Fire TV Cube is a new device soon to be released by retail giant Amazon.
Now, nobody could accuse Amazon of not making enough Alexa devices. At time of writing there are seven devices (not including third-party units) dedicated to the voice assistant.
But we’re about to see one more added into the fold. Unlike the other smart speakers, this one isn’t going to bear the Echo moniker, instead being called the Fire TV Cube.
In this piece we’re going to be taking through everything we know for certain, the leaks, the rumors, and the things that we’re hoping to see from this new device.
[Update: On June 7 Amazon updated the Fire TV Cube listing on its US site, giving us a clear outline of what the hybrid device has to offer. The Cube combines the Fire TV’s streaming capability with a built-in Echo speaker, and can be operated entirely through voice commands. Set for US release on June 21, news on when it will come to other regions is sure to follow.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A Fire TV streaming player / Echo speaker hybrid
- When is it out? Set for a June 21 release in the US, with no fixed date for other regions
- What will it cost? $119.99, with no UK price confirmed
Fire TV Cube: official announcements
We now have official word from Amazon’s website, which has replaced its cryptic ‘What is Fire TV Cube?’ teaser with a full product listing and specifications, and official June 21 release date for the US.
The Cube offers a general technical upgrade on 2017’s Fire TV model, which also offered 4k Ultra HD support and Dolby Atmos audio across compatible streaming services linked to the device: Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and the like.
The upcoming iteration will also have its own Ethernet port, a larger 16GB of storage, and a built-in speaker – circumventing the need to use a TV’s audio output. With all those extra components, will come in at a heftier 465g.
Fire TV Cube: specifications
Voice search and control
Every function of the device is intended to be voice activated, combining capability from the Amazon Echo so that you won’t need an accompanying remote for streaming and playback (though one is included in the box).
You’ll be able to use voice commands to search and browse content, as well as pause and resume shows and films. Amazon are making much of the fact that this is their first ‘hands-free’ 4K streaming device.
It will naturally be powered by Amazon’s widespread voice assistant, Alexa, and be compatible with a variety of other smart home devices, whether that’s additional speakers, soundbars, thermostats, or cameras around your home.
The Fire TV Cube is retailing on Amazon for $119.99, with the option of including a Cloud Cam night-vision camera for a total of $199.98. Amazon hasn’t announced prices for other regions yet, but we’d expect the basic Cube to come in at around £120 in the UK.
Good sound quality
As a speaker specifically designed for television enthusiasts, we were hoping that the sound quality would be good enough that it can act as a television speaker, rather than a glorified television remote.
There’s no word on the audio output on the actual device, though we assume it will match the middling audio quality of the Echo or Echo Plus – making it perfectly acceptable for general use but not quite on the level of the Sonos One or HomePod.
Some users are likely to still want additional soundbars, speakers, or other hardware support, especially as the Cube will be able to play Dolby Atmos 7.1 surround sound content from compatible streaming services.
High frame rate
Like the 2017 Fire TV dongle, the Cube will be capable of streaming at frame rates as high as 60fps, but not at the 120fps some high-end television sets are coming out with. Maybe a Cube Plus model next year?
Fire TV Cube: leaks and rumors
We had a fairly solid idea of what the Fire TV Cube was going to look like (yes it’s a cube) thanks to a leak from AFTVNews. The leaked image included both the Cube and the 2017 Amazon Fire TV, which at that time hadn’t been revealed yet.
In the leak, AFTVNews confirmed that the device would have a far-field microphone array and speaker built in, as well as infrared emitter that would allow it to control televisions and A/V equipment – all of which turned out to be reliable information.