Fire TV Cube’s universal remote features will work through the Voice Remote

A huge focus of the newly announced Amazon Fire TV Cube has been on its hands-free capabilities. It’s undesrtandable since it’s a key feature that differentiates it from all other streaming media players. While controlling your home theater without touching anything seems like very a handy feature for most people, it’s understandable that some people aren’t interested in it or it just won’t work well for their home theater setup. The good news is that you can never use the hands-free features of the Fire TV Cube and/or even tuck it away out of sight in a cabinet but still take advantage of its universal remote capabilities.

If you’re someone who never wants to use the Fire TV Cube’s hands-free feature, whether it be because you don’t like the idea of an always-listening device in your home or you think it’ll have trouble understand you or some other reason, you can still use it to simplify your life. That’s because all of the universal remote features can be used through the voice remote. If you leave the Fire TV Cube’s microphones muted indefinitely, you can still pick up the voice remote and ask to turn on/off your TV, switch inputs, change channels, or any other universal remote request by pressing the mic button on the remote and speaking into it like you’re already probably used to doing with existing Fire TVs.

With all of your equipment off, you can pick up the remote, press the mic button, say “turn on the TV,” and your home theater will come to life without ever needing to use the hands-free aspect of the Fire TV Cube. At any point while watching TV you can press the mic button and ask to change the volume, jump to a channel on your cable box, or switch everything off, all while the microphones on the Fire TV Cube remain muted.

This flexibility is nice for those of you who would rather just tuck the Fire TV Cube out of sight in a cabinet, instead of placing it out in the open, like is recommended. Thanks to the included IR extender, you can still use the Fire TV Cube to control your other home theater equipment. With the Fire TV Cube out of sight and muted, you can place the IR Extender somewhere that it will be seen by your home theater equipment and just use the voice remote to control everything as needed.

Amazon says the Fire TV Cube is even compatible with third-party IR extender cables. This is because they’ve, thankfully, used a standard IR interface and port, instead of building a proprietary system. So if you have equipment that you want to control behind cabinet doors or placed all around on different shelves where the included IR extender can’t reach, you can use something like a quad-head IR extender. Just plug it into the IR port on the back of the Fire TV Cube and position each tiny emitter in front of the equipment you want to control.

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5 comments
  1. ML says:

    Thanks Elias for this post. I am the target audience. I may now consider getting this knowing I can hide it away and not have the cube always listening. However, my Fire TV2 still works so great so….

    Thanks!

  2. beq says:

    Any accessory available then, to mount the Cube behind the TV? :)

    I’ve been velcroing the players, for some family member’s TV sets…

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/05/googles-android-tv-dongle-is-real-but-it-wont-end-up-in-stores/?comments=1&post=35305809

    • AFTVnews says:

      Those are nice setups. Fire TV, Apple TV, Shield, and Roku all accessible on the same TV and all without anything visible is a whole new level of elite.

      I’m sure we’ll see TotalMount and others come up with interesting Cube mounts soon. I’d go with something like a mini TV shelf personally, to keep the option for hands-free use.

  3. BobR says:

    I plan to use it in a cabinet as described. Since I have an IR blaster with multiple input jacks, I hope to connect it to the cube using a male-male cable. This cabinet scenario renders the echo microphones useless. I don’t think I would have paid full price for the cube, but the $30 off for Prime members and bundled Ethernet made it worthwhile.

    I hope the Fire TV 4 box looks more like a Fire TV 1/2 with a beefier processor, built-in Eth port and no Echo microphones. Add an IR emitter and I’ll buy one for ~$80-90 to replace a first gen Fire TV in another room. For my current set-up, having it work with HDMI switches would be best.

  4. Sam Lowry says:

    I pre-ordered – thinking it was finally time to replace my FTV1, but I want to keep using my Harmony remote. Is there any chance that we can totally turn off the remote control part of this?

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