Amazon unveils Fire TV Cube, a streaming box with Alexa for $119

Above Amazon Echo Look Image Credit Amazon

Above Amazon Echo Look Image Credit Amazon

Amazon says it will ship beginning June 21 and be available that same day in Best Buy stores. Prime members that order today or tomorrow can take advantage of a special introductory offer and grab the gadget for just $89.99 - a savings of $30.

Amazon says it'll work with a number of compatible TVs, sound bars, A/V receivers and cable or satellite boxes. You can even search for TV and movies by director or actor.

As an Amazon Echo and a Fire TV (dongle) owner, I love the fact that I can control my TV with my voice. The Fire TV Cube is able to communicate with all these devices - and control - because it has four IR blasters built into its four sides.

Not only did the blue bar at the top edge of the Fire TV Clube light up with its signature pulsing glow, but the TV connected to the device - and the standing lights to the left and right of the TV - also turned on.

'We believe voice makes it easier for customers to control their entertainment systems and watch the TV and movies they care about, ' said Marc Whitten, vice president of Fire TV in a statement.

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Amazon's Alexa-enabled smart speakers are the most popular on the market, having moved "tens of millions" of units over the past year according to CEO Jeff Bezos. Like Amazon's other Fire TV devices, the Cube's actual remote control still lacks volume buttons and the ability to talk to other devices via infrared, so if you don't feel like talking to the TV, you'll need a second remote to turn up the volume. Amazon is also bundling a separate IR extender with the Cube, making it possible to reach devices hidden away in cabinets and such.

Google's Assistant software is also able to answer follow-up questions on the same topic, in a near-conversation style, but Echo as yet can not.

The Fire TV Cube could even push more streaming video providers to add Alexa controls to their apps.

Although it's always listening, it's not always recording what you're saying. Users can ask Alexa to scroll through content, pause, play, or return to the main screen. Amazon's previous Fire TV flagship, the Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote retails for $69.99, while the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is just $39.99.

It's a potent little package in many ways.

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