Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Amazon unveils almost hands-free streaming TV device

Amazon unveils almost hands-free streaming TV device

It also includes an infrared emitter that can control TV volume and switch to live channels on cable and satellite boxes.

What differentiates the Fire TV Cube from its predecessors-aside from its unique cube shape-is that it's truly a hybrid device.

'And, it's just the beginning. Amazon promises that your Fire TV Cube will get smarter over time as new features and hands-free voice functionality are added regularly OTA. The cable/satellite controls work with Comcast, Dish Network and DirecTV service; Amazon said the Cube covers more than 90% of pay TV households.

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The Fire TV Cube is now available for pre-order in the US for $119.99 and ships with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter starting June 21. It's now available for pre-order by Prime members Thursday and Friday for $89.99. The aforementioned far-field microphones, of which there are eight, use beamforming technology - the same featured in Amazon's Echo speakers - to combine the signals from individual microphones and suppress noise, reverberation, content playing on the Fire TV Cube, and competing speech. So it sits there waiting for voice commands even when you're not using the TV. Plus, for a limited time, customers can pre-order Fire TV Cube and Amazon Cloud Cam together for $199.98 - a $40 savings.

Users can say things like "Alexa, find dramas", and a number list will appear on the screen.

The Fire TV Cube meshes the Amazon Echo with the Fire Stick to deliver a high-tech streaming box with 4K ultra HD capabilities that can also tell you the weather.

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Advanced beam-forming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content now playing, and competing speech. As its "Fire" name suggests, this is a device created to plug into your TV, but its enhanced Alexa capabilities go far beyond what the existing Fire TV is capable of.

But the FireTV Cube goes beyond online streaming.

As smart and useful as our TV sets have gotten, how we interact with them remains quite dumb. At that time, Amazon teased the Amazon Fire TV Cube with a holding page on its United States storefront which simply said: "What is Amazon Fire TV Cube?" Certain apps, like Netflix, also lack deep integration with Alexa at launch, meaning they may prove easier to navigate with the remote.

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