Note the word "much." Some fairly basic commands, like fast forward for instance, aren't supported by every app. Even Netflix, which has generally been the most receptive to voice commands, can't quite figure out what to do when I want to jump ahead ten minutes. Amazon's own Prime TV service isn't immune to these lexical limitations either -- asking it to play the next episode of The Grand Tour worked just fine, but Alexa often floundered when I asked it to play the previous one. At least for now, it might be a good idea to keep that remote around just in case.
At $120, the Fire TV Cube is a bigger investment than the $70 Fire TV, which is a very capable video streamer. And given that the Echo Dot currently sells for $35 and works better as a standalone Alexa device, it might be a smarter purchase alongside the Fire TV. Don't forget that Alexa devices can also route commands to Fire TVs, which is almost as convenient as the Cube's built-in voice functionality.
There are a few other things you should probably know about the Fire TV Cube:
- In some ways, Alexa tries to turn your TV into a big Echo Show. When you ask for music through Amazon Music, you'll get a set of lyrics on-screen. And the Cube will also highlight restaurants and movies playing nearby, much like Amazon's smaller, Alexa-powered screen.
- While Alexa is supposed to respond through your television's speakers or sound system when you make a request, it doesn't always, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason for it.
- Amazon says it doesn't specifically prioritize its own offerings over content provided by other services, but the company's sorting algorithm can be odd sometimes. I asked Alexa to play Thor: Ragnarok, which is available on Netflix -- instead, it kept routing me to an Amazon store listing where I could buy the movie instead.
In fairness, all these movies and television shows (not to mention the specialized vocabulary of home theater gear) are new territories for Alexa, and it'll take time for Amazon's assistant to get really good at dealing with everything. At this point, the Fire TV Cube is off to a decent start, but it's not quite a must-have device yet. Instead, it's a glimpse at what media streamers could be if they had a bunch of microphones and could understand voice commands.