny.

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These technologies, combined with Alexa, mean that users can control their TV, sound bar, and decoder with voice commands.