Amazon's latest hardware product is the Fire TV Blaster. Priced at $34.99, the Amazon Fire TV Blaster improves IR control for an existing setup.
Unlike other Amazon Fire TV devices, the Amazon IR blaster requires another Fire TV device.
Once added to a setup, the Fire TV Blaster expands Alexa’s ability to control more devices.
Alexa, be my IR blaster
For example, the Fire TV Blaster can be used to control a soundbar, cable or satellite box, or the TV itself. Basically, anything with infrared remote control support.
Some of the actions the Fire TV Blaster assists with is controlling the volume on devices, changing channels, or switching HDMI inputs.
If you already own a Fire TV Cube, then this isn’t the device for you. The Fire TV Cube comes with IR blaster functionality included, negating the need for this additional companion device.
The Fire TV Blaster simply allows owners of existing Amazon hardware the option to get the same benefits offered by the Fire TV Cube without having to upgrade to the $119 Cube.
Compatible Fire TV devices include Fire TV (3rd Gen), Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote.
The Fire TV Blaster costs $34.99 per month and is not due to go on general sale until December 11. In the meantime, it is now available to pre-order from Amazon.
How to use Amazon’s all-new Fire TV Blaster
The biggest hurdle with the new Amazon IR blaster is that you already need to be invested in Amazon’s ecosystem. For example, not only do you need to own a Fire TV device, but also an Alexa-enabled smart speaker, such as an Echo speaker. Alternatively, an Alexa-enabled smart display.
The reason for this is the Fire TV Blaster does not come with a built-in speaker or microphone. For example, the Fire TV device is needed to actually control the additional devices connected to a TV. Likewise, the Echo speaker or display is what will provide the verbal feedback from Alexa. The Fire TV Blaster simply acts as a go-between for the two.
With all devices correct and present, the user needs to download the Fire TV app on a smartphone and then use the app to link the Fire TV Blaster to the Fire TV and Echo devices.
Following which, voice commands can then be given to control additional IR devices.