Amazon Fire TV Cube: All the New 3rd-Gen Tricks, from 4K Upscaling to Voice Control
The hybrid Alexa device offers native 4K Ultra HD capability and mics for conversing with the Alexa assistant.
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
ExpertiseTy has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast.Credentials
Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Amazon says the latest version of its Fire TV Cube is "the best Fire TV streaming media player yet." Unveiled at the company's Echo and Ring Launch Event, the new TV Cube includes a 4K-upscaling HDMI input and enhanced networking.
Now in its third iteration, the Fire TV Cube combines a 4K Fire TV streamer and an Amazon Echo in a single chassis. Like every other cutting-edge streaming device, it offers native 4K Ultra HD capability with Dolby Vision, HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. It also has far-field mics for conversing with the Alexa assistant.
So what's new? The Fire TV Cube now includes a faster 2.0Ghz processor and upscaling to 4K ("Super Resolution Upscaling"), which offers better clarity for 1080p or even standard-definition video. Further, the device now includes an HDMI input which offers the ability to control a cable box, video disk player or game console via HDMI-CEC, and therefore also your voice. The Cube also includes a 360-degree IR blaster for compatible devices. You can also use the included Alexa Voice Remote, which may look similar to the just-announced Voice Remote Pro but it doesn't offer the remote finder, for example.
The HDMI input allows any connected device to use the Cube's scaler and this should work great for cable box connections. Amazon claims this is a first for a streaming device, while Oppo Blu-ray players also offered an HDMI input, enabling use of the device's video upscalers.
The device has a number of other features including an additional USB port for connecting a webcam for couch-based video calls as well as both an Ethernet port and the latest Wi-Fi 6E support.
The updated Cube adds some notable new capabilities to the video-streamer-slash-Echo: upscaling to 4K (which improves video quality overall as well), an HDMI input with global entertainment device control and upscaling processing to other devices, an additional USB port and more.
CNET's David Katzmaier called the original Fire TV Cube a "special device that breathes new life into your existing tech gear." The new version adds a couple of features making it even closer to the Logitech Harmony replacement he envisioned at the time. The Fire TV Cube looks to compare well against other hybrid devices like the Roku Streambar, especially if you don't need a speaker.