The Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s way of trying to fully push and incorporate its Alexa smart virtual assistant to your home entertainment system. The trillion-dollar American tech company already own two of the industry’s leading smart home products: the Amazon Echo (and Echo Dot) series of smart home speaker, as well as the Fire TV media streamer that turns your ordinary (read: dumb) TV into a smart one.
The Fire TV Cube, however, is Amazon combining these two products into one small cube that can fit perfectly into your pocket. Being the latest addition to Amazon’s Fire TV series, the Cube is the future of home TV entertainment. Although this is the first-gen edition and the hardware, its features, and overall tech are still relatively new, the Fire TV Cube is, no doubt, a revolutionary gadget from Amazon and would be a perfect addition to users whose streaming needs are entirely provided by Amazon.
Amazon Fire Cube TV Key Specifications
- Size – 3.4 x 3.4 x 3.0 inch (86.1 mm x 86.1 mm x 76.9 mm)
- Weight – 16.4 oz (465 g)
- Processor – Quad-core up to 1.5 GHz | ARM 4xCA53
- GPU – Mali450 MP3
- Storage – 16 GB internal
- Memory – 2 GB
- Wi-Fi connectivity – Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
- Bluetooth – BT 4.2 and BLE
- Ports – HDMI, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support
- Included audio/Speaker – Built-in 1.6-inch (40 mm) speaker to interact with Alexa–even when the TV is off.
- Audio support – Dolby Atmos, 7.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 5.1
- Content formats supported – Video: HDR-10. H.265, H.264, Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
- Supported Video Output resolution – 2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60 fps
While it is called the Fire TV Cube, the device isn’t totally a cube because it sports a dimension of 3.4 x 3.4 x 3.0 inch, meaning its height is shorter than its length and width. However, the device is small and might actually go unnoticed when placed on your TV stand or in your entertainment center.
The device is made entirely out of plastic that feels solid and sturdily built. All the connection ports needed to power the device and connect to your TV, speakers, and the internet are on the rear of the device. As listed above, port selection on the device includes the HDMI (sadly there’s no cable out-of-the-box), power port, wired infrared (IR) extender and a micro USB port.
At the top of the device, eight (8) far-field microphones are embedded. They are visible, pretty easy to see without having to take a closer look and pick up voices from anywhere across the room. At a rather awkward position is the Fire TV’s speaker: at the bottom of the device. The speaker is sized 1.6-inch and despite firing sound downwards, echoes Alexa’s responses loud enough for users to hear, only when the TV is switched off though. Otherwise, all responses are routed through your TV speakers or your home theatre speakers and soundbars.
Of course, the Fire TV’s speaker is nowhere near the Echo speakers and isn’t ideal for playing music, stand-alone. The glowing blue LED light at the top edge of the device is also a great aesthetical addition.
The Fire TV Cube is clever. It can be safely said to be more clever than other Amazon Fire TV and Echo speaker devices. Without having to raise your voice, the 8 far-field microphones of the device can pick up up commands from up to 20 feet away. Below are some of the things the Amazon Fire TV Cube is capable of:
- Vocally increase or lower the volume of your TV
- Turn your TV on and off using “Alexa, turn on/off the TV” command
- Switch between multiple TV inputs with ease using voice commands e.g.”Alexa, switch to HDMI 2,” “Alexa, switch to PlayStation,” or “Alexa, switch to Roku.”
- Tune to and switch between TV shows and channel e.g. “Alexa, watch Mission Impossible,” or “Alexa, show me action movies.”
- Pause and resume TV shows, movies, etc.
- The Fire TV Cube is capable of muting audio on other devices when you say the “Alexa” wake-word, so you can hear its responses
Basically, with the Fire TV Cube, Amazon is putting your TV and entire entertainment system’s remote control in your mouth. And while the device in itself comes with a remote control, you would still need to use your voice for some actions like changing volume.
The functionalities of the Fire TV Cube isn’t limited to your television set though, it spreads wide across your sound bar, satellite boxes and cable TVs etc The TV is sort of the core of its operation.
The Fire TV Cube was released by Amazon back in June 2018. The launched with a price of $119.99 but currently sells at a deal price of $69.99 on Amazon.