Amazon unveils almost hands-free streaming TV device

Yolanda Curtis
June 8, 2018

Its standard price $119.99, but Prime members who pre-order today (June 7) or tomorrow (June 8) will save $30, bringing total cost down to $89.99. This will let the user control everything included but not limited to TV, cable boxes, soundbars, A/V receivers, etc.

It also works with set-top boxes from Comcast, Dish or DirecTV.

Technically speaking, the Fire TV Cube is powered by a quad-core processor (four Cortex-A53 cores) clocked at "up to 1.5GHz", Mali-450 MP3 graphics and 2GB of RAM alongside 16GB of internal storage.

Still, Amazon will be the first to combine a smart speaker and streaming player into one box, and is already a leader in both of those categories individually.

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According to Amazon, the Fire TV Cube comes with HDMI CEC, a technology that will give you control over compatible televisions, sound bars, and even cable boxes. Essentially, imagine the way you use an Echo Dot now to control all the wirelessly connected appliances around your home.

Amazon adds that Alexa is "always getting smarter" so it's bound to be able to do more in time. Amazon is also bundling a separate IR extender with the Cube, making it possible to reach devices hidden away in cabinets and such.

Alexa can also control the experience once you've settled in so there's no need to reach for the remote.

Amazon Echo relies on Microsoft's Bing search engine and Wikipedia, while Google Home uses the company's own Google Search.

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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.

The official ship date for the Amazon Fire TV Cube will begin on June 21st, and as of right now, the product is only available to customers in the United States.

This means you can ask Alexa to find sci-fi movies, play movie trailers or show more results. "And, it's just the beginning".

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.

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It's a potent little package in many ways.

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