Bienvenue, Alexa: Amazon's digital assistant heads to France

Bienvenue, Alexa: Amazon's digital assistant heads to France

For those interested in putting another Alexa-powered device inside your home, the Fire Cube TV is already available for pre-order for $120. Thanks to its multi-directional infrared blaster, the Fire TV Cube can control your other home theater gear like your TV, sound bar, A/V receiver or cable / satellite box. The idea is that you can ask Alexa to start watching a program or channel, and the Fire TV Cube will turn on the TV, switch to the correct input, and begin playback on your behalf.

"You'll never guess how we came up with the name", Marc Whitten, vice president for Fire TV, deadpanned in an interview. "And, it's just the beginning". Amazon (AMZN) tweaked its Fire TV user interface for the Cube to make it a "more natural way to navigate", the company said in a statement.

There are variety of common features between the Fire TV Cube and the Apple TV 4K, including 4K HDR video, digital assistant support, Dolby Atmos support, and HDMI CEC. That's what you get with this new device. That's far more than the $70 Fire TV 4K stick and still pricier than Amazon's basic $100 Echo speaker. Amazon's Fire TV Cube device measures 86.1 x 86.1 x 76.9mm (3.4 x 3.4 x 3.0-inches) and weighs 465g. You can use your voice to play, pause, and resume content, but that's not all. An Xbox One can turn on your TV when you use a controller to turn on the console itself, or a Blu-ray player can adjust a TV's volume.

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The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's latest effort to position its devices, and the Alexa software, as an entertainment hub. Obviously, this is par for the course for most Alexa-based streaming devices - the real star is the fact that you can control your home entertainment hardware with this box.

You can pre-order the Fire TV Cube today for $119, and it'll include an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter. Streaming apps like Hulu and PlayStation Vue are supported as well. You can tell Alexa to play channel 31 and it will do it for you.

The Amazon Echo and Echo Spot are also more affordable, with the RRP of both devices set at €99.99 and €129.99, respectively, although at their sale prices they can be picked up for €49.99 and €64.99 apiece.

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