Photo of a living room with people using an Amazon Fire TV Cube with a TV.
Photo: Amazon

It was probably just a matter of time before Amazon decided to combine two of its most popular products—the Echo Dot and the Fire TV streaming player—into a single device.

And apparently, that time has come. The company has announced the Amazon Fire TV Cube, essentially a mashup of those two devices, with voice-powered universal remote control capability thrown in for good measure.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube will cost $120. But if you're an Amazon Prime member and you act quickly—basically, today or tomorrow—you can preorder it for just $90. The Cube will start shipping on June 21.

As the name suggests, Fire TV Cube is a squarish set-top box that will play 4K videos with HDR, just like the newest Fire TV. Buttons on top of the unit adjust the volume and mute the microphones, but the Cube is really all about voice control. Like other devices powered by Amazon's digital assistant Alexa, it has a strip along the top that glows blue when Alexa is activated. The device also provides an audible alert to let you know Alexa is listening.

More on Streaming Video

Thanks to Alexa and some fancy multidirectional infrared technology, the Cube will let you control a host of other compatible A/V gear, including TVssound bars, receivers, and even some cable and satellite boxes. The Fire TV Cube has IR blasters built into each side of the box, and it includes HDMI-CEC technology, which lets devices connected via HDMI talk to each other.

Amazon says the Cube is compatible with more than 90 percent of the cable or satellite boxes currently in homes, including those from Comcast, Dish, DirecTV, Spectrum (Charter), and Verizon.

But that control doesn't just allow you to turn your TV on and adjust the volume. The Cube will also let you use voice commands to find shows and movies, navigate to specific channels and programs, and call up streaming services such as CBS All Access, ESPN, Fox Now, Hulu, NBC, Netflix, Prime Video, Showtime, and Starz that have apps that support it. The Cube has eight built-in far-field microphones, plus technology that can suppress noise, minimize echo and reverberations, and curtail sounds from the TV or others in the room so that Alexa can hear your spoken commands, Amazon says. And, like the Echo Dot, it has a small built-in speaker, used to answer requests and questions.

To help you get started, the Amazon Fire TV Cube has a simple, guided setup for Alexa voice control of your devices.

A photo of the Amazon Fire TV Cube.
After this week, the Amazon Fire TV Cube will sell for $120.

Like an Amazon Show With No Display

In many ways, the Cube is like the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker—minus the built-in screen. While it runs the operating system employed by Fire TV streaming players, it uses the Show's grid-style interface, which the company says is better optimized for voice interaction. Because it's designed for use with bigger TV screens, though, the Cube has richer graphical information.

Based on the information we've received from Amazon, the Fire TV Cube seems like an interesting addition not only to the lineup of Alexa-powered products but also to the world of streaming media devices, such as the Apple TV4K and the new Roku players in our ratings of streaming devices.

We look forward to bringing the Cube into our lab for thorough testing once it becomes available.