Alexa integration works well
Easy to setup
Fire TV offers a wealth of content
Not bright enough for HDR
Limited gaming features
The conceit is a simple one: If you already rely on a suite of Alexa-powered smart home devices and you’re excited by the prospect of rounding out the armada with an Alexa-integrated TV, the Omni is aimed squarely at you. Several of its most enticing features have yet to roll out, but it’s easy to envision them working seamlessly within an established network of Alexa doorbells, cameras, and speakers.
But traditionally, a suite of smart functions is only one of the prerequisites for a satisfactory TV experience—in many cases, smart features are almost an afterthought when considering a TV’s value, and buyers interested in the Fire TV Omni will have to make do with the Omni’s limitations in other areas. For example, due to its middling hardware, it’s not a good pick for showcasing HDR, nor is it a good fit for gamers.
The Amazon Fire TV Omni feels like a proof of concept for better-performing Amazon TVs sometime in the not-so-distant future. If you’re an Alexa power user, the proof of concept is good enough to warrant a look. If you’re not an Alexa aficionado—or if you simply prioritize a TV’s performance ahead of its smart home integration—there are better options in this price range.
About the Amazon Fire TV Omni
The Omni is available in five sizes ranging from 43 inches all the way up to 75 inches. Our review unit is a 65-inch model that we received on loan from Amazon.
In terms of pricing, the lineup shakes out as follows:
- 43-inch (Amazon 4K43M600A), MSRP $409.99
- 50-inch (Amazon 4K50M600A), MSRP $509.99
- 55-inch (Amazon 4K55M600A), MSRP $559.99
- 65-inch (Amazon 4K65M600A), MSRP $829.99
- 75-inch (Amazon 4K75M600A), MSRP $1,099.99
None of the sizes in the Fire TV Omni series feature full-array local dimming, so we don’t expect there to be too many differences in performance from one size to the next. However, only the 65- and 75-inch versions support the Dolby Vision HDR format. It’s worth noting that Dolby requires proof of a certain performance pedigree in order for TVs to include Dolby Vision, so there’s a possibility that the 43-, 50-, and 55-inch models don’t hit the same benchmarks as the larger models. In addition, Amazon reached out to us and confirmed that, like Dolby Vision, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) is only available on the 65- and 75-inch models.
Here’s a full rundown of specs:
- Resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
- Display type: Direct LED
- HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision(Dolby Vision on the 65-inch and 75-inch model only)
- Dolby Atmos: Yes (via eARC, no onboard decoding)
- eARC support: Yes
- Native refresh rate: 60Hz
- Smart platform: Fire TV OS
- Color: DCI-P3 color space/10-bit chroma resolution
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR): No
- Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM): Yes (65-inch and 75-inch model only)
- Other features: Alexa integration, Apple AirPlay 2 (coming soon) and Apple HomeKit (coming soon)
The Omni is outfitted with far-field microphones for voice command recognition. If the idea of your TV listening in on your living room conversations is a little too HAL 9000 for your liking, the microphones can be disabled via a switch just below the front of the panel. You might have to feel around for it, as it’s out of view when looking at the TV head on.
Included in the box is the Omni remote control, which features dedicated app buttons and a built-in microphone for—you guessed it—Alexa voice commands. Throughout my time with the Fire TV Omni, I’ve not had any major issues with its remote control. The button layout is easy to get used to and its profile is relatively slim.
From a design standpoint, the Omni screams “garden variety,” but the build quality feels sturdy, there’s minimal panel wobble, and there’s nothing about the TV’s design that I’d consider problematic. The panel is affixed to a pair of wide-set, angular feet, and its bottom bezel is a touch wider than those on the top and sides of the display.
Before testing each TV, we make sure the panel is on and receiving a continuous signal for at least 24 hours, allowing the pixels plenty of time to warm up. Our 65-inch Omni received this standard warm-up time before any readings were taken. In addition, the TV received the latest firmware updates at the time of testing.
