The Fire TV Cube is officially here. The handy device combines the best of the traditional Amazon Fire TV streaming platform with that of Amazon's Echo family of speakers and the result is a cord-cutting, smart-home lover's dream come true.
You can snag one for yourself starting at $119.99 here in the US starting on June 21, with other regions and availability still to be announced by Amazon.
We've reached out to Amazon for additional details, and should hopefully have a review of the Amazon Fire TV Cube live on the website.
Until then, what follows is everything we know about Amazon's amalgamation of the smart home and streaming business it's worked the last decade to build.
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.
As a TV speaker, the Cube is thankfully able to link multiple devices together with its infrared sensor (or IR cable for devices out of sight) to make a tannoy or surround-sound system.
This is a feature that Apple has been touting for the HomePod, but is yet to deliver. With Amazon's existing network of Echo devices, and a growing list of third-party devices offering Alexa compatibility, we’re hoping this technology can be used to solve the problem that is still taxing Apple.
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.
- Want to know about what else Amazon's been working on? Check out: Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition makes Alexa voice assistant child friendly