Today, we are excited to introduce Amazon Fire TV Cube, a hands-free 4K Ultra HD streaming media player with Alexa, allowing you to control your TV from across the room. You can find and watch your favorite TV shows and movies, power your TV on and off, change the volume, switch to different inputs, and change the cable channel—all with just your voice. Even with the TV off, you can simply say a command and Fire TV Cube powers on the TV and sound system, and starts playback right where you left off.
For developers, the Fire TV Cube offers a new way for customers to discover their content. Customers can search for content within a certain genre, saying things like “Alexa, find dramas.” The Fire TV Cube will then display all relevant content in a new search interface, where customers can use their voice to scroll through the results and launch the movie or show they requested, or download an app.
Amazon Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order starting today for $119.99 and ships with an IR extender cable and Ethernet adapter beginning on June 21. As an introductory offer, Prime members can pre-order Fire TV Cube on June 7 and 8 for a special price of $89.99—a $30 savings.
Engage your customers with voice
Building a voice-forward experience allows you to create a new level of convenience for your customers. They can simply use their voice to find and enjoy content they love, without needing to use a remote.
Amazon Fire TV Cube uses far-field voice recognition with eight microphones to hear you even from across the room. Advanced beamforming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even next to your TV.
Many apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, FOX NOW, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PlayStation Vue, CBS All Access, NBC, and others have integrated even further with Alexa. For example, customers can say, “Alexa, watch This is Us on NBC” or “Alexa, tune to CBS.”
For any app that customers have already downloaded, they can instantly launch right into it by saying, “Alexa, open [name of app].” There is no work required to enable this “open app” voice command.
Want to create a more robust voice-forward experience for your customers? Here are three steps to enable voice control in your apps:
First, check to see if you have already implemented the Media Sessions API. If you have, all you need to do is add the permission to the manifest file and implement voice commands for transport controls like play, pause, resume, rewind, fast-forward, and skip content. If you haven't, click here to get started with Media Session.
Integrate your media catalog with Amazon Fire TV so your content can be included in universal browse and search results. And, regardless of where users find your content in the Fire TV interface, they can play it directly without needing to open your app first. If your titles are indexed on IMDB or Amazon Video, you are eligible for catalog integration.
Once your app has gone through catalog integration, you can use the Video Skill API to allow customers to launch content, search within your app, change the channel, and use transport controls with their voice.
Is your Fire TV app ready?
If you currently have apps on Fire TV, be sure to upgrade them to Fire OS 6 so that they are compatible with the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Notable changes from Fire OS 5 to Fire OS 6 include checking permissions at runtime and linking to private libraries. To learn more about upgrading to Fire OS 6, click here.
If you’ve never released an app for Fire TV, head over to Getting Started Developing Apps (Amazon Fire TV) for a quick intro. You’ll learn about development options (for example, native versus web apps), device and media specifications, and APIs that are available to you. You can also drag and drop your Android APK into our app testing tool to see if your app is already compatible for Fire TV with no additional coding required.