Fire TV Cube = Logitech Harmony + Amazon Echo

Today, I received my Amazon Fire TV Cube right at my doorsteps and was able to set it up in about half an hour including the installation of all my apps — mostly to watch TV shows and movies all over the web.

I would admit it’s a fascinating yet cheap -got it at the pre-sale price of $89– device but only if these factors are present in your setup:

  • Very fast internet connection – the unit has dual-band WiFi ac built-in but an Ethernet (10/100) adapter is included  with the set
  • A Smart 4K (UHD) TV (recommended) or any TV that uses an HDMI input
  • And, if you have an AV system, the receiver(s) -the TV provider box and/or the home theater receiver- must be compatible

It was only a few years back -January 2015 to be exact- when Amazon launched their very first salvo in the home automation market with the Amazon Echo.

The Fire TV Cube
Amazon’s latest play in the very lucrative “smart home” market

They had since integrated the core Alexa ‘far-field voice control and recognition’ technology from the Echo into almost all their line-up of devices including the cheapest Fire TV Stick.

Now with the Fire TV Cube, Amazon had one-upped again the competition by  crossing-over an Echo with the capabilities of today’s web-connected TVs and audio systems.

While the Echo was such a ground-breaking gadget in itself that led Apple and Google to release their own incarnations in the HomePod & Google Home respectively, the Fire TV Cube clearly targets a market segment dominated by Fremont, California-based Logitech: the smart-universal remote control.

Fire TV Cube has buttons for volume control, microphone muting as well as an ‘action’ button

Although the Fire TV Cube set includes the similar remote that comes with any Alexa-built-in Fire TV devices (note: the first 2 generations of the Fire TV devices didn’t have Alexa), it is mainly used to enter information like usernames & passwords to services like Hulu, Sling, Netflix, YouTube, etc., as well as to install and to operate open-source apps.

Amazon advertises the Fire TV Cube as a device to “control your TV hands free from across the room” but the applications and possible uses are so much more than that — all in a very, very small package.

 

Update:  Sometime in October of 2018, Amazon came up with a new version of the Alexa Voice Remote (2nd generation) with TV control for the Fire TV series and now comes bundled with the latest Fire TV Stick (4K) and the Fire TV Cube.  By itself, the new remote costs $30.

It now has dedicated buttons for power, mute & volume (up/down) –  to control some TV functions.

However, the new remote is compatible only with newer versions of the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick (4K), Fire TV (3rd gen – pendant style) and the Fire TV Cube.

Amazon had also discontinued the original, square Fire TV with built-in Ethernet series as well as the Fire TV (3rd-gen, pendant style).

The 2nd Generation Alexa Voice Remote for Fire TV with TV Control

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