Fire TV Cube 2nd Gen - best streamer for the price ?

oneman

Well-known Member
Just picked up one of these refurbished for £48 though it's on sale new for £60.

All I can say is that I am impressed. Wasn't expecting much of an improvement over Fire TV 1st Gen I was replacing but it is.

Obviously super quick with 6-core CPU, didn't think the older Fire TV was laggly till I switched.. All the usual streaming services, nothing new there. Kodi took about 5 minutes to install and works much quicker than the Fire TV. Hardware H.265 support means I can view my 5k CCTV at full resolution.

2 big things, Alexa with built in speaker. Thought it was just a gimmick but actually the integration has been great. Searching cover Netflix, prime, iPlayer, ITV player, etc. Not sure about Disney+.

And built in IR controls my Samsung TV, soundbar and Panasonic Blu-ray, all integrated with Alexa as well. And my TV remote now controls the cube as well. I hear it works with Sky, but at the moment not virgin media until VM rolls out their Horizons platform.

Overall, even at full price it would be a great buy, but at reduced price it's a steal. Is it worth the extra over a firestick, difficult one but the built-in speaker and IR certainly makes it more attractive.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I'm just setting my Fire TV Cube up and I can't get it to power down at all with the remote. Am I doing something wrong? I've even tried 'alexa off' and 'alexa power off' but nothing seems to work.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
I'm just setting my Fire TV Cube up and I can't get it to power down at all with the remote. Am I doing something wrong? I've even tried 'alexa off' and 'alexa power off' but nothing seems to work.
I don't think you power either the firestick or fire cube down, it will automatically go into sleep mode.

You can also say Alexa stop and it stops everything its doing.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
With the much-improved processing power onboard the 2nd Gen FireTV Cube I have just ordered one from Amazon for £69

This device seems to be getting the best reviews across the board and is even getting higher scores than the Nvidia Shield Pro which I used to own.

Quick question... Can you turn the built-in speaker vol down or even off so Alexa isn't blaring her commands out in the middle of the night?
 

Lapis lazuli

Active Member
Quick question... Can you turn the built-in speaker vol down or even off so Alexa isn't blaring her commands out in the middle of the night?

There's a volume control on the top of the unit.

I personally find the Fire Stick 4k better than the cube. It's cheaper, functionally near identical, and in my experience crashes or glitches out much less. There are quite a lot of negative reviews of the Cube on Amazon.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
There's a volume control on the top of the unit.

I personally find the Fire Stick 4k better than the cube. It's cheaper, functionally near identical, and in my experience crashes or glitches out much less. There are quite a lot of negative reviews of the Cube on Amazon.
Interesting.. I'll provide my honest unbiased feedback after a month of use.
Due to be delivered Wednesday.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
There's a volume control on the top of the unit.

I personally find the Fire Stick 4k better than the cube. It's cheaper, functionally near identical, and in my experience crashes or glitches out much less. There are quite a lot of negative reviews of the Cube on Amazon.
Yes in my main system I’ve taken a Cube out and put a Stick back in. There were good reasons but for the life of me I can’t remember why :thumbsdow
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
I noticed the other day that the Gen2 Cube is the ONLY Amazon Fire TV device listed as supported for BBCiPlayer UHD/HLG content. All the rest are JVC TV's with the FireTV OS onboard.

Given they're not listed, I take it the fire sticks don't have this capability?
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
I had one of the cubes. Just didn't find it reliable enough for every day use. I had to unplug the power regularly due to HDMI handshake/ no audio issues. Like others have suggested for some reason the stick has none of those problems.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
I had one of the cubes. Just didn't find it reliable enough for every day use. I had to unplug the power regularly due to HDMI handshake/ no audio issues. Like others have suggested for some reason the stick has none of those problems.
Was that a 2019 Gen2 Cube and was it connected directly to your Proj / OLED or Amp?
 

chenks

Well-known Member
Given they're not listed, I take it the fire sticks don't have this capability?

it could be that the list is out of date, but in general if it's not listed then there is no support for it.
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
Was that a 2019 Gen2 Cube and was it connected directly to your Proj / OLED or Amp?
Yep the Gen 2 Cube. Connected directly to my processor. Who knows might be better now with new firmware/software.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
Yep the Gen 2 Cube. Connected directly to my processor. Who knows might be better now with new firmware/software.
Thanks markymiles. I have seen that FireTV devices do get a lot of updates pushed to them periodically, so good to see that the Amazon Devs are always making regular improvements to their devices.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
I’m also experiencing the handshake issues with the cube direct to my Arcam. Also have a 4K stick but will stay with the cube at the moment because of the better integration of the Amazon Unlimited HD app with the Arcam.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
Ok, so sounds like the Cube has a few issues HDMI handshaking with some Amps then.
Where I will be using mine I won't be using one as my Cube will be HDMI'd direct into my Sony A90J TV.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
It may be at the set up stage for controlling devices. There’s a list for Arcam receivers which has the AVR450 on it (mines a SR250 but same series). There is a step where you can manually enter the receiver IR code but haven’t a clue what the SR250 one is.
Through the TV isn’t an option as I’m only on ARC so it limits the outputs for Amazon Music HD and no DD+
 

Lapis lazuli

Active Member
I noticed the other day that the Gen2 Cube is the ONLY Amazon Fire TV device listed as supported for BBCiPlayer UHD/HLG content. All the rest are JVC TV's with the FireTV OS onboard.

