Accessibility is a big deal in tech and so it’s worth talking about whenever a big name puts in an awesome new feature. The Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd generation) is becoming the first media streamer of its kind to support audio streaming directly to the hearing aid. Initially, the feature will be exclusive to Starkey’s Bluetooth hearing aids and will be known as Asha (audio streaming for hearing aid).
Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect:
- Customers with a compatible Starkey hearing aid can connect directly to the Fire TV Cube for private listening with audio delivered directly to the hearing aid.
- Hearing aids connect to the Fire TV at the system level, so you can enjoy your favorite streaming services, apps, and games, as well as private audio from Alexa.
System-level connectivity is key which means that All Audio from Fire TV Cube is being sent to the hearing aid. Nothing is left and it can also be controlled with Alexa TV Remote. For all intents and purposes, this is exactly the kind of viewing experience everyone else gets. When you’re done, behind the Home button there’s a simple shortcut that’s all that’s needed to disconnect. Hearing aid support can be set up in the Accessibility section of the Fire TV Cube’s Settings menu.
The limitations are, of course, that it can’t be used like truly wireless headphones where you can move around the house without losing signal. In this case, being within 10 feet and having line of sight will provide the best experience as well as using 5GHz wireless.
Initially, this feature is limited to the devices listed below. But hopefully more hearing aids will support the hope in the future.
compatible hearing aids
- star key: Evolve AI, Livio, Livio AI, Livio Edge AI
- Audible: Arc AI, Via, Via AI, We Edge AI
- Noor: Sawant AI, Circa, Circa AI, Circa Age AI
- Microtech: Envy AI, Ascentia, Essentia AI, Essentia Edge AI
It’s a big step forward for accessibility on the Amazon Fire TV Cube and we can only hope that other manufacturers join in.
All of Amazon’s best Fire TV and Alexa platforms are wrapped up in a neat little box.