Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Nearly hands-free streaming TV device unveiled by Amazon

Amazon launches Echo Look in U.S., could popularize computer vision via Alexa Amazon’s new smart speaker is a TV streaming box, and vice versa
Mandy Jefferson | 09 June, 2018, 21:39

Priced at $120-it's $90 right now for Prime members-the Fire TV Cube is now the most expensive Fire TV product.

The Fire TV Cube will be available for pre-orders starting today and will cost $129.

It can also stream in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos, at least from services that are supported on Fire TV. The aforementioned far-field microphones, of which there are eight, use beamforming technology - the same featured in Amazon's Echo speakers - to combine the signals from individual microphones and suppress noise, reverberation, content playing on the Fire TV Cube, and competing speech. For instance, you can simply say something like "Alexa, play Billions on Showtime" to have the Fire TV Cube power up your TV and soundbar, open the Showtime app, and pick up playback where you left off.

But Fire TV Cube also has far-field voice recognition.

Now, it appears Jeff Bezos is at it again after the company announced its next Fire-branded TV streamer, called the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Users can even search for TV shows or movies by actor. Boom, full integration. It'll work with set-top boxes from Comcast, DISH, et al, too, in case you haven't fully cut the cord. Apart from controlling your TV and streaming your favorite show, the Cube can also fetch weather information or even let you control the smart devices. Another plus: since it's created to hook up to a TV, users can easily control and view smart camera feeds.

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Amazon adds that Alexa is "always getting smarter" so it's bound to be able to do more in time.

The Amazon Echo and Echo Spot are also more affordable, with the RRP of both devices set at €99.99 and €129.99, respectively, although at their sale prices they can be picked up for €49.99 and €64.99 apiece. Alexa on Echo Look is a style assistant that gives personalized recommendations, helps keep users' closets organized and provides fashion inspiration. As such, it is unlikely that we will see this smart speaker priced this low again until Amazon Prime Day. While German customers are now able to buy the Echo Dot at less than the €59.99 retail price, French customers will get the speaker for €10 less than their German neighbours, as the retailer has set the pricing at €29.99 for a limited time.

Commanding televisions with voice isn't new ground, for Amazon or the industry.

Google's Assistant software is also able to answer follow-up questions on the same topic, in a near-conversation style, but Echo as yet can not.

Do more with Alexa.

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