OK, This is a harsh but honest review, maybe this Alexa was released to early, but time will tell...First I love the Echos & Alexa, I run x5 Echo Shows, x2 Echo 2nd Gens, and Echo Dots everywhere else with my car being next! Yes I have called Amazon & FireTV about the issues, Amazon will not allow reviews yet as it says the item hasn’t been released yet? I bought it from them (2 of them).
Echo’s IMHO deserve 5 stars, but even when the 1st was released it wasn’t worth 2! So without further blabbing here are the problems I’ve ran into finished with the x4 good things about this new Echo in the Family. To include saving Thousands (Yes THOUSANDs) of dollars!
I’ve ran my Echo “Cube” as a stand alone FireTV System in my bedroom and I have tried it in my Home Theater (165” Screen + Full Equipment) & my Internet is 1 GIG download & 10mbs Upload speeds. ALL Echos and smart-home Equipment have a dedicated channel. Apps I’ve tested are Netflix, HULU+, Amazon Prime Video, Sling, & YouTubeRED. From here out I’ll just say “Apps”. & FireTV will be called the “Cube”.
Cons: Amazon Echo Cube FireTV “Alexa” doesn’t get along well with “others”.
1. Stops all TV/ theater operations (basically pauses) every time the wake word is used. So if you are watching FireTV on any of the Apps I listed above and the wake word is used on ANY Echo in my home, The Alexa inside the Echo Cube running FireTV Pauses whatever I am watching for whomever said “Alexa” to finish the command. This even happens when someone in another room talks to “Alexa”.
2. Throughout the day the Cube randomly pauses (so far testing with all the Apps, primarily Netflix) I though maybe its Netflix, but it didn’t matter what App, The Alexa FireTV would randomly pause whatever the show you were watching about 2 times every hour. Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for up to 20! This hasn’t stopped at all in the 1st 36 hours so far that I’ve been testing it. I have switched to using Apps (same) built into my 4k-Blu-Ray Players & the TV and neither had a single issue. Its the “Cube”
3. The “Cube” does not work well with the Harmony Elite remote & Hub System yet? When using other devices (Like a Sony Blu-ray Player UPB-X800) and you are watching Apps like Netflix or HULU and the previous episode has ended and the new episode starts (you usually get a timer saying the next episode starts in X time), with a timer of 20-80 second you can give the command “Alexa, Tell (or ask) Harmony to play” and the next episode starts. With the “Cube” it does not start the next episode, it does the opposite! It reverts you back to the episode menu. So instead of starting say; Season 2 Episode 9, you are pulled out and are looking at the Episode list. :( Whether that has anything to do with the remote I doubt, but who knows...
4. SETUP & Pairing! Just FYI when pairing with the Logitech Harmony Remote/Hub the pairing will display as Harmony Keyboard when connecting the “Cube” Via Bluetooth. This can be a bit confusing as I only found out after searching the problem online with previous FireTV owners. I have several Logitech Keyboards for a few PCs and Ipad Pros, so I though that the FireTV was not showing up on Bluetooth at all when it actually was. After pairing with the Harmony remote the remote control itself is fantastic and it gives excellent use of the screen! A side bonus was that FireTV had an option to show the actual Harmony Elite Remote (Picture) with all of the UN-assigned buttons in Orange. This was a huge help as I am using the Echo’s (Alexa) for full house Automation and the only remote I use is the Harmony Elite’s. It has buttons for lights, outlets ect.. So this was a nice touch. See pictures I attached below.
5. I believe FireTV need highlighting on the menu page. Its very easy using FireTV to be navigating the main APP page and lose what you are supposed to be clicking, due to the small text that highlights in orange it can be goofy trying to see what you have currently selected without having to move the remote selector onto an app so it enlarges. This could be simplified by just using an outline box around the APP or text with an Orange (or any color) box instead of the current system. Maybe Amazon is pushing the voice commands a bit too hard? However with the above conflicting problems with voice commands pausing content I choose not to use voice commands.
0. I have another Echo box? LOL, but seriously...
1. The option to connect an Ethernet cable is a big deal especially if you live with or around circumstances that require it. Plus if your really going to stream 4k best just use the cable.
2. The IR Booster is nice for those who would hide the “Cube”, but I cant figure out why you would? Maybe its just best if you have a hard IR connection to make and placing that booster will help.
3. FireTV and the “Cube” is built for Apps! No TV, No Blu-ray Player, nothing other than something like this seems to run Apps as well. You can really customize channels, if you want to get into Apps like Kodi (for Free TV/Film content go for it) however I choose Sling as I get 47 channels and 50 hours of cloud based DVR for 5 more dollars! Truly having all your channels and the Cube as a cable box for under $30 a month is great!
4. BIGGEST PLUS = NO MORE Cable box. Here in Alaska (probably everywhere else) its $12 a month per box, we had x3 boxes at $36 a month. We have lived here for 180 months and thats about $6,500.00 to the cable company not counting over priced cable! The Amazon Echo Cube with FireTV will be worth every penny as it gets better! As a stand alone “Cube” and if this is your 1st and only “Alexa” you will LOVE this! Yes it has quirks, but when it comes to Amazon they dont last long!