June, 9 2018 | India
Amazon unveiled it's new box looking like streaming media player naming it Fire TV Cube. It's capable of streaming 4K Ultra HD vivid picture quality upto 60 fps with Dolby Atmos for life like sound. It has inbuilt Alexa into it nearly delivering hands-free operation where you just ask it to turn TV and it does! It also has built in speaker, akin Echo Dot and let's you interact with it. You can ask it about weather or tell it to read news or tell to fire a song all of it even when your TV is off.
Amazon claims the Fire TV Cube has been equipped with far-field voice recognition with about eight microphones and beamforming technology which make it hear you from about any direction. You can Search, Play, Pause and control yourTV and set top box with your voice. What's more interesting is that we came to know about heavy usage of IR blasters in about all directions. The IR blasters (or IR Sensor) is something you must have also seen in your budget device, for example, Xiaomi Redmi series with Mi Remote Controller application. It is also akin to the small sensor in front of the TV, STB remote control (yeah that round transparent LED which never emits visible light but infra red light). The IR blasters would let the Fire TV Cube to interact with pretty much all devices however you may need to check here whether your device is supported. It supports wide ranges of devices right through cloud, infrared, HDMI-CEC and more being added.
Interacting with TV now becomes more natural where you can 'command' Alexa to turn on the TV, tune in to a specific program, turn up the TV volume, etc. Here are few things you could say
Alexa, turn on the TV.
Alexa, tune to ESPN.
Alexa, turn on the volume.
Alexa, open Netflix
Fire TV Cube also comes along with more traditional 'remote control' for those times when you just don't want to disturb you napping/sleeping better half 🙂
The Fire TV Cube has a built in speaker which is sort of like Echo Dot which let's you interact with it. You can ask Alexa to play music while Fire TV Cube turns on your TV and plays the onscreen album art. You could simultaneously view camera feed, control lights, thermostat and more smart home devices. The thing that is not currently supported is messaging or making phone calls from your mobile devices. Some of the thing you can to Alexa for control your devices and of it would all depend upon your device support.
Alexa, dim the lights.
Alexa, order popcorn.
Alexa, set thermostat to 72 degrees
Amazon has partnered with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC and several others which brings you around 500,000 movies and TV episodes to keep you always entertained. You could also stream the videos (through web browser though) from YouTube, Facebook and Reddit. You can as well stream songs from Prime Music, Spotify, etc. but of course with a subscription fees.
If you already have Amazon Prime membership you could enjoy Amazon Originals on your TV boxes some of which are really catchy and engaging. With Prime you could also add premium channels HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC those of which would be streamed via web which means no STB required however they would come along with additional charge. You could start a free trial though to kick the tires.
So all in all it seems the Home Automation and Entertainment market is now seems to be focus of majority of tech giants which are coming along with their pods or boxes namely HomePod, XBOX, PSP, Google Home. The day won't be far when each one of us would have our personal 'Jarvis'!
Image source: Amazon.com
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