Amazon Fire TV Cube has a Micro USB port for an Ethernet Adapter and an Infrared port

Image Credit: Engadget

A reader of Engadget has sent the website the above image of the user manual that came with their Fire TV Ethernet Adapter. Depicted in the updated manual is none other than the Fire TV Cube that was teased by Amazon yesterday through an information signup page. With a clear shot of the ports on the back, there is a lot we can assume about the upcoming Fire TV.

It appears that Amazon has decided to use the same Fire TV Ethernet Adapter for the Fire TV Cube that is currently used with the 3rd-gen Fire TV and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick, instead of including a built-in ethernet port. This appears to be due to limited space for ports across the back of the device’s relatively small footprint.

For those of you thinking that there seems to be plenty of space to include an ethernet port above the depicted ports on the back of the device, remember that the ethernet port needs to be attached to the edge of the device’s circuit board. Judging by the placement of the ports on the back, the Fire TV Cube likely uses a circuit board positioned near the bottom of the device. This means that only ports on that plane would be possible without unconventional internal extension cables.

We have yet to see images of the sides of the Fire TV Cube, so there might be additional ports along the sides. That is what Roku does for some of their port-heavy models, but I personally doubt that will be the case for the Fire TV Cube. Due to the Fire TV Cube’s hands-free microphones and LD light bar, it will likely be best to place it somewhere visible, so aesthetics are more important for the Fire TV Cube than any Fire TV before it. For this reason, I can’t imagine having ports for cables sticking out of the side of the device.

The micro USB port on the back of the Fire TV Cube, used for the ethernet adapter, will likely be OTG capable, since that is the case with the 3rd-gen Fire TV and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick. If it is an OTG port, it will probably accept USB peripherals and external USB storage using an OTG adapter or possibly even an OTG Hub. While this would not be as simple as a full-sized USB-A port, like on the 1st and 2nd-gen Fire TV, it should, at least, provide all the same functionality.

Since the Fire TV Cube in the image has a separate power adapter, the micro USB port likely cannot be used to power the device. This is the case for the Amazon Echo Spot, which also has both a micro USB port and a power port. The ethernet adapter manual also shows nothing plugged into the power port of the ethernet adapter, which is necessary for the 3rd-gen Fire TV and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick.

Since the Fire TV Cube drawing shows the HDMI port, we can use that to approximate the device’s size. Assuming the ports on the drawing are to scale, the Fire TV Cube will be about 3 to 4 inches wide and a little shorter than it is wide. That would make its footprint larger than the pendant-shaped Fire TV 3 laid flat, but smaller than the Fire TV 1 and 2.

The last of the three ports is labeled “Infrared” according to the Engadget reader who submitted the image. It appears to be a round port that is about the same size as the power port. Since the Fire TV Cube is supposed to have IR capabilities to control home theater equipment, this port is probably how you connect its IR blaster.

Since the user manual lists the device as the “Amazon Fire TV Cube,” it’s probably safe to say that is the official name of the next flagship Fire TV. There is still a lot we don’t know about the device, but it seems like it won’t be too much longer before it’s released.

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66 comments
  1. Martin Phillp says:

    Without an Ethernet port, that should keep costs down initially.

    • Tom says:

      but you are then having to pay for a whole new device to add Ethernet to it. That is more money, more profit for them, less user friendly for us.

      • AFTVnews says:

        Talking about internal vs external ethernet is moot because no matter what Amazon went with, it will disappoint some people.

        If you include internal ethernet or even include a “free” adapter with all purchases, you’re forcing everyone to pay for a feature that most people will never use. If you make it an external optional accessory, the people who want ethernet, like yourself, feel like they’re paying extra. There’s no way to appease everyone.

        In my opinion, the best option is to make ethernet external but offer a discount if you add the ethernet adapter when you buy the Fire TV Cube. Something like $5-$10, instead of the usual $15, to add the adapter. Amazon did this with the game controller for a short period of time, where you saved a little if you added it during checkout for the Fire TV 2. That way if you don’t need it you save money, but if you do need it, you aren’t paying that much more for it.

