Perhaps the second time will be the charm for Amazon’s Fire TV Cube. We weren’t impressed with the media streamer when we reviewed it in June, 2018. But Amazon took the stage at the IFA consumer-electronics show in Berlin today to demo an all-new version that promises to deliver twice the processor power. That could go a long way to alleviate our complaints about the original. The company also showcased the Nebula Fire TV Edition soundbar, which will be manufactured by the Chinese conglomerate Anker.
Available for preorder now and shipping on October 10, the revamped Fire TV CubeRemove non-product link boasts a new hexa-core processor and Local Voice Control, a new feature that’s supposed to process such standard navigational commands as “Alexa, scroll right” and “Alexa, go home” up to four times faster than the original Cube, which sent such commands to the cloud, first.
Equipped with eight far-field microphones and beamforming technology to help Alexa focus on your voice, the new Fire TV Cube supports 4K HDR video at up to 60 frames per second as well as object-based Dolby Atmos surround sound. The new box also adds (sorely needed) Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ support.
Like its predecessor, the $120 Fire TV Cube packs in “multi-direction” infrared technology and HDMI CEC support that lets it take charge of compatible TVs, soundbars, A/V receivers, and cable set-top boxes.
Our review of the original Fire TV Cube complained that it “often fails at finding content” and that it was “inconsistent at controlling video playback.” Will the second-gen Cube up the ante? We’ll let you know once we give it a whirl.
Nebula Fire TV Edition soundbar
Also at IFA, Amazon took the wraps off its first soundbar, the Anker-made Nebula Fire TV Edition, which will have a built-in subwoofer and Alexa onboard.
The $230, 2.1-channel Nebula Soundbar Fire TV EditionRemove non-product link features a built-in subwoofer with Anker’s “BassUp” bass-boosting technology. The speaker also has Movie and Music modes for optimizing the soundbar’s audio, along with a dialog-boosting Voice mode.
Its HDMI input supports 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, as well as support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Legacy home entertainment devices can be connected via Toslink optical or 3.5mm analog audio, and there’s also a USB port onboard.
Perhaps more importantly, you can also stream media directly from the Nebula to your TV, with help from Alexa. .
Amazon also had a couple other surprises to announce at IFA, including a 65-inch Toshiba 4K Fire TV Edition that’s slated to arrive in October for $600, along with a far-field Fire TV Edition OLED set from Grundig, but that set will be available only in Germany and Austria.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.