Amazon has announced a new Fire TV accessory called the Fire TV Blaster. It’s a $34.99 IR blaster that’s designed to let you control hardware like your TV set or cable box using Alexa in concert with your existing Fire TV setup.
The added IR blaster allows you even greater control over your TV setup through Alexa, allowing you to switch inputs and control things like power, volume, and playback through Echo voice controls.
The $35 accessory gives Amazon’s other Fire TV hardware the similar TV-controlling functionality that Amazon’s IR-blaster-equipped Fire TV Cube already offers but at a lower price (and without requiring customers to redo their entire setup). Amazon already offers an IR-enabled Alexa Voice Remote with its newer hardware, but the Fire TV Blaster offers a few other features, like cable box control as well as the added hands-free convenience of not needing to pick up the remote first.
The hardware is pretty simple: it’s basically a small box with an IR blaster and the necessary Wi-Fi hardware to communicate with other Fire TV products. There’s also an extra port to attach an IR extender to beam the signal into hard-to-reach places. There’s no speaker or microphone built in; those functions are still handled by your regular Alexa device.
Amazon cautions that the Fire TV Blaster isn’t a standalone device. To use it, you’ll need a compatible Fire TV device, an Echo smart speaker, and a compatible TV / soundbar / set-top box, which the company promises it will have more details on over on this support page. (It doesn’t seem to be live yet.) Amazon says that the Fire TV Blaster isn’t compatible with Fire TV Edition televisions or soundbars.
The Fire TV Blaster is available to preorder now, and it’s expected to ship on December 11th, either by itself for $34.99 or as part of a $79.99 bundle that includes a Fire TV 4K streaming stick and an Echo Dot.