It’s no secret that TV viewing is on a decline for the simple reason that consumers do not have much control over the content. The pandemic has made the situation worse; there is incessant flow of news and information around the health emergency that we are grappling with. At times, this can get somewhat depressing. Even before the pandemic, I came across many families (at least in the big cities) that have done away with cable/satellite TV connection; some of the key reasons cited—there is no control over the content, content is insipid, boring and somewhat irrelevant at times. Instead, when it comes to entertainment, Amazon Fire Stick (a media streaming device which lets you stream video, install apps, play music, etc., on your TV) is the top choice for many households.
Cut to present. There’s a new innovation from Amazon Devices that promises to bring viewers back to the big screen and deliver theatre-like experience in the living room. We are talking about the all-new Fire TV Cube (Rs 12,999), a streaming media player for a hands-free, Alexa-enabled Fire TV experience. “Fire TV Cube is our fastest and most powerful Fire TV device, developed after gathering a wealth of feedback about how customers use voice in the living room,” says Parag Gupta, head of Amazon Devices, India. “We have combined the far field voice technology of Echo devices with the much loved Fire TV user experience so that customers can use the convenience of Alexa to control their entertainment.”
Believe me, the Fire TV Cube feels downright futuristic. Basically, customers can voice control their entertainment system including compatible TV, set-top-box, Smart Home devices, A/V receivers, etc. For instance, you can watch your favourites from Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, Voot, and others. Plus, you can tune to live TV channels with cable or set-top box providers. Fire TV Cube gives you access to tens of thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills. The vast Fire TV catalog combined with powerful voice control makes it easier than ever to enjoy TV. Simply say, “Alexa, open Netflix” or “Alexa, find music videos on YouTube” or “Alexa, watch Pokemon on Voot Kids”.
In the box, you’ll get the Fire TV Cube, Alexa Voice Remote, Ethernet adapter, IR extender cable and power adapter; HDMI cable is not provided, users need to buy it separately to connect the device. Setting up your Fire TV Cube is easy. Place Fire TV Cube at least 1 to 2 feet away from speakers. Connect Fire TV Cube to your TV’s HDMI port and home internet. Follow the onscreen prompts to set up your entertainment system. Please note that if you have any of your entertainment system components tucked away inside a closed cabinet, use the optional IR extender, included with Fire TV Cube. Just plug it into the back of the device and place the head of the IR extender in the cabinet alongside your other devices. Now you should be up and running, and ready to use your Fire TV Cube.
Featuring an ultra-powerful hexa-core processor, the Fire TV Cube delivers a fast, fluid experience, with instant access to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 frames per second. You will enjoy the brilliant colour of Dolby Vision and HDR, and HDR 10+, as well as the audio clarity of Dolby Atmos on the Fire TV Cube.
As mentioned earlier, the Fire TV Cube features advanced far-field voice recognition with eight microphones and advanced beamforming technology that combines signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request when placed next to your TV. When combined with the powerful new processor, you can easily search and navigate content using just your voice, whether it’s through your cable or set-top boxes or streaming apps. From across the room, just say, “Alexa, switch on the TV” or “Alexa, watch Mirzapur ” and Alexa will respond to your request.
Technical speak, the Fire TV Cube uses multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols, and HDMI CEC, that when combined with Alexa, lets you control your compatible TV, sound bar, A/V receiver, cable, select set-top boxes, as well as other smart home devices. Fire TV Cube lets you dim the lights, check the weather, listen to the news, and more—even with the TV off with the built-in speaker.
In summary, this Amazon streaming media device combines the features of the Fire TV Stick with Echo smart speakers, letting users control their TV and other smart devices using their voice through Alexa. Needless to say, it’s a must-have for modern households.
Estimated street price: Rs 12,999