By: Nick Gambino
I hate the remote for my Fire TV cube. It’s probably my fault for buying the thing the week it launched. It’s sticky, clunky and I just hate it. Compared to the remote I use with the Roku Smart TV in my bedroom, it deserves death by firing squad. (Pun intended and regretted.)
So you could imagine my elation when Amazon announced the release of a new voice command-enabled remote that’s compatible with a plethora of Amazon media players including my first-gen Fire TV Cube.
The biggest change in the new remote is the addition of shortcut buttons to your favorite streaming apps—well, the most popular apps anyways. There’s a button for Prime Video (of course), Disney+, Netflix and Hulu.
There are some complaints out there about these buttons, especially by those who don’t subscribe to those services. For streaming junkies like me, I love the buttons. I subscribe to all of those streamers and find the shortcuts on the Roku app come in handy. A single tap and I’m in Netflix or Hulu.
If they included lesser-known streamers that could end any second like Crackle or Redbox (that’s still a thing, right?) I’d understand why you wouldn’t want them permanently situated on your remote, but that’s not the case. I also don’t have the issue with accidentally hitting those buttons that others seem to experience.
Now, it’s been suggested that they should have a mapping feature to turn buttons into customizable shortcuts. That’s a great idea and apparently, Roku is already working on it. I’m all for mapping, but in the meantime, I’m happy with the shortcuts that exist.
In addition to streaming, there’s a button for live TV. This button will call up a list of TV apps like AT&T TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.
The third-gen remote also sees the microphone button replaced with a blue button with the Alexa symbol. This seemingly does the same thing as the microphone button but just makes it clearer who’s executing your commands.
Now you’ll be able to more easily call up the NewsWatch Fire TV app and watch your favorite tech review show.
The Fire TV remote ships on April 14th and is available for purchase for $30.