        • Dave says:

          Really? People were disappointed because the FireTV and FireTV 2 boxes *had* onboard ethernet? That’s news to me because I’ve never seen that.

          • Erin says:

            You’re assuming that everyone who would be interested in the Cube is a current or former Box customer. Highly unlikely to be the case.

          • AFTVnews says:

            Every included feature adds to the cost of the device. Hardly anyone sees it that way because people see “included” as “free” since there is no alternative. Had there been an additional Fire TV 2 model without ethernet for $5 less and Amazon discontinued it mid-cycle, I absolutely think some people would be disappointed.

            Roku’s 2016 lineup highlights it very well. The top 3 devices at the time cost $80, $100, and $130 and differed mostly by just ports.

        • Charlie says:

          Cannot agree with you Elias. Most people, who are enthusiast do want Ethernet. Wi-Fi is back up for those people. I think a lot of us expected something on the order of the FTV2 with updated hardware. My AppleTV 4k was upgraded with gigabit Ethernet, which makes perfect sense in today’s bandwidth hungry streaming. Making us buy a 15.00 adapter is just rude.

          • Alex says:

            You should do a speed test. My firestick testing at 90-100mbps on 5ghz WiFi. I rather have the price slightly lower than have a Ethernet port. Don’t have a Apple TV but I don’t think streaming speeds isn’t much higher than what Netflix offer. My 4K Samsung tv also is connected 5ghz. Native Netflix app streams 4K at 40-50 mbps when monitoring my router.

            I have 1gb speed plan. Only time I need my MacBook connected with Ethernet is when i need to do a fast torrent download. The rest of the time I’m connected 5ghz, I’m getting 450mpbs.

          • Tom says:

            Hey Alex,
            Again, this works for some, but for many, with a house full of wifi connected devices, it does not work. Even some house’s dont support wifi. The add on ethernet adapter has a handy capped performance, looks like crap, take more power adapters, more wires, more of all the things that,,, they are trying to reduce, by building in things such as IR blasting capability. I am a very large Amazon fan, but, i have to admit, the last couple of releases on the fire tv line has been very disappointing.

          • AFTVnews says:

            I’m in no way saying that it was the right choice to go with external Ethernet. I’m not saying it was the wrong choice either. I’m just pointing out the pros and cons. I, personally, absolutely prefer internal ethernet. I’m simply saying there are legitimate reasons to go with external Ethernet that are easily ignored by those who prefer internal Ethernet.

        • John says:

          Elias…guessing you like a mess of spaghetti in your entertainment cabinet….lol….or more than just a fanboy motivation in support of Amazon.

          • AFTVnews says:

            I’m wishing I stayed out of this discussion because it seems like people are interpreting my comments as defending Amazon’s decisions. That is not my intention. I’m simply trying to point out the pros and cons of both sides, while staying neutral. I never say one is better than the other.

        • al says:

          You have some of the most dramatic readers… *eyeroll*

        • James says:

          There is an easy way to please everyone. Just have more than one Fire TV Cube, one of which comes with ethernet built-in so people don’t have to deal with an adapter if they don’t want it.

          Quite frankly the market is big enough for Amazon to segment and provide a nearly one size fits all without resorting to silly adapters.

          There’s already a stick for people who want wireless. There’s already an echo for people who want an echo. There’s even a FTV3 for people who want better than a stick. There is no feasible ethernet option since the FTV2. That will affect a lot of tech people who advise their friends and family what to buy.

          There are doubtless a lot of people thinking Amazon is wrong about this, perhaps thinking the decision is being made by someone without real life network experience…I am one of them.

          • James says:

            Please note, I’m not suggesting the price should be only marginally higher.

            Not at all. My contention is that an identical device with ethernet on board would still sell in sufficient quantities even with a 50% markup.

