If you are about to purchase a Fire TV Cube, just stop. Amazon is releasing a second generation model, and while similar in functionality to the first-gen version, the newest Fire TV Cube offers some interesting upgrades over the original. Perhaps the biggest is a meaty upgrade to an octa-core processor, making it the "fastest and most powerful Fire TV" devices ever.
According to Amazon, it offers up to a 2X performance bump over the first-gen model, along with instant access to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 frames per second. On the high dynamic range side of the equation, it's not just Dolby Vision, either—it supports HDR10+ content as well (Rtings has a good breakdown of the various HDR formats, in case you're interested).
The second-gen Fire TV Cube also boasts Local Voice Control, which is a new on-device processing feature to more quickly execute some common commands, such as "Alexa, go home," and "Alexa, scroll right." Amazon claims it's up to four times faster at these things, compared to the first-gen model. While not mentioned, Local Voice Control should offer a level of privacy that is inherently given up when commands are processed in the cloud.
Another upgrade is far-field voice recognition built into the device. Amazon armed the newest Fire TV Cube with eight microphones and beamforming technology. The Fire TV Cube combines signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, currently playing content, and even competing speech so that Alexa will have an easier time hearing commands.
The second-gen Fire TV Cube is available to preorder for $119.99 and will ship on October 10. In addition to the main unit, it comes with an IR extender cable, Ethernet adapter, power adapter, and Alexa Voice Remote. Users can also bundle the Fire TV Cube with a Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $249.99, saving $68.01 over the normal cost.
In addition to the second-gen Fire TV Cube, Amazon is expanding its Fire TV Edition products with 15 new items.
"Customers have told us how much they use and love Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the United States and Canada, with millions of devices sold and an average rating of more than 4 stars across all models," said Marc Whitten, Vice President of Amazon Fire TV. "Today we’re thrilled to introduce innovative Fire TV Edition smart TVs and the first-ever Fire TV Edition soundbar from global brands that customers know and love. We can’t wait for customers to experience these new devices with the Fire TV experience built-in."
There's also a new Fire TV Edition Soundbar category. Similar to Roku's first soundbar (announced earlier this week), a Fire TV Edition Soundbar is a way to upgrade a TVs sound and add streaming capabilities in one fell swoop. Amazon is kicking things off with the Nebula Soundbar, which is available to preorder for $229.99 (it ships on November 21).