Advanced Television

Analyst: Amazon Fire TV Cube won’t replace remote yet

September 20, 2018

An expert review from Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Strategies (UXS) group has found that the recently released Amazon Fire TV Cube has created a more seamless video and TV viewing experience by leveraging a more human-like and preferred voice-enabled solution. Moreover, the Cube allows users to control multiple features, functions and additional devices with voice; providing further opportunity for additional voice controls in the future.

However, while a voice remote control provides Alexa functionality to current models of Fire TV or Fire TV stick (or indeed be connected to be an existing standalone Echo) at a substantially lower price, what is the unique selling point of the Fire TV Cube and does it have the ability to replace the remote control completely?

Key report findings:

  • Adding Alexa to Amazon’s Fire TV provides more depth and versatility – one device allows voice HMI for Fire TV while also acting as a standalone Alexa device.
  • Eight far-field microphones towards the front of the device easily pick up the ‘wake’ command, even while video is playing.
  • While users can utilize voice for core basic functions, it still has limitations. This results in consumers having to use voice for some commands and the native remote for others.

Christopher Dodge, Associate Director and report author commented, “As homes and devices are getting smarter, this type of implementation allows TVs to become smarter by delivering a more natural and intuitive way to control and see things like security cameras and other information such as weather. Voice as an HMI will be the preferred future of TV and so it is important to develop accordingly.”

Continued Dodge, “However, Amazon still has a way to go. Not all commands were understood first time, specific syntaxes must be used and remembered by consumers and not all devices that we thought could be connected, were. Overall, this creates an inconsistent experience. At present the user must still use native remotes for each device associated with the TV in addition to voice commands, if compatible.”

Added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “While Amazon did not rush to market with the Cube, there is still a lot left to be developed. Advanced partnering with large cable/satellite providers, in addition to streaming service providers and further developing ’skills‘, will help to reduce some of the usability limitations found upon launch.”

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