As part of its September 2022 devices event, Amazon has announced a new version of its Fire TV Cube streaming device, priced at $140. It’s the first streamer we’ve seen that includes an HDMI input in addition to its HDMI output, letting it display content from devices like cable or satellite set-top boxes or Blu-ray players, while it controls those devices via Alexa or the included remote control. And speaking of remotes, Amazon has upgraded that device as well. The $35 Alexa Voice Remote Pro now includes backlighting and a remote control finder feature — both of which are absent from the remote that Apple includes with its Apple TV 4K.
Oddly, Amazon decided the new Fire TV Cube will come with the standard Alexa Voice Remote — not the Pro model — for its $140 price, but you can add the $35 Voice Remote Pro when you order it.
You can pre-order both the newand the starting September 28 on amazon.com.
The third-gen Fire TV Cube, which now sports a fully fabric-wrapped exterior like the company’s line of Echo speakers, also has Wi-Fi 6E support and “Super Resolution Upscaling,” the latter of which takes any non-4K content like 1080p HD and greatly improves how it looks on a 4K TV.
Powering the new Cube is an Octa-core processor that Amazon says is twice as powerful as the silicon inside the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. If you found the previous Fire TV Cubes a bit sluggish, the company says you can expect “lightning-fast app starts” on the newest version.
The biggest benefit to the new HDMI input is that it simplifies interactions with your other devices. The Fire TV Cube has always included voice-command remote control, but it was a bit clunky. It involved sending infrared commands to your external devices like your cable box and TV and using them to trigger channel changes and HDMI input selection. Now, you can just say, “Alexa, tune to ESPN on cable,” and it will show up within the current Fire TV interface — no changing of inputs needed.
Another improvement is the addition of a full-size USB-A port on the back of the device. In the past, if you wanted to connect a webcam or a USB stick, you needed a MicroUSB-to-USB-A adapter, otherwise known as an on-the-go cable. Now, you can plug these devices in directly. Speaking of ports, there’s also an Ethernet port for wired connections, so no need to plug in an adapter if you don’t want to rely on Wi-Fi.
The new Alexa Voice Remote has a built-in speaker that lets it respond to the remote finder command with an audible beep. You can ask Alexa to find the remote, or you can use the dedicated Remote Finder button in Fire TV app on your mobile device. The remote also includes a motion-activated backlight, something we’ve only seen on the Nvidia Shield TV 2019.
The remote also has two customizable buttons you can program to create one-touch shortcuts to favorite apps, channels, or anything Alexa can do. For example, you could choose to program a button to have Alexa dim the lights, check the weather, or start an Alexa Routine for movie night.
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