To allow users to control their television using Alexa, Amazon is rolling out the Amazon Fire TV Cube. The device, which is available for preorder starting on Thursday (June 7), allows consumers to use voice to play, pause and resume video content using the company's voice assistant, Amazon said in an announcement.
“We believe voice makes it easier for customers to control their entertainment systems and watch the TV and movies they care about,” Marc Whitten, vice president of Fire TV, said in the announcement. “And, it’s just the beginning. Amazon Fire TV Cube will only get better over time with the Alexa service always getting smarter.”
Using “far-field voice recognition” combined with eight microphones, the device is able to hear consumers from a distance away – from across the room, for example. In addition, beamforming technology reduces reverberation, noise and content playing from a television set to ensure that Alexa can understand requests.
The news comes as Sonos unveiled a new smart speaker – the Sonos Beam – that will come with support for Alexa and Apple’s AirPlay 2. With the technology, users will be able to control the smart speaker by using voice commands through both voice assistants, TechHive reported.
“All the tech giants are building smart speakers,” Sonos’ VP of hardware product management, Chris Kallai, said at an event introducing the device on Thursday (June 7). “But they’re not doing it so you can listen to all the music you want. And they’re all going after the same room, the kitchen. We’re focusing on the living room.”
In addition, Sonos will add functionality for AirPlay 2 to three other speakers: the Sonos One, the Sonos PLAYBASE and the second generation of the PLAY:5. Although older models of the company’s speakers will not come with compatibility for the feature, Sonos is still working on support for Google Assistant.