For both SDR and HDR tests, we used the Fire TV Omni’s “Movie” picture mode. We’ve chosen this setting because of its accuracy, but performance may vary depending on which picture mode is enabled. For example, you’re likely to experience a brighter picture with different settings enabled, but it may interfere with color temperature and overall color accuracy.
To get a sense of the TV’s average performance, we use a standard ANSI checkerboard pattern for most of our basic contrast tests. We also use white and black windows ranging from 2% to 90% to test how well the contrast holds up while displaying varying degrees of brightness.
Our peak brightness measurements are taken with sustained windows to represent the TV’s peak brightness over a sustained period of time. Specular highlights (like brief flashes of reflected light) might reach higher brightness levels, but not for sustained periods of time.
All of our tests are conducted using a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator and tabulated via Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software. I'll expand on our test results throughout the review, but for now, here are some key takeaways:
• HDR contrast (brightness/black level): 321.9 nits/0.057 nits (ANSI checkerboard) • SDR contrast (brightness/black level): 251.7 nits/0.051 nits (ANSI checkerboard) • HDR peak brightness (sustained): 324.6 nits (40% white window) • HDR color gamut coverage (DCI-P3/10-bit): 73% • SDR color gamut coverage (Rec.709): 94%
During testing, the Omni’s Backlight setting was kept to its default for both SDR and HDR tests. In addition, Dynamic Backlight was kept off, Natural Cinema was disabled, Noise Reduction was kept at its Low setting, and the Color Temperature was set to Warm.
This means that, if you intend to take advantage of the Omni’s eARC port for a soundbar, you won’t be able to hook up a gaming console to reap the extra bandwidth provided by the TV’s only HDMI 2.1 port. Then again, because the TV doesn't have any gaming-specific features, this probably doesn't matter.
Here’s what you’ll find in a left-side-facing cutout on the back of the Omni’s panel:
- 3x HDMI 2.0
- 1x HDMI 2.1 / (1x eARC)
- 1x USB 2.0
- RF connection (cable/antenna)
- Ethernet (LAN) input
- Digital audio output (optical)
What we like
Alexa is well-integrated (with more features on the way)
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Most of the Fire TV Omni’s most promising features are still forthcoming, though Amazon has suggested that they’re right around the corner. Some of these features include a “Smart Home Dashboard” that’ll make it easy to oversee Alexa-connected devices in your home, “Alexa Home Theater,” which will allow users to wirelessly pair Amazon Echo speakers, and Zoom integration, which will give users the option to make and receive Zoom calls with a USB-connected webcam. Because these features are still on the way, we unfortunately haven’t been able to test them yet.
Nevertheless, even in its current form, the Fire TV Omni marries smart TV functionality with Alexa voice recognition with hardly a hiccup. If you’re already familiar with Alexa, the Omni will slot right into your Alexa-driven lifestyle.
Voice commands are reliably accurate, even for a world-class mumbler like myself. Unsurprisingly, you can ask Alexa to search for your favorite shows and apps, but you can also lean on Alexa for making adjustments to your Omni’s settings, or to jump from one program to another. If you happen to own a Ring Video Doorbell, the Omni can display a live feed via picture-in-picture without interrupting your favorite programming.
Alexa integration is the Fire TV Omni’s bread and butter, and even in this nascent form, it’s easy to imagine it being a significant draw for Alexa power users shopping for a TV on a budget. Other affordable smart TVs may produce a prettier picture, but none of them can fold themselves as neatly into a household suite of Alexa-integrated products. If you rely on Alexa accessories day in and day out, the Omni’s ability to hang out and chat with those gadgets is a huge point in its favor.
Fire TV offers a wealth of content
If the Omni’s pre-loaded apps aren’t enough for you, you’ll more than likely find what you’re looking for in the library of content available on the Fire TV smart platform. You can manually search for software via the “Find” button on the Fire TV home screen, or you can “Hey, Alexa” your way through the search process if you don’t want to fuss over an on-screen keyboard.
