Amazon to Debut Two New Fire TVs, One With Built-In Alexa

Amazon will soon introduce two new Fire TV models, both of which will playback 4K HDR video at 60 fps. The first is a dongle that hangs off a permanently attached HDMI cable, similar to Google Chromecast, and the second is a new Fire TV shaped like a set-top box that will be the new flagship model. The dongle is positioned between the existing Fire TV Stick and a new high-end model. The new Fire TV cube has far-field microphones, a built-in speaker and LED light bar, with functionality similar to an Amazon Echo.

Variety reports that the new cube-shaped Fire TV is “supposed to work even when a TV is turned off, so users will be able to query Amazon’s cloud assistant Alexa or even listen to music without always turning on the big screen.”

amazon_fire_tv_stick_2016

It will offer “four buttons for volume control, as well as to mute the internal microphones, on top,” and the LED light bar will signal “when the device is in active listening mode.” An IR blaster “should make it possible to control TVs and other living room equipment.” The new Fire TV dongle will offer specs “above the current-generation Fire TV Stick [pictured above], but below the current-generation Fire TV box.”

AFTVnews reports that, “from the aforementioned leaked benchmark … this new [mid-tier] Fire TV model has a 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU and Mali-450 MP GPU,” with 2 GB of RAM and “likely has the same 8 GB of internal storage that all past and present Fire TV models have had.”

No benchmarks have been leaked for the new high-end Fire TV model, but “it is likely that this new top-tier Fire TV model will have additional ports and functionality not found on the new mid-tier model, like Ethernet and expandable storage.” Because of the far-field microphones integrated in the Fire TV, “an external Alexa device will no longer be necessary to achieve hands-free voice control of your television … you can expect to be able to turn your TV on and off, control the volume, change inputs, and more without needing to pick up a remote for certain tasks.”

Forbes notes that, “assuming all of this leaked information turns out to be correct, it points to Amazon trying to position the Fire TV much more at the heart of consumers’ home entertainment systems, rather than just seeing it as simply a video streaming ‘portal’.”