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Long-rumored Amazon Fire TV Cube finally announced

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#1
Amazon claims they are taking pre-orders at a huge discount for Prime members, but I cannot order it, yet.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBTFNVA/ref_=fs_ods_fs_smp_sk

I am excited by this as it would combine my fire TV with my Echo Dot in my family room system reducing that system to two source components: Fire TV and Turntable.

It also claims to support other remote controls, but I don't think I need that.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#3
That thing looks pretty amazing. If I were not so invested in the Google ecosystem, I would buy one.
HA! Sucker!!!

But seriously, I play music over about six synchronized Echoes all the time, so if I want to watch TV via the Fire TV in my Family Room I have to switch the input on my preamp from the Echo Dot to the output from my TV. I get frustrated as I often just walk away after I am finished watching TV, so when I ask Alexa to play music throughout the house again, the Family Room system is silent until I walk over and switch the input again. With this new Fire TV Cube I can just leave the input always on the TV output and will only need to switch the input for my turntable, which is pretty rare.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#6
Now I am questioning as to whether this device can be added to a multiroom audio group. If it can, what happens if a TV show is streaming and someone activates the multiroom audio group?
 

Towen7

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
#7
Im not sure if this addresses the question but … I use Alexa to activate multiroom audio through Sonos. If anyone uses an Alexa command anywhere in the house the volume on ALL Sonos devices is reduced for around 5 seconds. I find that rather annoying.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#8
Im not sure if this addresses the question but … I use Alexa to activate multiroom audio through Sonos. If anyone uses an Alexa command anywhere in the house the volume on ALL Sonos devices is reduced for around 5 seconds. I find that rather annoying.
That's interesting. When I use my Echoes for multiroom audio and speak a command to Alexa, only the devices which heard my voice soften the volume level. So, if I am in my breakfast nook while playing music and say, "Alexa", my kitchen, family room, and sometimes living room (front room) Echoes get quieter for a few seconds even though only one Echo is formally listening - they all heard me say Alexa and determined which Echo was the closest (sometimes they are wrong as to which is closest). Meanwhile the echoes in my bedroom, master bath, and porch continue playing music at the same level.

Since I live alone, I don't need multiple listening zones.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#10
Well, it arrived. Like a child on Christmas morning I ripped it out of the packaging, plugged it in, and set it up. It is a tad frustrating it doesn't restore all my settings from the other fire TVs.

It works great, with a stunning image and it can control my Samsung TV. It ran through a setup for a receiver, and while it has Parasound listed in its options, it cannot control the Halo preamp I use. It tried to learn the power command, but Halo used a separate "On" and "Off" commands but the Fire clearly assumed there was a simple binary "power" toggle. It also couldn't do the mute or volume. Shame.

I was also disappointed I couldn't add the new Fire Cube into a multi-room audio group. Since this was pretty much my only reason to buy this thing, I am frustrated right now. The fire TV cube is not recognized in the phone at as an echo, so it cannot join groups.

Damn.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#12
All of the marketing suggested it had all the features of an echo and fire TV combined. Clearly that isn't the case.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#14
It will probably improve with firmware updates.
I hope so. Before I sent Amazon an email explaining my problems with their new signature device I checked their website to confirm their marketing and they've changed the language. They no longer claim this is the complete marriage of the Echo and the Fire TV and instead say the Fire TV Cube just adds full Alexa voice control. While that's still a nice improvement over the old Fire TV, it isn't the game changer I thought I was buying. I do hope they add multi-room music support very soon, because I use it all the time. Whenever I am doing stuff around the house or entertaining I play my music on this system as well as 4 other rooms. At least once a day I am telling Alexa to play something on the "everywhere" group.

I was going to merely reconnect my old Echo Dot to my family room system where I installed the new Fire TV Cube, but I cannot put two Alexa controlled devices right next to each other, so that's not an option. Now if I want to restore multi-room music capabilities to this room, I have to completely remove the Fire TV Cube and go back to the old setup. That is extremely frustrating.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#16
Can you just turn off the mic for the device you are not using at the moment?
Yes, if I walk across the room and turn them on and off - One of the main reasons I wanted to consolidate the devices to one single device was to remove the need to merely change the audio input on my preamp every time I want to switch devices - so turning the mics on and off is actually more work than that.

I can also change the wakeup word on one of the devices, but that kills the sense of Alexa being there for me in every room. I was looking today, and Amazon has added info to their marketing page stating that multi-room music will be coming later.
 

Towen7

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
#17
I don’t know why, because I hadn’t seen it anywhere in the marketing material, but I was really hoping that the new Cube would have an Ethernet port. I’m still old-school and much prefer to use hard-lines whenever possible.

I hate having to use Amazon’s Ethernet-USB dongle.
 

Flint

"Do you know who I am?"
Superstar
#18
My disappointment with this new Fire TV Cube is growing.

So, it responds to voice commands... what if I am watching a show with a friend and I get up and go to the kitchen and tell Alexa to turn on the kitchen lights? Well, the Fire TV Cube pauses the TV show, puts an overlay onto the screen to show it is listening, and then realizes my other Echo is actually closer to me and taking my request, so the Fire TV Cube stops listening. But, the show is still paused and my friend has to tell Alexa to start the show again, or pick up the remote and press play. This is extremely distracting.

I used Alexa to control my lights, my HVAC, and set alarms. If the TV is going to stop a show every time I need to ask Alexa to do something in the house the experience is really bad.

Today I changed the wake word for my Fire TV Cube to "Echo" in order stop it from pausing whatever it is doing whenever I speak to Alexa anywhere in the downstairs area where I have two other Echo units. I also reconnected the Echo Dot I had hoped to replace because I want the Multiroom Music capability to work - I use that all the time.
 

Towen7

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
#19
... If the TV is going to stop a show every time I need to ask Alexa to do something in the house the experience is really bad.
That’s essentially what happens when using Alexa to control a Sonos system. If the wake-word is heard by any Alexa device on the system every speaker mutes. It’s not cool if I’m listening to music in the bedroom and my wife sets a timer in the kitchen.
 

Towen7

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
#20
I preordered a Cube but just connected it tonight to the TV in the office. I don’t know how but it configured itself to control my TV without any input from me at all. Setting up my AVR (a very old Pioneer) was simple and straightforward too.
I like the voice control for opening and controlling my video apps and for controlling volume and power.

But I’m with Flint. Pausing a program in the office because my wife sets a timer in the kitchen is unacceptable.
 
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