Amazon on Tuesday announced the $34.99 Fire TV Blaster, a new infrared device that works with an existing Amazon gadgets to give you more ways to control your TV with your voice.
It's Amazon's way to sell more stuff to people who already own some of its other products, like the Echo and Fire TV. It gives many of the features in the Fire TV Cube without forcing people to upgrade to that device. Ultimately, the easier it is to use a Fire TV, the more people will use it to access TV shows and music from Amazon's services.
Amazon already sells a variety of tiny, low-priced Fire TV devices, including the Fire TV Stick ($34.99) and Fire TV Stick 4K ($49.99), and many people probably still own the older Fire TV Gen 3, which retailed for $79.99 and is shaped like a diamond. With these gadgets, you can say things like "Alexa, play The Americans" and it will start streaming the show. But it only works if you've already dialed up the Fire TV interface on your television set.
But if you also have an Echo in the house, you can add the new Fire TV Blaster and it will let you control the TV set, cable box, or TV soundbar using voice commands. So, for instance, you could say something like like "Alexa, turn on the TV" or "Alexa, tune to CNBC on cable."
Basically, all these things working together replace the Fire TV Cube, which Amazon sells for $119.99. It's basically a cheap way for people who have already bought partway into the Amazon Fire ecosystem to get more functions for just a little more money.
Amazon said the Fire TV Blaster will be available for pre-order on Tuesday and that it will ship on Dec. 11.