It's even worse than it appears.
Friday October 11, 2019; 10:12 AM EDT
  • I was excited to get the Fire Cube, but after a short installation and exploration, I realized it was nowhere near as good as it has to be to earn a place in my living room. I'm going to return it and instead buy a current Apple TV. I'll report on that later. #
  • Re the Cube, it has to compete with the Roku user interface that's baked into my TCL screen. It clearly has this ambition, when it sets itself up, it remarkably figures out how to turn on and off the TV and my Onkyo receiver. I think this is a combination of better standards and testing. Impressive. #
  • But when their desktop appears, it's a confusing mess, and in every way assumes what you want is Amazon Prime Video, even though it has Netflix and other apps. They clearly are biased. Understandable, but not functional. I come to them from a world where they don't control me, so it's a turnoff. I'm just as likely to watch something on HBO Go or Netflix as on Prime. Their desktop should be more agnostic. It's okay to put your app first in the list, but really that's as far as it should go.#
  • I wanted to see if the Spectrum app for Fire worked better than the Roku one, but I couldn't figure out through their app store interface how to search for an app by name. That's ridiculous. They understand the importance of search in other places, but not here? I couldn't figure out which class of app a cable provider would fall under. #
  • Then I tried the Alexa functionality. It's weird that it must have talked to the other two Alexas in my house to figure out how to connect over my wifi. I never had to enter a password. This spooked me. This Alexa works differently and it's hard of hearing! I couldn't figure out how to get it to stop without unplugging it. #
  • I think they must have special problems with an environment where other speakers are present, but they weren't making any sound when I was trying to communicate with it. And the Alexa in the kitchen sometimes heard and responded to my queries, so it's pretty clear that having two Alexas in adjacent rooms isn't going to work. #
  • I then went back to Roku's desktop and breathed a sigh of relief, and decided the Fire Cube sucks. I don't want it. #

© 1994-2019 Dave Winer.

Last update: Friday October 11, 2019; 10:26 AM EDT.

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