We can all agree that one of the most annoying aspects of watching TV is not finding the right remote when you need it. Or having too many remotes on your lap while watching TV. This can be quite annoying especially when you have more than three devices that need remotes for channel switching or volume control.
Because of this, more and more people are switching to devices such as The Amazon Echo or similar devices to enable voice controls. The problem is, you need one device that connects to other devices that connect to other devices. Ugh, just too much work! Also, if you get one connection wrong, you might be stuck with hours of troubleshooting, trying to find out what the problem is.
Amazon is helping out with this. Introducing the Amazon Fire cube.
What is the Amazon Fire cube?
It might not be the most creative name, but the Fire TV cube is what it sounds like, a cube that controls all your devices. It uses Alexa commands(Amazon, duh!) to control a variety of devices including:
- Your TV
- The smart lights in your home
That is not all as in this Fire TV cube review we will see how it helps you access and control YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, NBC and more.
Fire TV Cube Specs
Click to see all Fire TV Cube Technical Specs
|Size||3.4” x 3.4” x 3.0” (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|
|Storage||16 GB internal|
|Wi-Fi connectivity||Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.|
|Bluetooth||Yes, with Alexa Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS)|
|Voice support||Far-field and near-field voice support|
|Voice control compatibility||Fire TV Cube can control a wide range of IR-enabled devices, including TVs, sound bars, cable and satellite boxes, and A/V receivers. Learn more about supported devices.|
|Cloud storage||Free cloud storage for digital content purchased from Amazon|
|Ports||HDMI, Power, Micro USB, Wired Infrared support|
|Included audio||Built-in 1.6” (40 mm) speaker to interact with Alexa–even when the TV is off. Fire TV Cube uses your entertainment system speakers for entertainment experiences and will turn on your TV, sound bar, or A/V receiver to play these.|
|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|
|Output resolution supported||2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60 fps|
|System requirements||High-definition television with available high speed HDMI input, high speed internet connection via Wi-Fi or inbox Ethernet accessory, power outlet, (compatible TV/sound/cable equipment for control by infrared or voice). High Speed HDMI cable and 4K TV with high speed HDMI connector required for 4K viewing and more reliable device control.|
|TV compatibility||TV must support minimum HDCP requirements for protected content playback. Learn more. Able to control (1) 4K ultra high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 Hz and HDCP 2.2, including popular models from LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and others or (2) high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 50/60 Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse, and others. (For device control, certain functions may not be available on some devices).|
|Included in the box||Fire TV Cube, Alexa Voice Remote, power adapter, quick start guide, marketing guide, 2 AAA batteries, infrared (IR) extender cable, Amazon Ethernet Adapter (10/100)|
Fire TV Cube speakers
The fire TV cube comes with inbuilt speakers which, if we are being totally honest, are not the best speakers you have ever heard. That said, they do a decent job when you are looking for simple information like the weather or the news.
For other tasks, the Fire TV cube will route your Audio to connected TVs or soundbars which is pretty neat in itself.
“Alexa, dim the lights.”
The Fire TV Cube uses what is known as far-field voice recognition. This, combined with its beamforming technologies, allows the cube to hear you from up to 20 feet out.
Because of this, you can ask Alexa to turn on any of your connected devices, adjust your TV or soundbar volume, rewind or forward TV, dim the lights, change a channel, open an app and a lot more.
Amazon understands that voice controls may not be as intuitive at times and because of this, they have provided a remote to go with your Fire TV cube.
Amazon has added voice commands for a number of smart devices including video cameras, lights, thermostats and many more. All you have to do is ask Alexa to control any of them for you.
Our impressions – Overall
The Amazon fire TV cube starts at $119.99 on Amazon, and this is what you get in the box.
$119.99 is a pretty fair price considering what this device can do and its specs. The only quarrel we have with Amazon is that they did not include an HDMI cable in the box.
Also, the Fire TV cube is meant to combine the best of Fire TV(Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO etc.) plus the voice capabilities of The Amazon Echo. It does this pretty well although we did see some lag when switching from TV to maybe watching a live video feed. We will write that off to our internet connection.
Also, the voice commands can be a hit or miss and you may have to repeat yourself once or twice to get the desired effect. That did not happen too often, but it is something you ought to keep in mind.
The added speakers are not meant to do much, and so we cannot fault them for not being the best speakers you ever heard. That said, they are loud enough to hear from a distance of about 20 feet. Alexa is also smart enough to recognise when you say the wake word, “Alexa” and will pause any other audio so you can hear its responses.
The eight included microphones are very good at picking voices. As said above, they do miss in a very small number of instances.
Controlling other devices
This is where the Fire TV Cube wins. It makes it easy to control other devices with very little perceived lag as it switches over. As we noted, your mileage may vary depending on how fast your internet is.
Searching for and controlling content on the Fire TV Cube
Alexa has some new commands which you can use to refine your searches and even drill down to the specific content you may be looking or.
If you give Alexa a command such as, “Alexa, show action movies”, it will show you a list of movies from the different services that are available. If you don’t like the first page, just say, “show more” or “scroll right” to keep going.
For TV channels, you can use commands such as “Tune to CNN”, and the cube will switch inputs to your cable provider and then tune into that specific channel.
Please note that you can’t go to specific programmes, yet. For example, saying “switch to the Cavaliers game” will not take you to the game. That said, it is rumoured that this functionality will be added to streaming services such as HULU in the future.
It is possible to purchase or rent movies or TV shows through the Fire TV Cube. We haven’t had a chance to try this yet, so we don’t have the commands for you, sorry.
We love the Amazon Fire TV Cube
We love the Fire TV cube for several reasons, one of the biggest ones being convenience. Now you can walk into a room and have the TV on before you sit down. You can also have music playing, or the lights dimmed before your date realises what has happened.
Having fewer remotes is also an added advantage for when you want to kick back and not have to reach for them or when you cannot find them.
The Fire TV Cube is not perfect, it has a little bit of way to go. We just hope Amazon keeps improving it so we can go full remoteless.
Get it on Amazon
Liked this review? Don’t forget to share as it does help us a lot. Thanks