Amazon’s Fire TV Cube has been unveiled, and it’s a hands-free 4K TV streamer with Alexa at its core
Amazon has always been well ahead of the curve when it comes to TV streamers. Way back in 2015, the online shopping giant was the first to offer 4K media streaming – beating Roku, Apple and Google to the punch – so it’s no surprise that Mr Bezos’ company has announced the next device in the long, long list of Fire-branded streamers.
Called the Fire TV Cube – this isn’t a reference, as far as I’m aware, to Phillip Schofield’s silly game show – we now know all sorts of details about Amazon’s mysterious new TV streamer. Following a leak from AFTVNews last year, the Fire TV has officially been confirmed as a cube-shaped version of the firm’s Fire TV box, with Amazon Echo’s Alexa digital assistant built in and the ability to stream content in 4K and HDR.
That’s the gist of what Amazon’s new Fire TV streamer offers – read on to find out more details about the Fire TV Cube, including release date, price and features. Bring on the Cube.
Amazon Fire TV Cube: Everything you need to know
Amazon Fire TV Cube UK release date: When’s it coming out?
Amazon’s Fire TV Cube launches in the US on 21 June 2018. Sadly, there’s no word yet on when (or if) Amazon’s cube-shaped device will make it into UK homes, but I’ll keep you posted.
Amazon Fire TV Cube UK price: How much will it cost?
Amazon’s Fire TV Cube will cost $120 in the US, with Amazon currently running a promotion where members of the Prime subscription service can pick up the box for just $90 – that’s $30 off.
For reference, this puts the Fire TV Cube at a vastly greater price than the current 4K Fire TV Stick, which retails for $70 in the States. A quick currency conversion suggests the Fire TV Cube will cost roughly £90, should the streamer ever arrive in Blighty.
Amazon Fire TV Cube design: What does it look like?
Well, to state the obvious, Amazon’s new media streamer looks like a cube. It would have been silly if it didn’t, right? Imagine if something called the Cube was cylindrical? Silly Bezos.
The Fire TV Cube, despite its shape, looks remarkably like the rest of Amazon’s digital assistant devices. There’s a blue ring around the top of the device – which flashes blue when it’s listening – with the usual mute, pause and volume up/down buttons on the top.
On the back of the device, you’ll find a micro-USB port, infrared port, HDMI 2 port for connecting the Cube to a TV, and the power connector. There is an Ethernet adaptor in the box but alas, there’s no microSD card expansion for your downloaded Man in the High Castle episodes.
The included remote is the same as last year’s dongles, and the Cube is packed with the same 1.5GHz ARM chip, with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Amazon’s familiar Fire TV interface returns.
Amazon Fire TV Cube features: What does it do?
The Fire TV Cube, through the use of multi-directional infrared tech, cloud-based protocols and HDMI CEC, allows you to control your TV, soundbar and set-top box with the power of your voice. Switch your telly on and off, change the volume, switch to different inputs, and change the channel— all thanks to Alexa.
There are eight far-field microphones at the top of the streamer, facing the front of the device, which use “advanced beam-forming” tech to hear your orders from across the room.
Most of Alexa’s other, “non-TV skills” also work, although the list of commands is much more limited than on its Echo counterparts. there are no communications commands: you can’t text, message or video call hands-free. The speaker quality, on the other hand, is described as being very similar to the Echo Dot.
As for the streaming quality, the Cube is similar to the Fire TV 4K dongle Amazon released last year. The device supports the HDR10 standard, streaming 4K video at 60Hz and Dolby Atmos content.