Given they're not listed, I take it the fire sticks don't have this capability?
The Fire Cube doesn't actually do UHD/HLG. It shows the stream but its limited to 1080p SDR.

I have had BBC confirm this but they have not updated their compatibility list.

The Fire Stick 4k does not do UHD iPlayer either. Essentially do not buy a Fire TV device for UHD iPlayer. I think Roku is the cheapest for UHD iPlayer (if you can deal with their very aggressive privacy policy and terms).

Incidentally the only benefit I see with the Fire Cube is that it does 24/192 music streaming on Amazon Music. Fire Stick 4k says it also supports this, but it does not for many devices (including Denon amps) and is limited to 16bit.

It's a bit of a mixed bag at the minute for streaming devices, seems you need 2(or 3!) if you want everything working.
 

Lapis lazuli

Active Member
I’m also experiencing the handshake issues with the cube direct to my Arcam. Also have a 4K stick but will stay with the cube at the moment because of the better integration of the Amazon Unlimited HD app with the Arcam.
This may not be your issue but I found that if I had both a Fire Stick 4k and a Cube plugged into the same amp, the Cube kept resetting to 1080p and it caused a lot of handshake issues.

If you have both plugged in trying disconnecting the 4k stick.
 

David Alexander

Active Member
Yes, only the Fire TV Cube is now plugged in. Tried a couple of things, one of which may have done the trick.

Equipment control> Advanced settings> Power timing - increased interval to mac

Set-up - used an Arcam IF profile which included Blue ray Input (BD) as the default seemed to be for an AV450. I haven't a clue how you actually find out the default IR profile for the SR250....

To be fair, when playing the UHD content (Vigil, let's face it there's hardly an abundance of iPLayer UHD content) the receiver is reporting it as incoming HDR. But then it may well do that for 1080 input as well. It looks good, and is way better than the content when dipslayed on th fire stick 4k which even at 720 looks woeful.
 

IL Cattivo

Distinguished Member
To be fair, when playing the UHD content (Vigil, let's face it there's hardly an abundance of iPLayer UHD content) the receiver is reporting it as incoming HDR. But then it may well do that for 1080 input as well. It looks good, and is way better than the content when dipslayed on th fire stick 4k which even at 720 looks woeful.
Is the display setting on the Cube set to 2160p..? The fact it is reporting HDR as incoming tells me the BBC website is correct with its support info. If the Cube is set to output 1080p then iPlayer won't even display that UHD content is even available.

Once my Cube arrives today I will confirm this as my TV tells me what signal is being received via the source input.
 

Lapis lazuli

Active Member
To be fair, when playing the UHD content (Vigil, let's face it there's hardly an abundance of iPLayer UHD content) the receiver is reporting it as incoming HDR. But then it may well do that for 1080 input as well. It looks good, and is way better than the content when dipslayed on th fire stick 4k which even at 720 looks woeful.
Out of interest, what picture settings are the Fire Cube set to (Dynamic range 'adaptive' or 'always HDR')? There are options that always force HDR mode (not sure if it's the default).

For iPlayer UHD my Sony TV does not recognise a HDR signal, but does show a 4k (on the TV at least) however it is because the Fire Cube is upscaling to 4k from 1080p. On the Fire TV developer menu you can see the actual resolution/colours being sent by the app.

The response I had from the BBC a few weeks ago was:

Our engineers have informed us that the issue has been fully investigated by our product team and they have advised us that the issue lies with Amazon.We would like to thank you for bringing this to our attention and we apologise that we weren't able to offer a fix. Hopefully the fault will be remedied before future UHD events.

Edit: Just checked Vigil on mine using the latest version of iPlayer and it's still 1080p/SDR for me.
 
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David Alexander

Active Member
I'll have a play with the HDR settig when I can force the kids off the TV (some hope).

The thing is with the Fire stick 4K your stuck with 720p on the iPlayer UHD content. I doubt this has changed since last week when I tried. At least with the Cube the resolution is at worst 1080p.

I messed with some of the settings in a brief interlude and lost the UHD output of Clarksons Farm on Amazon Prime and then got it back again. I may try a more systematic approach later (although that may just pee the wife off).
 

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