Amazon Releases New Alexa Voice Remote Pro, Fire TV, and Fire Cube
Amazon unveiled a new Fire TV line, Fire Cube, and Alexa Voice Remote Pro at its annual hardware and services event on Wednesday. The rapid-fire rollout of new and upgraded devices and Alexa features made it clear that the company’s long-term movement toward blurring the line between smart TVs and smart displays has not stopped, with some differences only evident based on screen size and location in a home.
Cubes and Voice Remotes
The new Alexa Voice Remote Pro offers some notable upgrades from its predecessor. It’s the first to include customizable buttons, two of them that a user can link to favorite channels, streaming apps, smart home commands, or even full Alexa Routines. On the hardware side, the $35 remote comes with a motion-activated backlight for the buttons and a small speaker for the new “remote finder” feature, which causes the device to beep when the owner either asks Alexa or activates it with the Fire TV app.
“You can simply ask Alexa to locate the remote when it’s been lost in the depths of the couch,” Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services vice president Daniel Rausch said in his presentation. “I’ve had it for a few months and I can tell you it is already probably the most used feature in my house that we have ever shipped with a Fire TV.”
The new Fire TV Cube, the third iteration of the device, ups the processing power and support for high-end visuals, as well s offering Wi-Fi support. The $140 Cube includes its own HDMI port, enabling voice control of TV input by asking Alexa to tune to a channel on cable or other connected devices.
“The all-new Fire TV Cube is a big step forward for Fire TV—it’s the fastest, most powerful, and most versatile streaming media player we’ve ever made,” Rausch said. “This Fire TV Cube’s powerful processing and Wi-Fi 6E support deliver an incredibly smooth streaming experience, and HDMI input means you can instantly extend the simplicity of Fire TV and hands-free Alexa control to your home entertainment system.”
Fire TV Omni QLED
The new Fire TV Omni QLED Series of smart TVs upgrades the current line of TV with more features that make it behave like a high-powered and extra-large smart display through what Amazon calls the ‘ambient experience.’ Along with improved graphics and sound, the new TV adds features like adaptive brightness to change the lighting of the TV, including turning the display on or off depending on if people are in the room. When they are, the TV runs artwork, photos, event calendars, or local information in the form of Alexa widgets that the voice assistant can elaborate on when asked. The TV is the first to offer the new “What Should I Watch” widget as well, which prompts Alexa to recommend entertainment ideas based on what’s trending. The Omni QLED is available for pre-order at $800 for the 65-inch model and $1,100 for the 75-inch version.
“We’ve all been buying so-called smart TVs for decades, but they’re really not all that smart—and for much of the day, they’re not beautiful or useful either,” Rausch said. “The Omni QLED Series delivers stunning artwork, glanceable information, hands-free controls, and so much more–it reimagines what customers can expect from a smart TV.”