Amazon announces Fire TV Cube

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

There have been plenty of valiant attempts from would-be hero devices like Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV, as well as from live TV streaming services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

So rather than killing the cable box, Amazon aims to embrace it.

Amazon says the Fire TV Cube is essentially a hands-free device that can stream 4K Ultra HD video. Add in hands-free 4K streaming media via Netflix, Hulu, Amazon's own service, and all those other apps and Bezos and Co. seem to have a victor. Call or message your family and friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with Amazon Music, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. At this juncture, the Fire TV Cube seems more like a work in progress and there is no doubt that further updates will better the device.

You also get wired infrared remote support.

The standard version comes with an IR extender cable, remote and an Ethernet adapter. Yeah, the Cube supports both. Alexa arrives in France via a complete redesign specific to the language, including a new French voice, a help function built completely in French, local knowledge, and several hundred skills devised for France by developers. 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.

Jutanugarn earns four-stroke lead at U.S. Women's Open
But Kim made bogey - her first of the day - on 18 while Jutanugarn made par again to send the format to sudden death. Her confidence shaken, she had another bogey on 12 and the tournament was suddenly much closer than anyone expected.

The cube sits next to your TV, and assuming you have an HDMI CEC compatible screen, will fully control your television and what's streaming on it.

Those wanting a good sound experience, as well as the Alexa voice assistant, will not have to settle for the Echo speakers. Pressing the fast-forward button is just easier. Sure, you can do that with commands Amazon has created for the Fire Cube, such as "Alexa, show me more", but it's better with a remote.

Amazon on Wednesday announced that its digital assistant Alexa is heading for France in Echo voice-commanded speakers as of next week. Advanced beamforming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content now playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even next to your TV.

Amazon's newest product combines two of its hardware families into one. Never leave the house looking like a slob again.

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