Amazon Launches Fire TV Cube Combining Echo And Universal Remote Functionality

Amazon launches Echo Look in U.S., could popularize computer vision via Alexa

We had been expecting the Amazon Fire TV Cube release date to coincide with Amazon Prime Day 2018, which is rumoured to be 11 July, and while that hasn't exactly worked out, the streamer will at least be on sale for one of the retailer's biggest sales days of the year. 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. There's Ultra HD, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos support, but no mention of Dolby Vision or HDR10+ - despite Amazon having thrown its weight behind the new format.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order for $119.99, and ships with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter. And as part of a special promotion, Prime members can receive a $30 discount on pre-orders placed on June 7 and 8, bringing the price down to just $90.

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.

The Fire TV Cube uses far-field voice recognition and eight microphones, similar to the Amazon Echo, that make it so the device can hear a user's commands even from across the room. 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. While pre-orders don't seem to be live just yet, they should be available shortly over at Amazon. The Fire TV Cube, like an Echo speaker, will instead always be listening for voice commands.

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More news: Amazon Scores U.K. Premier League Soccer Rights Deal

However, Amazon's Alexa software has a wider range of skills on offer that enable it to link up with and control more third-party devices around the home.

You can turn off the microphone temporarily, too. You can use your voice to play, pause, and resume content, but that's not all.

'And, it's just the beginning. For the past few versions of Fire TV, Amazon has made a streaming stick that plugs unobtrusively into the back of a set.

It's a potent little package in many ways.

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