  2. fred says:

    Well, I guess no coaxil for OTA

  3. Steffen says:

    The next Sales flop of Amazon Devices after FireTV3. No Ethernet-Slot of a Streaming Box. Embarrassing

  4. Charlie says:

    Could this wind up being a glorified FTV 3 dongle with Echo? Amazed there will be no actual gigabit Ethernet port.

  5. EX-AMAZON FIRE TV OWNER says:

    the cube appears to be aimed at forcing us to buy additional “parts” to make it work…..this cube so far is an absolute FAIL!!! GARBAGE! IF I AM GOING TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY, IT WILL BE ON A NVIDIA SHIELD!!

  6. EX-AMAZON FIRE TV OWNER says:

    i guess i will be an ex-amazon fire tv owner SOON! dump em all…

  7. CX says:

    Just pathetic really. Glad I didn’t end up waiting and got the Shield when it was on sale.

  8. c says:

    really don’t like the direction they are going with these things. all they needed to do was slap an ota port for an antenna on the fire tv 2 box and call it a day. instead we get two iterations that both look like steps backwards.

  9. Ryan says:

    Wired ethernet via a micro USB2.0 adapter is always going to be slower then a traditional rj45 NIC. USB2.0 will cripple the performance and with the push for 4K content we need the full 100MB down that some ISPs are offering these days(spectrum). I grabbed a FTV3 for the bedroom but I guess my 1st gen fireTV will be replaced with a Nvidia Shield for main TV.

    Expandable storage and wired ethernet are the 2 main features any enthusiast such as myself and many that read this site desire.

    • Farley says:

      +1, same idea I have.

      Also beginning to overthink blanketed listening devices in the house. Usually not paranoid about these things but I keep inheriting (via software update) Alexa on devices and not eager to keep adding more unless it’s a richer sounding Echo!

    • AFTVnews says:

      USB 2.0 has a theoretical max speed of 480 Mbps. In reality, it’s closer to 300 Mbps. The Ethernet adapter, being 10/100, is capable of a max speed of 100 Mbps. Meaning, there will be no difference in speed whether it was internal or external Ethernet.

      As to your comment about needing full 100 Mbps for 4K content, Amazon and Netflix both stream 4K at around 15 Mbps. A 100 Mbps connection is more than enough for all streaming content. Even if there was a service that streamed uncompressed 4K Bluray video, which there isn’t, that would only require 40 Mbps.

      • Adam says:

        There isn’t a service, but there’s plenty of us that stream uncompressed Blurays over a LAN to Kodi on the FireTV.

        But like you said, a USB Ethernet adapter should be more than enough for that.

  10. Travis says:

    Some of you guys are hilarious. So worried about no ethernet when most WiFi routers built now a days have WiFi speeds FASTER than your broadband.

    Not to mention the fact that 4K HDR on Netflix runs at less than 20mbps.

    Some of you guys have no clue what you are talking about.

    • Charlie says:

      Apparently, you don’t either.

    • tech3475 says:

      The reason why people may want a wired connection is because it can be more reliable, consistent and have a better range than wifi.

      The speed/reliability of wifi isn’t constant, it can vary depending on circumstances.

      I wouldn’t go around bashing people when they may have actual experience dealing with this.

      • Soon2B EX-AMAZON FIRE TV OWNER says:

        ah yes, tech3475! well said! thank you! add this to the fact the cube so far, isn’t as good as the 2nd gen fire tv making this whole page worthless. this cube better be fast and have a monster hard drive to be worth buying. otherwise, i am happy with what i already have.

    • Tom says:

      I do have a clue as to what I am talking about. If I were running just one single WIFI device, then it may not be an issue. However, everything in the house running on wifi causes crashes and brings down wifi performance. You can say I am wrong, but I see what performance I get off my high wifi use home! I prefer Ethernet anyday!