Most of the usual suspects are accounted for out of the box: Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video, for instance. The remaining major players can be downloaded and installed with ease. There is, unfortunately, a glut of sponsored content to contend with on the platform’s “Home” tab—the Omni very much pushes you in the direction of content offered by Prime Video. To be fair, this is the nature of most contemporary smart platforms.
Having only experienced the Fire TV platform a handful of times in the past, I was surprised at the amount of flexibility baked into the experience. Pretty much every app I searched for was either pre-installed or available for download, and that can’t be said for every smart platform in the game right now. If you’re not down with the interface, you could always pair the Omni with an external streaming device, but I suspect that most casual users will do just fine with what the TV offers out of the box.
A good option for set-it-and-forget-it viewers
Even if you’re not planning on taking full advantage of the TV’s Alexa integration, the Omni is still an attractive option for folks who just want to drop a new TV in their living room with nary a fuss.
The Omni’s setup process, while relatively lengthy, couldn’t be more straightforward. If you spend a great deal of time watching over-the-air broadcasts via an HD antenna, the Omni will scan for channels and incorporate them into a live TV tab which can be easily accessed via the home screen.
At the risk of making what seems like a backhanded compliment, the Omni is a solid TV for people who aren’t really into the idea of getting up close and personal with bells, whistles, and various viewing options. If you’re upgrading to 4K resolution for the first time, the Omni will take you through the process with ease.
What we don’t like
The picture isn't great—particularly for HDR
Although the Fire TV Omni caters well for non-fussy folks who just want to plug in their new TV and start streaming, the other side of that coin is that it’s not a good fit for folks who are looking for a picture that pops. From a performance standpoint, the Omni’s lackluster brightness and color production don’t quite cut the mustard—especially when compared to some of its closest competitors.
The Omni supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), an exciting picture format designed to take advantage of a display’s ability to generate bright and colorful images. Content in this format—which is available across most major streaming platforms and Blu-rays—does indeed tend to look very impressive, but just how impressive is entirely dependent on a TV’s performance. Essentially, an HDR-compatible TV can always display HDR content, but if the TV doesn’t get very bright or offer enhanced color, you’re probably not going to notice a difference.
And that’s the Omni’s biggest ouchie. Its panel is simply not bright enough to make HDR content pop the way it ought to. There is a moderate uptick in brightness when moving from standard content (think cable TV and most streaming shows) to HDR—from 250 nits to 330 nits when the TV is in its most accurate picture mode—but for most viewers, the difference is negligible.
The lack of brightness has a hand in overall color production, where the Omni also stumbles. It’s only capable of covering about 73% of the extra-wide HDR color gamut (DCI-P3), and while it does just fine with SDR color (Rec.709), the color points lean too far toward blue. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll probably notice the Omni’s coolish hue—even when the color temperature is set to its warmest setting.
The 65- and 75-inch versions of the Omni support Dolby Vision—a proprietary version of HDR often considered to be the gold standard of the format—but its inclusion in these models probably shouldn’t be factored in when determining which size to pursue. The Omni just isn’t a good enough HDR TV for the distinction to matter.
The TCL 5-Series with Google TV is one of the Omni’s toughest competitors, particularly when sale prices are a factor. Like the Omni, the 5-Series offers mid-range performance and a big, sweeping, voice-controlled smart platform. But the 5-Series’ panel is powered by a better backlight system and quantum dots to boot—both of which make for a brighter, more colorful picture with better overall contrast.
Amazon should take note that there are plenty of competitors offering smart feature-facing TVs that still deliver the necessary hardware for what is now mainstream picture quality.
The wealth of content available on the Fire TV platform certainly offers content flexibility, but the overall software experience—like navigating menus and adjusting settings—is often perplexing.
