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Amazon’s Fire TV Cube squeezes an Echo into its set-top box

Amazon first introduced the Echo smart speaker, its virtual assistant Alexa and Fire TV set-top video box four years back . Now, the two products are converging in a way they haven’t before, in the form of the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Essentially it is a cube-shaped box you plug in to your TV which runs the expected suite of apps like Netflix, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, HBO Go, Sling and Amazon’s Prime Video service.

But the Fire TV Cube is essentially a full-featured Echo, as well. It’s always listening for the Alexa wake word, and you can talk to it even when your TV is off. The new box has eight microphones built in, similar to existing Echo hardware, which means you can speak to Alexa whenever you want as well as navigate the Fire TV Cube’s interface with your voice.

Amazon claims that the Cube supports boxes from Comcast, Dish and DirecTV and that 90 percent of households with cable or satellite TV should be covered. And if you want to hide your ugly cable box away from your otherwise-pristine living room setup, Amazon is even including an IR extension cable that you can place next to your cable box. That lets the Cube turn it on and off when the two devices aren’t in line-of-sight.

It is compatible with PlayStation Vue or Hulu’s live TV.The Fire TV Cube can adjust smart home devices and run the many skills that are available; when possible, it’ll do so with visuals. The Cube will do just about everything that an Echo can do.

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