      • Charlie says:

        There may be one day wireless is better than wired, but we aren’t there yet in terms of speed and reliability. Wi-Fi can be excellent, but Ethernet is consistent and reliable.

      • bob says:

        Yep. Only stream on the firetv over wifi and your fine. Now add someone in the bedroom streaming youtube, someone in the kitchen streaming netflix, and someone else streaming amazon all over wifi and it quickly turns to…… buffering……

        On paper wifi looks great. But ethernet is far superior to wifi in real life.

        • Adam says:

          I suspect the folks like Travis here that think wifi is a complete solution are unused to living in houses larger than an apartment or with more than one or two other occupants.

          The rest of us in the real world find it hilarious that he and others consider their narrow perspective to be informed.

    • CX says:

      As a few have already said, you know not others circumstances nor setups.

      Personally no wifi ap is faster than my connection. (I have a top of the line anyways).

      Wifi in its current state is good for convenience not as a replacement for hard connections.

      If you have an option to hard line to any device the choice is obvious. To remove Gbe, that has been standard connection for nearly 8 years, to only sale additional hardware that is sub par performance is a poor decision on Amazon.

  11. beq says:

    Hmm Apple TV 4K is similarly 3.9″ across and 1.4″ high, yet can fit the A10X Fusion SoC (from iPad Pro) with GigE, 3GB RAM, 64GB storage.

    Then again it’s made on a newer 10nm process and the box approaches 200 bucks.

    So at a rumored $100+, the Cube is not likely to skew to high performance?

  12. Paul T says:

    No. USB2 is 500Mbps and real-world ethernet performance over USB2 is around 300Mbps.

    Also note that Netflix recommends 25Mbps bandwidth for its 4k video and Amazon recommends 15Mbps. These are of course, highly compressed streams, but it’s very clear that you don’t need 100Mbps, much less 300Mbps to stream 4k.

  13. K Barlow says:

    I have been waiting for a long time to upgrade my fire tv 1st gen. Guess I should have purchased a 2nd gen when they were available. I just looked on ebay and refurbished ones are going for $150. Amazon should take note…if people are paying more for older refurbished models there is obviously a market for a higher end fire tv.

    • clocks says:

      Are they really? I have three, maybe I should sell them off. I already have two shields, I can buy a third, and pocket the difference.

    • Soon2B EX-AMAZON FIRE TV OWNER says:

      i have 20 of them

      • beq says:

        ~ 50 Roku’s for family.

        Fewer Shield & Fire TV’s. Would like more since Roku’s locking down private & sideloaded apps, but family used to Roku UI (and Apple TV for the other ecosystem).

  14. Joe says:

    If the device has no dedicated ethernet port AND/OR no dedicated memory expansion port AND/OR no dedicated USB port I will never buy it. Looks like I’m skipping Generation 3 completely and if need be, leaving the FireTV. Horrible mistake, Amazon.

  15. Carter S. Johnson says:

    I’m quite happy to see this iteration come out and I hope Amazon will flush the FireTV/Echo line out with a series of TV sound bars and sound bases.(what Apple should have done three years ago!) I also hope the FireTV Pendant becomes the low end entry level model for $39. Finally this should cannibalize the silly Echo Show line and make the kitchen TV the center of focus. Google istearing through case chasing down the Chumby-style dead end.

  16. OG Charlie says:

    No coaxial port. No microSD slot. No Ethernet.

    Unless Amazon has something amazing to announce with regards to Alexa controls, this thing is pointless.

  17. Tampa8 says:

    I don’t see making the Ethernet Port separate as a big problem assuming it is keeping the price of the FireTV lower. I however must agree with those that say it is needed in some form. I have faced the same problems some have mentioned, with so many Wifi devices now including my Nest cameras, streaming from sometimes more than one Echo etc there is no question things get bogged down. I finally put my TV (That gets used for streaming sometimes) and laptop on Ethernet and that did help. Now they can stream with the Firetv or Roku in the playroom with far less stuttering.
    But no SD and perhaps no USB is problem if they want me to be interested in buying it. Finally I was hoping for a coax connection for OTA TV, in my case I have enough ways to to do that without using a FireTV but it would have been convenient.

