Top positive review
Works amazingly well (still some design quirks)
November 5, 2018
So, I'm updating my initial review from 1 star to 4 stars because a) the product support team reached out to me to help troubleshoot the issue, and b) one of their suggestions fixed the issue. I was having a very odd problem that older programs (shows in syndication like "Frasier") selected through Netflix, had no audio. Odd that any newer program like a Netflix series, did have audio. After support had me try various audio settings to no avail, it was finally suggested that I reboot the Fire TV Cube by unplugging it for 30 seconds... Guess what, it worked!
So while I'm very glad the issue's resolved, a) I guess I'm a little worried that it happened in the first place and b) wondering if it will happen again. I'm coming from a Roku3 that I've used for five years and never had any issues at all except for these last few months which is why I decided it was time to replace it and thought I'd give the Fire TV Cube a try.
Overall, I like it and am impressed that all the complicated stuff I thought it would have problems with, actually works! I'm using a Yamaha 5.1 4k receiver as the hub that all my media devices are connected to and use its sole HDMI output to a Samsung TV. Alexa will turn on any of the six media devices I have connected to it, and even more impressive, Alexa is intelligent enough to do "implied two-tiered” commands, i.e., if my entire system is shut down and I walk into the room and say, “Alexa, play the ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’”, it knows that it must first powerup my Yamaha receiver and Samsung TV, open Amazon Prime Video, and then play “TMMM” – it also picks up where I left off. And on top of that, the first time I did it, I said the name of the show wrong, I called it “The Amazing Miss Maisel”, but Alexa corrected me by saying, “Ok, playing ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’” and starting the show anyway. Very cool! Keep in mind it’s always wise to tell Alexa the source of the content, e.g., “Alex, play ‘Forever’ on Amazon Prime Video”; otherwise, it will default to the song ‘Forever’ on Amazon Prime Music.
I’m a little disappointed in the home screen, in that it usually will feature what you previously watched, but if you then open an app like Netflix, and come back to the Home screen, it’s not where you previously left off – sometimes it’s really easy to lose your place and I have to resort to manually searching for content. I was also very surprised with a device that has 16GB of RAM, how laggy it can be, for, e.g., the Alexa commands to move the menu screens by “Alexa, scroll right… scroll up…”, etc. are not worth it because there’s such a delay - so just use the remote for navigation. Another little weird glitch I’ve noticed is that instead of asking Alex to turn on the TV, and I do it by hitting the Home button on the remote, both my TV and receiver correctly turn on, but the sound is now routed through the TV’s internal speakers instead of the Yamaha receiver and I have to go into the TV’s settings and tell it to use the Yamaha receiver for sound… so, I guess from now on I’ll stick to letting Alexa power up the system 😉 But overall, it’s a great product and getting better all the time.
Amazon support and development teams are the best! Thanks for all your help.
--- <original review --
Play a new Netflix series and no problems, select an older series, e.g., "Frasier" or "The Andy Griffith Show", and all you get is silence while the video plays. Went into Settings and Audio was set on "Best Available", so went through and tried all the others ending with the lowest setting of "Stereo", and still, no audio on older content, but newer content always works.
Ironically, all the complicated stuff that I was expecting problems on, works absolutely fine - how on earth did this amazing gaffe get through beta and gamma???
Also, the disappearing audio can occur while playing songs from Prime Music - some songs have audio, others are silent while you just watch the sound bars go up and down and the play-progress bar advance.
I'll give it a few days to see if a firmware update is released. If not, it goes back and the Roku3 comes back out.