Amazon’s new smart speaker is a TV streaming box, and vice versa

Amazon launches Echo Look in U.S., could popularize computer vision via Alexa

It’s easy to get flash briefings from FOX6 News using Amazon’s ‘Alexa’

However, if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, you'll be able to get it for $89.99 on June 7 and June 8 - so don't delay, order today!

After making a request for, let's say, the Real Housewives of NY, the Cube will respond by serving up the user's cable, satellite box or some streaming apps. You can even search for TV and movies by director or actor.

The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's latest effort to position its devices, and the Alexa software, as an entertainment hub. It's compatible with set-top boxes from companies including Comcast, Dish and DirecTV, covering more than 90 percent of households with cable or satellite subscriptions, according to the company. $119 it's a Fire TV and an Amazon Echo.

Still, Amazon will be the first to combine a smart speaker and streaming player into one box, and is already a leader in both of those categories individually.

Amazon explains that, "Even with the TV off, simply say "Alexa, play Billions on SHOWTIME" and Fire TV Cube powers on your TV and starts playback right where you left off".

But thanks to a combination of HDMI-CEC and a series of IR blasters the Cube can also control the rest of your home theatre setup.

The Fire TV Cube can also show weather forecasts on the TV, order things from Amazon, make a phone call and control your smart home thermostat.

Like the Echo Show, which has a screen, the Fire TV Cube will have a visual component to some of the most common Alexa requests. It's that easy. Now you can hear us on your Amazon Echo!

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.

It all sounds rather ambitious, but at launch (which is due for June 21st in the U.S. with a United Kingdom release yet to be announced) the functionality will be more limited, restricting Alexa to more modest controls like volume and input selection.

You can turn off the microphone temporarily, too.

Amazon is launching the Fire TV Cube on June 21 for $120. "And, it's just the beginning". The result is that instead of just using voice commands to navigate content and menus, you can use them for pretty much everything involving your home entertainment set up, whether that's turning your TV on and off, changing the channel, adjusting the volume, or switching between different inputs.

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