Amazon unveils Fire TV Cube, a streaming box with Alexa for $119

Amazon launches Echo Look in U.S., could popularize computer vision via Alexa

Amazon has announced the Fire TV Cube, a new product in its series of media players that is controlled entirely by voice. It's pretty great. Up to this point, however, I needed two Amazon smart devices working together to do this - an Echo ($100) and a Fire TV ($70) - but that's changing today with Amazon's newest smart device: the Fire TV Cube ($120). The small 4K Ultra HD streaming box is a smart speaker, like an Echo, that can play music and answer questions, and it can control your TV like like a Fire TV dongle. Like Amazon's other Fire TV devices, the Cube's actual remote control still lacks volume buttons and the ability to talk to other devices via infrared, so if you don't feel like talking to the TV, you'll need a second remote to turn up the volume. The idea is that you can ask Alexa to start watching a program or channel, and the Fire TV Cube will turn on the TV, switch to the correct input, and begin playback on your behalf.

Fire TV Cube comes with an array of eight microphones - one more than the second-generation Echo speaker released past year - giving the device the ability to hear commands spoken from across a room.

'We believe voice makes it easier for customers to control their entertainment systems and watch the TV and movies they care about, ' said Marc Whitten, vice president of Fire TV in a statement.

Amazon has unveiled the latest addition to its Fire TV lineup.

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Preorders for the Fire TV Cube started Thursday for $119.99, and the device ships with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter beginning on June 21. It's now available for pre-order by Prime members Thursday and Friday for $89.99. Customers who purchase and register their Fire TV Cube by July 1, will also receive a $10 credit for Prime Video. You can check out the full list of features for the Fire TV Cube below, then it's decision time.

As smart and useful as our TV sets have gotten, how we interact with them remains quite dumb. This includes being able to use your voice to control streaming apps like Hulu and PlayStation Vue as well as HBO, SHOWTIME, and STARZ through Amazon Channels.

However, Amazon's Alexa software has a wider range of skills on offer that enable it to link up with and control more third-party devices around the home.

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