  18. PatJ says:

    Understand why some would be frustrated with the lack of built-in ethernet. But, for me, the biggest disappoint is lack of coaxial input in these schematics.

    The Fire TV Edition sets aren’t the best, picture-quality wise. But, they do showcase the tremendous potential for integrating OTA channels into the AFTV’s native software alongside other apps and content.

    This all-in-one solution would be great for cordcutters, along with people who just don’t like having to change the input on their sets. Really feel like Amazon is missing a great and very appealing opportunity if they don’t include this feature in the final design of the cube.

  19. DohDohDonutzMMM says:

    IF it’s similarly priced as the Channel Master Stream+ ($149), I might go that route or the Nvidia Shield TV. Overall, I guess I’m still in a holding pattern on buying newer equipment.

  20. Fjtorres says:

    Okay, so the cube isn’t an enthusiast product.
    Or, for that matter, a replacement for the existing model.
    Might be worth thinking a bit about what it actually is and who it is for.
    I notice few are taking note of the IR blaster.
    I’m thinking that is the key to the cube.

    The focus of the cube looks to me to be living room integration, letting Alexa control the TV (whether smart or “dumb”), receiver, cable/sat box, disk player, and whatever. In other words, they are making Logitech redundant.

    Try this: if the product were called ECHO CUBE, would there be as much disappointment? ;)

    One of the first things we enthusiasts take care of is integration and remote consolidation but we are a minority in the living room space. The cube may or not appeal to us but it certainly will be appealing to people juggling remotes. Think of the cube as bringing down the cost of voice controlled integration for the masses and it makes more sense.

    We’re not the target but that doesn’t mean the thing won’t sell.

    • Ben says:

      I agree the IR blaster is key for Amazon. As a novice, how well does an IR blaster work if my TV & soundbar is mounted on the wall, the Cube is sitting on top of a TV stand underneath the TV/soundbar, and my DVD player is on a shelf of the TV stand underneath where the Cube is sitting? Will it easily control the TV? the soundbar? AND the DVD player?

      • Fjtorres says:

        Have you ever tried aiming your remote at the ceiling?
        Some IR remotes have strong beams that don’t need direct line of sight.

  21. CarlosTico says:

    Really no Ethernet you have got to be kidding Amazon !!!!!!

  22. MrMC says:

    oh, a new boxee :)

  23. King Nothing says:

    If someone from Germany/Austria is following this and wants to get their hands on a second Gen Fire TV box: Refurbished devices are currently on stock on Amazon.de for 84,99€. I think this is a better solution than buying it on eBay.

    https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00UH4UTGO/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_2B24AbA3EWRXH

    Elias, I hope posting this link is ok… If not, feel free to delete it or (if possible) modify it, so you can benefit if someone uses the link to place an order.

  24. Frank says:

    Ethernet…. what is about line out? Digital…
    Nobody here who hopes to get an voice controlled Spotify streaming client? Connected to active speakers?
    It seems the cube wont have any audio line out. Neither digital nor analog…

  25. MikeBo says:

    No built-in Ethernet, no sale… USB Ethernet adapters are a kludge. Instead charge $15 for an adapter when on-board Ethernet would have cost pennies. No microSD? Who designed this thing? I’ll just keep my FireTV gen 2 boxes for now as they appear to be superior to this cube thing.

  26. Jeff says:

    As an owner of 2 of the 2nd Gen Boxes…I refuse to buy a newer Amazon product that excludes ethernet, and requires an additional purchase to enable it. This is money driven greed by the seller. Why not include the OTG with the device, or manufacture it with ethernet onboard? Moving right along, if this new technological marvel isnt minimum 3g/16g, thats another road block. Amazon needs to look at the competition, with 3g/32g devices on the market. Why must progress go backwards? :(

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