Amazon has recently unveiled the Amazon Fire TV Cube, which is essentially a combination of Echo Speaker (which hoses Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa) and Fire TV on one device.
The Fire TV Cube houses Alexa which you can use to issue commands such as ‘What’s the weather?’ or ‘Turn on the bedroom lights (if you have smart lights)’ etc. On the TV side of the device, it can be used to turn on the TV, change between channels, search for shows and sitcoms etc all with a voice command without ever touching the remote.
But the most impressive aspect of Fire TV Cube is neither of the above. The most impressive aspect is the fact that it is also a universal controller, as it has IR Blasters on all four sides. You can use it to control the TV, soundbars, Set Top Boxes and pretty much anything which can be controlled via IR Blaster, given it is supported by Alexa.
So, if you issue a command that says – ‘What’s the weather?’, Alexa will answer you using the inbuilt speaker. But if you issue a command such as ‘Play A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix’, the device will turn on the TV, open the app and the even pull up the show. Another example, if you have a soundbar connected and you issue a command that says ‘Play Sinners by Barns and Courtney’, it will use turn on the soundbar to play the song.
However, it is not completely hands-free as of yet. A few apps, services and cable providers may require you to pick up the included remote to achieve the full functionality. Amazon claims it is working to integrate all the services.
The Fire TV Cube is available for $120, which is roughly Rs. 8000. It is currently only available in the USA but is supposed to release in India later this month.