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Amazon’s Fire TV Cube can control your telly while Alexa talks at you

AMAZON HAS finally announced the Fire TV Cube, first seen in an FCC listing some months ago, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Unlike previous Fire TV devices, it has a pass-through, meaning you can plug in your Sky box (for example) and have full access to the Fire interface as an overlay menu.

In other words, it’s the first example of a smart TV dongle capable of making your whole TV smart, whatever else you’ve got connected to it.

But it is so much more than that. It also adds Alexa support to the television, controls smart home devices and even doubles as a universal remote. In other words, we’re not just talking Fire/Alexa everywhere, we’re talking one remote to in the darkness bind them.

Amazon is being cautious, though – after all, IR blasting is not as precise a science as people might think and the set up for controlling every channel on every service is going to take a lot of manual labour if yours isn’t one of the directly compatible tables.

The box supports full HDR (subject to a compatible cable) but is otherwise more or less exactly what you’d expect from a mixture of an Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire and a Logitech Harmony.

Even Alexa has been rethought, with the far field microphones arranged for listening for voices in front of it (your TV is most likely against a wall) and compensating for any TV noises.

As a result, there are a few things missing – most notably video and audio calling. We’re not quite ready for TV video calls yet, though we’d guess it’s only a matter of time.

Now the bad news – there’s no sign of a UK release, at least yet. In the US it will retail for $119.99 (about £90) and is available for preorder at the US Amazon site, ahead of full availability starting on 21 June. (US) Prime members ordering today will get it for $89.99 before the price hikes again tomorrow.

From launch, the Fire TV Cube is also eligible for the $3.99/m Amazon Music offer. Still no YouTube app though. µ  

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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