Amazon Fire Tv Cube

120 $

Here’s what’s different
There are two main aspects of the Fire TV Cube that set it apart from anything else Amazon has released.

HARDWARE
The first is hardware compatibility. Not only does the Fire TV Cube run Amazon’s Fire OS for streaming shows and movies from the likes of Sling TV or Netflix (among many more), but it also works with most cable or satellite set top boxes. Furthermore, it also works with sound bars and A/V receivers.

SOFTWARE
Beyond the ability to control your cable box, switch between inputs, or adjust your TV’s volume, the Fire TV Cube takes advantage of the large display it’s attached to: Your TV. For example, asking Alexa on the Fire TV Cube about the weather will display the forecast on the TV screen as Alexa walks you through the highs and lows. Playing the daily Jeopardy challenge puts the giant blue boxes with white text on your TV. And, of course, asking Alexa to show you a video feed from one of its supported cameras works without a hitch.

 

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Product Description

Fire TV Cube, hands-free with Alexa and 4K Ultra HD

(includes all-new Alexa Voice Remote), streaming media player

Here’s what’s different
There are two main aspects of the Fire TV Cube that set it apart from anything else Amazon has released.

HARDWARE
The first is hardware compatibility. Not only does the Fire TV Cube run Amazon’s Fire OS for streaming shows and movies from the likes of Sling TV or Netflix (among many more), but it also works with most cable or satellite set top boxes. Furthermore, it also works with sound bars and A/V receivers.

So, instead of having to switch between inputs or use different remotes to watch something on cable and go back to the Fire TV Cube to stream a show on Hulu, this one box controls everything.

Amazon uses a combination of cloud integration, an IR transmitter, and HDMI-CEC to control various devices. For example, if you ask Alexa to turn up the volume, Fire TV Cube will issue the command via IR to your sound bar to increase the volume.
ecause the Fire TV Cube is designed to be in close proximity of your TV or sound bar, Amazon suggests placing it at least 12 inches away from the nearest speaker. This helps the microphones discern what’s coming from the TV, and any commands coming from someone sitting in the room.

Included in the box is a small IR extender, which is plugged into the back of the Cube and routed to the front of devices that the Cube can interact with, but its IR signal doesn’t reach.

According to Amazon, most consumers have a set top box or a sound bar. Unfortunately, I have neither, so all of my testing was done using the Fire TV Cube as a streaming device only.

SOFTWARE
The second aspect that makes the Fire TV Cube different from previous Amazon products is software.

Beyond the ability to control your cable box, switch between inputs, or adjust your TV’s volume, the Fire TV Cube takes advantage of the large display it’s attached to: Your TV. For example, asking Alexa on the Fire TV Cube about the weather will display the forecast on the TV screen as Alexa walks you through the highs and lows. Playing the daily Jeopardy challenge puts the giant blue boxes with white text on your TV. And, of course, asking Alexa to show you a video feed from one of its supported cameras works without a hitch.

Additional information

Weight 465 g
Dimensions 86.1 × 86.1 × 76.9 cm

1 review for Amazon Fire Tv Cube

  1. Texas Flood

    I installed the new version of the Fire TV Cube this week. My previous setup was Sony 4K TV, Sony Soundbar, Harmony Hub, Roku Ultra, and Amazon Echo. With that, I got all the streaming 4K content I wanted + voice control. The Fire TV cube has the ability to replace 3 of those devices (Harmony, Roku, Echo), so naturally I had to try it. Here has been my experience so far:

    Background:

    I’m using the Fire TV Cube via 802.11ac wifi with a gigabit internet connection. I installed the latest software updates immediately after setting up the device.

    The Good:

    – Setup was super easy. WAY easier than Logitech Harmony. The wizard found and correctly configured all of my components, and I was up an running in a few minutes. No need to define complex routines for powering devices on and off. Very much a plug-and-play user experience, which I’m sure was no easy feat to develop. Kudos to the software guys on this part.
    – Voice control works great, with a few quirks. Though app support is mixed, the Fire TV cube allows a much deeper level of voice control than Harmony. “Alexa, watch Ozark on Netflix” turns on all the equipment, launches Netflix, and starts my show… most of the time. All the normal Echo functionality is there, and control of my smart home devices works just as well as it does with my other Echos.
    – Video quality seems great – on par with Roku Ultra. Streaming 4K HDR content looks exactly how it should.

    The Bad:

    – Compared to Roku, the Fire TV user interface is a mess. Poorly organized, and it feels like you are bombarded with ads. I miss the simplicity of the Roku home screen, where you only see exactly what you want to see.
    – No native Vudu app. Seriously, this is a huge miss. Vudu is by far the best streaming app for pay-per-view type content, especially when it comes to 4K content. I get that Vudu is partnered with Walmart somehow, and that makes them an Amazon competitor, but still – this might be a deal breaker. I found the instructions to install Vudu as a 3rd party developer app, but the app is junk… no where near as good as the Vudu app you get through Roku or Xbox One.
    – Voice commands to control device on/off seem to be hit or miss. Sometimes, “Alexa, turn on Hulu and watch Bob’s Burgers” works perfectly. Other times, nothing happens, and I have to say “Alexa, turn on the TV” to get it to turn on.
    – Streaming thus far has been less than reliable. I’m on a rock solid Gigabit internet connection – never had reliability issues streaming through Roku or Xbox. But so far, I’m seeing random Netflix app crashes, where it drops you straight to the home screen. Also, I rented a movie through Prime Video, and I would get random audio hitching. Also, about half way through, the audio got out of sync with the video. Restarting the Fire TV did not fix the problem. Very annoying, especially for paid content.

    Overall:

    Right now, things aren’t looking good for the Fire TV Cube. I really want it to work, because it’s a much simpler solution vs the Harmony/Roku/Echo combo. But the usability and reliability quirks are deal breakers in their current state. I’m going to give it some time and see if the next update improves things – I realize this thing just came out, and it has the potential to be great if they get the kinks ironed out. I hope you’re paying attention, Amazon software developers.

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