Cracking open the Amazon Fire TV Cube
9:11

Cracking open the Amazon Fire TV Cube

Gadgets
[MUSIC] Welcome to CNET's Cracking Open. I'm Jason Hiner with Bill Detwiler and today we're cracking open the Amazon Fire Cube. So Bill, tell us about what Amazon's done with this device and why we're cracking it open, what we're gonna do today. Yeah, this is really cool because what Amazon has done is they've taken the really popular Alexa service and their Echo devices and basically merged it together with their Fire TV devices. And this device not only lets you control the television via the voice commands, but some of your other components. And so we thought it would be a really cool idea to take this apart to see what technology is inside it and to see how it does that. Also as a bonus, I have an Amazon Fire TV stick and an Amazon Fire TV, a little 3rd generation one here. I thought we could take those apart as well and compare the technology inside them to what's inside the Fire TV cube. Very good. Yeah, so let's take this thing apart here. The first thing we're going to do is remove The rubber base, you can just, there's some double-sided tape on the rubber base. So if we slip a tool in here and work our way around it we can pop this off fairly easily, like so. And so we get our first look at the speaker inside the box. And there are four torque Screws down in there. We're gonna go ahead and remove those. [BLANK_AUDIO] All right, the **** is loose. We're going to turn this over and allow the screws to come out. So you can see we have one, two, three, four screws and four washers. It's always a good idea wherever we're taking things apart to try and keep track of your screws and keep track of what goes. In what position? With the screws out, we can now lift out the guts. The internal components of the device. We open the plastic shell. And so, there we go. We have our first look inside the far [UNKNOWN]. Also down in here we see the speaker assembly and a wire is connecting the speaker. We flip this over. We can take the speaker out. The speaker here is for Alexa's feedback that you get, obviously the audio that comes from your streaming signal would come out of your TV, or your AV receiver, whatever you have. And there are no wires, I found this really interesting. There is just a contact there that connects the speaker to the internal components. Now we turn our attention to the main components here. We have a pair of circuit boards, one on the bottom, which has the inputs here, the power inputs, the HDMI outputs, the IR blaster output. And then we have a USB output here, that goes with, it has Wi-Fi, but you can use it with an Ethernet network adapter We see these small little cables here here that connect the two boards. These are likely antenna cables and then there's a flat cable here that connects the boards. So we're gonna go ahead and remove those. So Jason, now that we have the [UNKNOWN] out of it's case, we can kinda see one of the ways that the device can control your other components, right? So It can control your AV receiver, it can control your TV through the HDMI port if your devices support that. But for devices that are not connected through a HDMI cable, it can use infrared. So it has a series of these IR blasters all around the device. Wow! Look at all of them. Yeah, so it can sort of Create and sort of bathe the area around it in an IR signal, and that allows it to control things like your cable TV box, other devices maybe that don't necessarily, that aren't connect to Directly to it with an HDMI cable. So you couldn't just put this on top of your device, right? You would have to put it next to it or slightly in front of it or- You do. Arrange it just so. Positioning is important with this device. For devices that may be in a cabinet- Yeah. For devices that aren't close to it, if you wanna set it behind the device and it can't, the signal can't reach the front of the device Or whatever their receiver is, they actually do have a little extender here Nice. That connects to the bottom of it. I actually had to use this. I've been using the device for about a week and I had to use this for my cable box. Alright. Let's go ahead and I'm gona keep this [UNKNOWN] device. We're gonna take the circuit board off. We're gonna. Separate the control board at the top, and we'll see what's inside of this metal body part of it here too. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Whenever we're taking these devices apart we try to be really careful and not break any of the cables or the connectors. Put this around like this. [MUSIC]. [INAUDIBLE]. This cable [INAUDIBLE]. [MUSIC]. I don't like [INAUDIBLE]. Cable. [MUSIC]. So now we can see inside here, there's nothing inside the space. And we can see the cable is attached here with adhesive. That's why we'll be careful not to separate, not to force those open. We don't see any screws holding on the circuit board here at the bottom so what we're going to do is we're going to try and see if we can't pry open the adhesive And it just pops loose. There was a little bit of thermal cushion in here. [MUSIC] More screws. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] And so here what we can see are the contacts for the control buttons on the top [INAUDIBLE], and I can remove the little rubber buttons themselves. And we can see the contacts for the control buttons. We can see the LEDs. The button over here, we can see The row of l e d's there's a blue light that appears you know multi coloured light that can appear on the first of this or the front of the device and here are the l e d's here and now we've found our attention back over to the circuit board here and we'll see if we can remove the metal shield These are RF electromagnetic metal shields. And they fly off if you're not careful. Alright and now we get our first look at the chips. Alright Bill so we've got everything apart, the Amazon Fire Tv Cube and a couple of the other Amazon devices. Tell us what we're looking at and what we want. Yeah so it's really cool to see the technology that makes a Fire TV and Alexa enabled device and kind of like an echo. So what you are holding is the Fire TV stick and the Fire TV, it's originally from Fire TV, and you can really see the similarities between in the chips like they are basically almost identical. On the third generation Fire TV, and the Fire TV queue. IT's got an AM logic processor. It's an S905Z, and the one difference is the fire TV cube has twice as much storage as the Fire TV. This one has the same disk Chip in it for the storage. What's really interesting is you can see the progression of the technology from the Fire TV Stick, to the Fire TV, to the Fire TV Cube. And we can see the technology that is required to sort of make this like an Echo, an Alexa-enabled device. Without using the remote. So it's really cool to see that. Alright, so you have seen it. The Amazon Fire TVQ cracked open. Find all of our Cracking Opens on CNet, all of our Cracking Open photos on sister site Tech Republic and if you have a device that you'd like to see us crack open next, leave us a note in the comments. We're always looking for new stuff to break apart, to learn about, and to share our insights with use. So, thanks for watching and we'll see you next time. [MUSIC]

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