In a move to stitch its smart home tech with video streaming, Amazon introduced the Fire TV Cube, a 4K-capable streaming device that also supports the company’s voice-based Alexa technology.
The combo enables users to navigate content and apps and change channels with their voice, reducing the need for consumers to buy and install a separate Alexa-powered Echo device.
The Fire TV Cube, which broadens Amazon’s Fire TV device lineup beyond the core Fire TV box and Fire TV Streaming Stick, is slated to be released on June 21. The baseline pre-order price is $119 and includes the device and an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter, though Prime members are in line for a discounted price of $89.99, plus free shipping. Those who purchase and register a Fire TV Cube by July 1 will also get a $10 credit for Prime Video.
Amazon is also pitching a Fire TV Cube/Amazon Cloud Cam bundle for $199.
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The new entry employs eight microphones and supports smart-home capabilities and content delivered on traditional Echo devices. Apps supported by the Alexa element of the Fire TV Cube include Netflix, Amazon’s own Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, Fox Now, Showtime, Starz, PlayStation Vue, CBS All Access and NBC, among others.
Amazon said the Fire TV Cube is also compatible with set-tops from Comcast, Dish Network and DirecTV.
Amazon is introducing the new device as it starts to gain ground in the OTT device arena, a market that is still led by Roku, according to Parks Associates.
Amazon’s latest move might also push rivals such as Apple and Google to come out with streaming products that are more tightly integrated with their voice-powered platforms. Roku is also moving ahead with a strategy that enables its platform to work with a broader landscape of smart home technologies.