Amazon has a new Fire TV in the works that will double as an Echo smart speaker.
A new version of the Fire TV, which will look like a small cube, will have many of the same features of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker built in, according to report by AFTVnews.com. It will have microphones (so you can speak with Alexa), a speaker (for music and responses), and even an LED light that mimics the top of the Echo, according to the report.
Like other Fire TVs, the new device will let you stream videos from Amazon and Netflix. Unlike previous models, though, it reportedly will allow you to interact with Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant even when your TV isn’t on.
The company will also be releasing a smaller version of the original Fire TV that will attach to your TV like a dongle, according to the report. For the first time for the Fire TV line, both new models reportedly will support high-dynamic-range videos. HDR offers a greater contrast between light and dark areas than standard videos, allowing them to see previously hidden details in scenes.
Both new boxes will also support ultra-high-definition 4K video, the next step up after high-definition, according to the report.
Here’s a look at the new gadgets:
It’s not clear when Amazon would begin selling the new devices or how much they would cost. Amazon representatives declined to comment.
The previous Fire TV box is unavailable through Amazon, which could indicate it has discontinued the device. According to the AFTVnews report, it plans to continue selling its Fire TV Stick, which is about the size of a piece of gum and plugs directly into a TV. But that model does not support 4K or HDR video.
Owners of the older Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick could interact with Alexa — but only by pressing a button on their remote controls, and only when those devices were connected to an external speaker that was turned on.
The new Fire TV devices’ support for 4K and HDR and their Alexa capabilities could help them better compete with the new Apple TV.
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