Amazon tunes in OTA TV channels through Fire TV Cube

Amazon Fire TV Cube
Fire TV Cube (Amazon)

Amazon now allows Fire TV Cube users to watch live over-the-air television via a new tuner integration and setup function.

The company said that Fire TV Cube users in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany and France can access the OTA TV feature and use Alexa voice capabilities to tune to different channels. Customers need to set up their OTA tuner in the Fire TV Settings menu under Equipment Control. To tune to a channel using Alexa, users can say, “Alexa, tune to channel five on TV.” Customers can also use the name of their favorite channels instead of the channel number.

The OTA TV feature for Fire TV Cube arrives on the heels of Amazon announcing deeper integration for Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV into Fire TV’s live TV experience.

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The live content from these three providers will be directly integrated into Fire TV’s live TV discovery features including the Live tab, On Now rows and a multi-app Channel Guide which includes additional Alexa functionality.

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Amazon Fire TV is also finally getting YouTube Kids, exactly one year after YouTube returned to Fire TV devices. After adding YouTube in July last year and YouTube TV in September, Fire TV now has the YouTube trifecta, completely a turnaround for a once-rocky relationship.

In late 2017, Google pulled YouTube apps from Fire TV and Echo Show devices, citing Amazon’s unwillingness to sell Google products on its e-commerce site.

"We've been trying to reach agreement with Amazon to give consumers access to each other's products and services," a Google spokesperson said in a statement at the time. "But Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon."

Amazon responded by questioning the motivation behind Google’s move.

“YouTube used to be available to our shared customers on Echo Show. As of this afternoon, Google has chosen to no longer make YouTube available on Echo Show, without explanation and without notification to customers. There is no technical reason for that decision, which is disappointing and hurts both of our customers,” Amazon said in a statement.

YouTube Kids is a separate app designed to provide a safer experience for kids than regular YouTube. The app was also designed with kid-specific features like larger buttons for easier interaction.

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