I would perceive Amazon’s need to saturate its third-generation Hearth TV Dice with annoying promoting a bit extra if this super-speedy streaming field, which doubles as a makeshift Echo, price as a lot as a typical streaming stick. Nevertheless, for $140, a worth that places it immediately into both Apple TV 4K or Nvidia Protect TV territory, Amazon’s advertising-drenched UI feels a bit too overpriced.


However that is the most important annoyance you may must take care of for a succesful streaming gadget that does an exceptional job of managing all the opposite gadgets dwelling in your house leisure heart. It is speedy and responsive — together with Alexa — and you probably have the persistence to attend for the Hearth TV Dice to get a giant Prime Day low cost, its advertising-filled screens will really feel much more palatable.

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Amazon’s Hearth TV Dice is not excellent, largely as a result of it is stuffed with annoying commercials that go above and past the norm, however when you get previous that, this speedy streaming gadget features nice when you’re invested within the Amazon ecosystem.

It is a breeze to launch reveals and streaming providers (even Amazon’s opponents), by yelling at Alexa, and the Hearth TV Dice feels extremely responsive and straightforward to make use of. It does an ideal job of linking your property leisure heart’s many gadgets, very like a typical receiver, making it straightforward to change between issues through the included distant or voice instructions. Whereas its Hearth OS-based UI may use some slimming down or extra customization choices, the Hearth TV Dice might be enough for most individuals’s wants and an excellent stronger streaming field when you seize it throughout one among Amazon’s huge gross sales.

Specs

  • Connective Know-how: Quick Ethernet; Wi-Fi 6E
  • Dimensions: 3.38” x 3.38” x 2.99”
  • What’s Included: Energy cable
  • Ports (128GB Mannequin): HDMI 2.1 enter and ouput, IR extender, USB-A 2.0,
Execs

  • Nice for controlling your many home-entertainment heart gadgets
  • Constructed-in Alexa performance acts identical to an Echo
  • Voice controls make it super-easy to leap between providers and reveals
  • Usually advanced AV choices made easy by automated settings
Cons

  • A number of annoying promoting
  • It’s a must to dig for some standard (non-Amazon) streaming providers
  • Cluttery UI and plenty of boring, featured free streaming providers

Purchase This Product

Amazon Hearth TV Dice (third Gen)

Worth and availability

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Yow will discover the Hearth TV Dice at Amazon for an MSRP of $140. We have seen it go as little as $125, however you possibly can anticipate Amazon to give you higher offers round one among its many themed procuring days. Or, you possibly can seize the Hearth TV Dice at many different offline or on-line retailers.

Design, {hardware}, what’s within the field

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The Hearth TV Dice is roughly the scale of Amazon’s spherical Echo Dots; it is simply in dice kind. Because of this, it matches proper right into a typical residence leisure heart with out fuss. Nevertheless, it isn’t as straightforward to neglect because the tinier, tubular Nvidia Protect TV or Google’s puck-like Chromecast with Google TV. On the plus facet, the Hearth TV Dice packs in additional I/O (enter/output) than both.

The rear of the Hearth TV Dice has an HDMI 2.1 enter and output, letting you chain a tool to your Hearth TV Dice and doubtlessly management it with the Hearth TV Dice’s distant (or slap overlays on prime of no matter it’s you are viewing or enjoying on the linked gadget). Each HDMI ports are restricted to 60Hz, so I do not advocate connecting your gaming console to the Dice when you’re fortunate sufficient to have a 120Hz+ tv.

A Quick Ethernet port (the slower customary, not Gigabit) sits beneath a USB-A 2.0 port. There’s even an additional connection for an IR extender, which you should purchase individually to make sure your Hearth TV will reply to your distant’s instructions even when there is not any line of sight between the 2.

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Contained in the Dice, Amazon throws a speedy 2.2GHz Octa-core CPU, 2GB of reminiscence, and 16GB of complete storage. That final quantity appears small, however you will not actually be storing something on the gadget besides apps, so it is utterly manageable. The Hearth TV Dice additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E, which might be overkill for most individuals’s residence wi-fi networks. Lastly, you aren’t getting something within the Hearth TV Dice’s field apart from its energy cable, distant, two AAA batteries, BYO-HDMI, and probably an Ethernet.

The Hearth TV Dice, functioning as an Echo gadget and TV streaming field multi functional, has the identical format of buttons on its prime as a typical Echo Dot: two for elevating or reducing the quantity, one for muting the microphone, and one for manually summoning Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa. A small four-microphone array can choose up your voice fairly nicely.