For one thing, there are more settings at your fingertips if you enter the settings menu via the home screen than if you were to enter the settings menu by way of the remote control. To be fair, the most relevant settings options are mostly available without having to enter the menu through the home screen’s backdoor, but I found myself forgetting which path I needed to take in order to access some of the more in-depth settings.
I also noticed that, if you pull up a menu while streaming content—say, the picture settings, for example—the Omni pauses whatever you happen to be watching while you navigate the software. You might find that to be a non-issue, but if you’re constantly tinkering with settings like myself, it’ll probably ruffle your feathers. This doesn’t happen for every app, but it seems to be scripted more often than not.
And as long as I’m addressing the crowd that tinkers with settings, it’s worth noting that the Omni doesn’t offer much in the way of calibration options. Sure, you’ve got your various picture modes, your color temperature slider, and your motion settings, but there’s no color management system.
Not good enough for gamers or A/V enthusiasts
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that the Fire TV Omni supports HDMI 2.1. The bad news is that it’s only available on one of the TV’s four HDMI ports.
If that wasn’t enough of a bummer (yes, there’s more bad news), the Omni’s HDMI 2.1 port is also the TV’s dedicated eARC port. This means that if you want to use the HDMI 2.1 port for a next-gen console like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 and you want to pass uncompressed, lag-free audio to an eARC-equipped device like a soundbar, your gadgets will have to fight over a single port (unless your soundbar happens to have HDMI 2.1 passthrough).
This may not matter too much though because, on the gaming front, the Omni is also under equipped. It doesn't support Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), a feature that, when available, keeps gaming smooth by eliminating screen tearing. In addition, Amazon confirmed to us that Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) is accounted for, but only on the 65-inch and 75-inch models—much like the Omni's Dolby Vision support. Auto Low Latency Mode automatically optimizes the picture for gaming when a console is detected. This means that, if you want to get the best version of the Omni for movie nights and gaming, you have to opt in to one of the two larger sizes.
Gamers and cinephiles should also be aware of the Omni’s limited motion handling. As a 60Hz TV, the Omni is already at somewhat of a disadvantage in the motion department—at least when compared with higher-end TVs that feature a 120Hz refresh rate. However, even within the category of 60Hz TVs, the Omni delivers below-average motion. Judder during filmic content at 24fps can be smoothed out by enabling the TV’s Natural Cinema setting, but keen eyes will still notice some motion artifacts during camera pans, tilts, and when fast-moving objects track across the screen. If you don’t opt for Natural Cinema, the Omni offers motion interpolation settings in the form of its Action Smoothing slider, but introducing too much will summon the artificial look and feel of the “soap opera effect.”
Should you buy it?
Not unless you’re eager to own an Alexa TV
To fully appreciate what the Amazon Fire TV Omni is offering, you need to be a moderate-to-heavy Alexa user who’s relatively easy to please when it comes to your TV’s performance. If you’re not an Alexa fan, or if you’re simply shopping for a budget-friendly TV that prioritizes picture quality, look elsewhere.
It’s true that the Omni is quite affordable—especially when you take into account the rising costs of TVs amidst global supply chain issues. That said, a 65-inch Omni will set you back about $830, and a 65-inch TCL 5-Series with Google TV can currently be secured for roughly the same price or less, depending on whether or not you can find it on sale. In addition to its deft integration of Google TV, the 5-Series is also better equipped to showcase HDR and next-gen games.
If you want to spend even less, this year’s Vizio M-Series is worth looking into, as well. Its HDR performance is roughly on par with the Fire TV Omni (so don’t expect it to deliver a superior HDR picture), but overall, its performance is better suited for most use cases. Plus, it’s a better pick for avid gamers.
I suspect that the Amazon Fire TV Omni series will improve over time, should Amazon decide to build on this pilot program and manufacture better versions of this concept in years to come. Right now, though, it’s only geared for Alexa acolytes.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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