Two exciting new streaming devices from Amazon, but which is the one for you? Our Amazon device expert weighs in.
Amazon has been leaning in hard on the streaming lifestyle with its Fire TV suite of products, Prime Video shows and services, and a recent cord-cutting ad campaign. With these two new products, Amazon hopes to integrate itself even further into your family's entertainment environment. Both are great options, so which is the right one for you?
What is the Nebula Soundbar - Fire TV Edition?
The Nebula Soundbar - Fire TV Edition is Amazon's first attempt at a first-party Alexa-enabled soundbar. But while other soundbars have shipped with Alexa included, this is the first with a fully-integrated Alexa and Fire TV experience. The device was developed through a partnership between Anker Innovations and Amazon. It connects to your TV as any soundbar or streaming box would, but with its additional smarts, it also acts as your Fire TV streaming hub.
It supports 4K Ultra HD and Dolby Vision and features near-field Alexa voice control. You can use it as an Echo speaker to control your Fire TV, and other connected smart devices with the included Alexa Voice Remote. It can also be paired with other Echo speakers to be a part of a multi-room sound system. The soundbar is launching in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, and Amazon hopes to make it available in additional countries as soon as possible.
What's new with the Fire TV Cube?
The All-New Fire TV Cube looks a lot like the streaming box that debuted last year in the U.S., but it has seen some significant internal upgrades that make it worth your consideration as well. This year's version has added a Hexa-core processor, Dolby Vision, and HDR 10+ to enhance the viewing experience. It also features something called Local Voice Control, which leverages the improved internal processor to handle common voice requests on-device, rather than sending them to Amazon's cloud service.
This results in nearly-instantaneous responses from Alexa and allows you to ask things like "Alexa, play Stranger Things on Netflix" and have it respond to you immediately. Like the Nebula Soundbar, the updated Fire TV Cube is launching in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and also Japan, with other countries sure to follow.
How do these devices compare?
Take a look at the spec sheet below to see how these new Fire TV devices stack up against each other.
|All-New Fire TV Cube||Nebula Soundbar - Fire TV Edition|
|Microphones||8 and Voice Remote||Only in Voice Remote|
|Picture Quality||4K, UHD, HDR 10+||4K, UHD|
|Local Voice Control||Yes||No|
|Smart Home Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Pair Multiple for Stereo Sound||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, these two devices share several specs that make them both great streaming devices. The Fire TV Cube has perhaps a leg up in that it can still function as an Echo-like smart speaker when the TV is off. Its built-in microphones and beamforming technology assure that Alexa will be able to hear and understand you in pretty much any typical entertainment room environment.
Where the Nebula Soundbar wins out is in its speaker quality. This thing is a soundbar and does soundbar things - like relay really great audio. It's just awesome icing on the cake that it can also do smart TV stuff, and negate the need for two boxes on your TV stand instead of only one.
Which should you get?
These are both great Alexa-enabled devices, and which one you get will largely be determined based on your current TV setup, or what you hope your TV setup could be. If you already have a good TV but need better sound - and you like the Fire TV experience, then go for the Nebula Soundbar. If you already have a soundbar or a good-sounding TV but want an Alexa/Echo device with the Fire TV experience, go for the Fire TV Cube. Either way, you'll be sitting pretty watching and listening to some prime... ahem... content.
BONUS! For a limited time, Amazon is offering some pretty sweet deals to go along with the launch of these devices, including a Fire TV Cube and Ring Video Doorbell 2 bundle. Additionally, customers who pre-order either device are eligible for a 90-day extended free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited.
Setting a new bar for soundbars
This might be the smartest soundbar out there. With built-in Alexa and Fire TV functionality, you kill multiple birds with one stone here.
It's what's inside that counts
The all-new Fire TV Cube features some pretty significant internal enhancements to make your streaming experience even better than before.
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