Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2021
The Amazon support model is ridiculous. There is no capability (as is the case in most of the known support environments) to open an actual ticket, and then be able to have an interactive thread, through which you can resolve actual “serious” issues. All you can do is talk to someone on the phone, and if they can’t fix your problem, about the best they can do is replace your device. Of course… when the device is fine, but the device’s code is super-buggy, those agents not only have no way to handle that, but many of the “more technical” issues that you might be experiencing, are far beyond the scope of anything those agents understand. In short, if it’s not something that is simply “a wrong setting, that they can correct”, then you are screwed.
Secondly, NOTE that they depict you ONLY attaching this directly to your TV. I’ve never had a Fire device connected there (and I’ve had several), and, I don’t even have any available TV ports to attach it there. My previous Fire devices have always been attached to my AV receiver. (That is relevant to the following, more serious issue.)
I use ARC (another “thing” the support agents have never heard of) in my AV setup. Of course, it is enabled in my TV and receiver, to transport audio from TV-based streaming apps, to my receiver. HOWEVER, I discovered that any time that this Cube device is “on” (which was “all the time”, with my previous Fire devices), the Cube is injecting some form of signaling, upstream to the receiver, and whatever it is, completely “breaks” ARC. I suspect it is related to the new CEC functionality in the Cube, which is intended to let you control other devices. HOWEVER, I have that disabled in the Cube. That leads me to suspect that it is still “sending” some “basic” CEC signaling that is causing the problem. (The instant I power off, or unplug, the Cube, ARC instantly starts working again.) Again, trying to discuss this technical issue with one of their support agents is sorta like a rocket scientist trying to have a meaningful science conversation with a 6-year-old. Of course, it’s not the agent’s fault. They aren’t trained for this, BUT neither is anyone else in the support center, and there is apparently no way to get to people who are AV “experts”.
The Cube also has a rat’s nest of configuration issues. There is one Display setting which needs to be set a certain way, to allow operation in full 4K. It allows me to “select” that setting, and then the device works right, with respect to that specific thing. But, later on, that setting (on its own) falls back to the default setting, which supports only HD. Bottom line, every time I have wanted to use the device, I must go into Settings, and reestablish that setting. Obviously, a bug, but again, because the support agents can’t actually “fix that on the phone”, I have no sense that it is even being reported to anyone.
And getting Dolby Vision to work is a rat’s nest. You would think that you could just choose the Auto setting (which determines how it handles content to be displayed). That is certainly the mostly logical choice, and when you make that selection, the Cube’s (internal) Dolby Vision “test video” will successfully play, in Dolby Vision, on your TV. However, when you actually go to an App (e.g. HBO Max), and select a “known” Dolby Vision video, it ONLY plays in HDR.
There is a “work-around” for that, but it has problems of its own. The stupid thing is that you then must change the Cube settings to “force” HDR (instead of using an “Auto” setting), and THEN, Dolby Vision works (which, again, is totally non-intuitive). But, again, that’s not the end of that stupid mess. When you do “force” HDR in the Cube settings, NOW all the Cube interactions with your TV are ALWAYS in Dolby Vision. Said differently, when the Cube powers up, and that is the selected “input” device in your receiver, it instantly forces your TV permanently to Dolby Vision (for ALL display activities coming from the Cube).
I really have no idea what it is doing with the color space differences when your TV is (then), locked into Dolby Vision mode, while watching HD (1080) videos. I can only assume that the Cube is converting the Rec. 709 color space (which is utilized in HD content) to the Rec. 2020 color space (used in UHD and Dolby Vision content). The (HD) color “seems right”, but it makes no sense to me that it should “forcibly lock” into a “Dolby Vision”-only state, when it will probably be playing far more HD (1080) content, AND the fact that I have no control over that “choice”, is (in my humble opinion) inappropriate.
And, again, trying to resolve all of these, mostly crazy, issues with only the existing Amazon support model is mostly a non-starter. Those people don’t understand the more complex aspects of the technology (to which these devices may be attached), and a lot of this simply goes over their heads. The inability to open "real" tickets, and then have those tickets escalated up to higher tiers of (more skilled) technicians (and even to the coders who manage the firmware), makes this support model a nightmare for the customer.