A new 18.104.22.168 software update is rolling out to all Amazon Fire TV Cubes. The update adds a pair of very handy new capabilities. The first is support for Alexa Announcements, which allow customers to both send and receive voice messages on their Fire TV Cube that get broadcasted across all Echos, Fire TV Cubes, and compatible 3rd-party Alexa devices in your home. The second new feature allows customers to increase or decrease the volume of their TV, soundbar, or AV receiver in increments of up to 25 units with a single voice command.
Alexa Announcements is a new feature that arrived on Echo devices earlier this year. With this latest software update, the feature is now supported on the Fire TV Cube as well. When an announcement is made through another device, the Fire TV Cube will display a full-screen announcement image, as well as a text transcript of the announcement, while the voice recording of the announcement is played through the TV’s speakers. If you’re watching a video, it will be paused while the announcement is displayed and will automatically resume after the announcement. If the TV is off at the time, the announcement audio is played out of the Fire TV Cube’s internal speaker instead of your home theater equipment.
Similar to how Alexa Announcements are displayed on the Echo Show and Echo Spot screen, the announcement image displayed on the Fire TV Cube is relevant to the context of the announcement in certain cases. For example, if a movie related announcement is made, a movie projector is shown. If the announcement is meal related, a plate of food is shown and if the announcement is for bedtime, a night scene is shown.
If you don’t want announcements coming through your Fire TV Cube, you can turn off that specific feature on a per device basis by going to the Alexa app, selecting the Fire TV Cube from your list of devices, and then disabling announcements under the Communications area. Something you can do with announcements, which you configure through Alexa Routines, is to have your Alexa devices automatically make an announcement when motion is detected on a security camera or when a smart doorbell is pressed. This type of smart home integration is coming later this month to the Fire TV Cube.
The other new feature added to the Fire TV Cube with this latest software updated is the ability to change the volume of your home theater equipment by a specific amount. It has always been possible to say “Alexa, volume up/down” to change the volume a little at a time, but if you wanted to significantly increase or decrease the volume, you had to repeat the phrase several times.
Now it’s possible to say “Alexa, volume up/down by [#],” where the number you give is between 1 and 25. Doing so will cause your TV, soundbar, or AV receiver’s volume to steadily climb or fall the desired amount using that single command. Of course, it’s still not possible to request a specific volume by number, since the Fire TV Cube has no way of knowing what volume your device is currently set to, but this new ability certainly makes it a lot easier to adjust the volume in large amounts.