I had no issues bothering Alexa inside my 14-by-14-foot lounge, and it even responded to my instructions from an adjoining room (a comparatively open flooring plan). Because of just a little software program function that means that you can specify whether or not the closest Echo or a default Echo ought to reply to you if two are close by, the Hearth TV Dice wasn’t a ache to combine into my good speaker-filled home.

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You get practically the identical distant for the Hearth TV Dice as you’ll Amazon’s Hearth TV Stick 4K Max. Which means six devoted buttons for navigating the gadget’s menus, pausing and enjoying content material and skipping ahead and backward. As well as, there are quantity and channel controls, an enter swap, a mute button, a devoted settings button, and extra.

On the backside of the distant, you get 4 themed buttons that you should use to instantly launch Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. No, you possibly can’t customise them, nor are you able to customise some other button on the distant. I would slightly have the flexibility to customise buttons than have the distant’s devoted blue button for triggering Alexa, which you’ll be able to maintain all the way down to get its consideration when you do not feel like utilizing the A-word to summon it. I would additionally desire no less than one or two lit-up buttons to assist when fumbling round with the distant in a darkish setting.

Software program and efficiency

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Adverts on Amazon’s Hearth TV Dice

It is onerous to flee a pervasive feeling of muddle everytime you go to the Hearth TV Dice’s residence display screen — that includes an enormous rotating banner of promotions, a ton of various icons and providers, and fast hyperlinks to content material you’ve got been watching that sit immediately on prime of yet one more banner commercial.

Worse, the default screensaver for the Hearth TV Dice is only one huge promoting block. It gave me adverts for automobiles, bank cards, and all types of different junk that utterly dominated the display screen of my 42-inch, 4K show. It appears these finish after 15 adverts have performed in a single session, however I did not final that lengthy to search out out.

Certain, a lot of streaming sticks and packing containers have promoting and promotions these days, however Amazon’s Hearth TV software program goes just a little too far. And, no, even a Prime membership does not get you an ad-free or ad-lessened expertise.

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Should you can abdomen all that, the Hearth TV Dice is definitely a speedy, useful little living-room gadget. It takes no time to zip your method by way of menus and fireplace up apps, although I discovered it faster to only inform Alexa to launch Netflix or Apple TV. You may even have Amazon’s digital assistant summon reveals for you.

I used to be impressed that it obtained my “Play Wednesday” immediate proper and even accurately launched Netflix’s web page for an in-my-queue spooky present. I anticipated the Hearth TV Dice to wrestle with or be completely unable to take me on to content material on different streaming providers, and I am glad I used to be fallacious.

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The Hearth TV Dice’s preliminary setup course of can really feel arduous, however that is solely since you’ll wish to spend the time ensuring you’ve got synchronized the Dice with each suitable gadget in your house leisure heart. I will not get into the technical nuances of how this works — both working HDMI-CEC connections or gadgets that may obtain IR instructions — however I used to be extremely impressed by the quantity of hand-holding Amazon does to get the whole lot linked up.

When you’re accomplished, your Hearth TV Dice turns right into a voice-activated receiver of types. All you need to do is give the streaming field a pleasant command or energy it up manually, and relevant linked gadgets will activate (a TV and receiver, in my case). Your gadgets additionally swap to the right inputs/outputs. It is an extremely handy technique to leap between your many residence gadgets, particularly in case your receiver or TV lacks voice controls of their very own.

I admire how easy it’s to arrange and use the Hearth TV Dice. Inside its settings, all you need to fear about is choosing a decision that matches your TV’s capabilities (and shade depth, if you understand what you are doing). A helpful “adaptive” mode for the Hearth TV Dice’s dynamic vary ensures you may at all times be matching HDR or SDR modes to the right content material and never muting your complete look of the gadget’s UI by incorrectly setting HDR to “always-on.”

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Equally, you should use a easy “finest obtainable” possibility to make sure your audio output is appropriate for no matter you are watching. You may even arrange information monitoring if you wish to be certain your Hearth TV Dice is not guilty for blowing previous your ISP’s month-to-month limits.The one Hearth TV Dice setting that made me pause was its “super-resolution” possibility, meant to upscale your non-4K content material and supply a better-looking image. It is on by default, and I did not discover a distinction both method. I typically advocate avoiding all these “picture-improving” options, which are likely to do something however.

You may customise the icon-laden app shortcuts inside the Hearth TV Dice’s residence web page, however that is about it. You may’t jiggle round any system icons, nor do you’ve got a lot management over the content material displayed in the primary scrolling space. As you log in to numerous apps, you may see your bought media seem within the cleverly named “My Stuff” class. You will additionally get your “to be watched” listing from Prime Video when you partake.

