Amazon’s desire to power your television-viewing experience through its array of Fire TV devices took another step forward on Wednesday with the announcement of a new smart soundbar, a second-generation Fire TV Cube and more.
In Berlin at IFA 2019, Europe’s tech trade show, Amazon unveiled its first expansion of Fire TV Edition beyond smart televisions, teaming with Anker to launch the Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition. The device will turn any TV into a smart TV experience — and news of it happened to fall on the same day that competitor Roku announced its own soundbar doubling as a streaming box.
Amazon’s Nebula Soundbar features support for 4K Ultra HD, a unified smart TV user interface, near-field Alexa voice control, Dolby Vision pass through and more. The included Voice Remote with Alexa allows for navigation of the Fire TV experience as well as turning the compatible TV on and off, and control of soundbar functions like power, volume and mute.
It’s priced for pre-order at $229.99 in the U.S., with shipping beginning Nov. 21. The Roku device will reportedly sell for $180.
Amazon also unveiled the latest edition of its Alexa-enabled Cube, calling it the fastest and most powerful Fire TV device yet. Still priced at $119.99, the Cube update comes more than a year after the initial release of the product.
Behind a hexa-core processor, Amazon has boosted the hands-free voice control capabilities of the new Cube, with far-field voice recognition as well as Local Voice Control, an on-device processing feature that lets users more quickly execute frequent voice commands, such as “Alexa, scroll right,” “Alexa, go home,” “Alexa, select number one,” and more.
In a streaming media device market that includes players such as Google, Apple, and Roku, Fire TV leads the way with more than 37 million users around the world, according to Amazon.
“Fire TV Cube was the first hands-free streaming media player powered by Alexa, and since launching last year we have gathered a wealth of feedback from customers about how they use voice in the living room,” Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Fire TV, said in a news release. “Over the past year, we have continued to expand and advance the Fire TV Cube experience based on this feedback with dozens of new features including Multi-Room Music, Follow-Up Mode, and Alexa Communications.”
Fire TV Cube is available today for pre-order on Amazon in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany and Japan. It begins shipping Oct. 10 in the U.S.
Amazon’s lineup of new devices with Fire TV Edition integration included much more than the soundbar as it announced new partnerships and new generations of smart TVs.
Along with Best Buy, Amazon has already sold millions of Insignia and Toshiba Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the U.S. and Canada. A new 65-inch Toshiba with Dolby Vision will be available in the U.S. next month.
New collaborations in Europe with Dixons Carphone, MediaMarktSaturn and Grundig will bring Fire TV Edition smart TVs to customers in the U.K., Germany and Austria.