Amazon does not present a few of its chief opponents when scrolling by way of its classes of downloadable apps — no Apple TV app, for instance. They’re straightforward to seek for and obtain, however simply know that you simply might need to perform a little digging to get your favourite providers on Amazon’s gadget. We dwell in a wild world when a tool just like the Hearth TV Dice highlights Plex inside its UI, which I wager most individuals know nothing about, as a substitute of apps like Apple TV or Motion pictures Anyplace.

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The Hearth TV Dice has a easy information interface for dwell TV that must be acquainted to anybody who’s ever used a daily TV field. This populates with content material from a number of free providers by default, however it could actually present you content material from different equally themed providers you’ve got configured, like Sling TV, YouTube TV, or ESPN. It appears nice, given that it is the same-ol’ GUI for searching by way of channels we have all loved because the Nineteen Nineties.

That mentioned, many of the Hearth TV Dice’s free streaming providers are meh. That is not Amazon’s fault, however do not look forward to finding a smorgasbord of premium reveals to look at at any given second. The information is nice when you’re paying for extra providers to make it nice.

I initially thought the Hearth TV Dice’s Quick Ethernet connection could be a bottleneck for any inter-network streaming you are doing (doubtless through the aforementioned Plex app). Nonetheless, I had no difficulties in anyway streaming pretty beefy 4K HDR content material from a NAS field to the Ethernet-connected Hearth TV Dice. Wi-Fi 6E is even quicker, and each connection varieties might be positive for all the standard streaming you may be doing from Prime TV, Netflix, et cetera.

Competitors

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The Hearth TV Dice is a heck of lots greater than Amazon’s Hearth TV Stick 4K Max — roughly thrice the worth, too — as a result of it combines the very best of an Echo good speaker and the capabilities of a streaming stick right into a single gadget. Each help Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR, and 4K content material at a most of 60 frames per second.

Nevertheless, the Hearth TV Dice has quicker Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in Quick Ethernet port, the flexibility to manage daisy-chained gadgets, double the storage, and a a lot speedier processor for snappier navigation and app-launching inside Hearth OS. Should you simply need easy streaming, the stick will do. Nevertheless, in order for you a extra sturdy Amazon gadget on your media heart, the Hearth TV Dice is a stronger possibility.

Should you’re a cloud gamer, you might wish to take into account a streaming field like Nvidia’s Protect TV, which innately helps the game-streaming service GeForce Now (not like the Hearth TV Dice — although it does have entry to Amazon Luna). Should you’re solely trying to stream media, nevertheless, each advertising-filled gadgets help Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR, and 4K content material at 60 frames per second.

You may’t daisy-chain different gadgets in your house leisure heart to the Protect TV, but it surely has a a lot speedier Gigabit Ethernet and a built-in microSD slot to develop its storage. As well as, it has the Google Assistant built-in and can deal with Alexa, whereas the Hearth TV Dice is Alexa-only.

Must you purchase it?

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Should you can abdomen among the Hearth TV Dice’s minor annoyances and are not bothered by the unending promoting that appears to plague streaming packing containers, Amazon’s speedy little gadget does an ideal job of getting you to no matter you wish to watch as quickly as potential. Its mixture of Alexa voice instructions and multi-device controls make it a robust, tiny hub on your residence setup, particularly you probably have a bunch of substances and are uninterested in fumbling with remotes — or perhaps a common distant — each time you wish to watch a film. I am that individual, and I’d completely use the Hearth TV Dice for that cause alone.

It isn’t as slick and refined because the Apple TV 4K, nor does it have the higher distant of an Nvidia Protect TV, however the Hearth TV Dice does a reasonably admirable job of serving up content material rapidly with out laying too onerous into the Amazon-ness of all of it. You may’t escape Amazon’s digital choices on this gadget, do not get me fallacious, however I used to be impressed that Amazon did not lock anybody else out of the streaming field’s most helpful performance. You may launch Netflix reveals as rapidly as Amazon Prime reveals, and that, in itself, is price getting enthusiastic about.

Although Amazon’s Hearth TV Dice combines the very best of a streaming field and an Echo gadget, it nonetheless feels just a little costly, given you possibly can choose up an Apple TV 4K (with much less automation, however no adverts) for the same worth. I believe it is price ready for one of many many Prime Day gross sales that’ll knock a superb bit off the worth, even perhaps half, as I’ve beforehand seen for the second-gen Hearth TV Dice. If you need to endure a variety of promoting for an ideal streaming field, it’s best to no less than attempt to save as a lot cash as potential.