The five new TVs in the Fire TV Omni Series are Amazon’s first televisions built in-house. Sure, they all offer 4K resolution with support for HDR, but the focus here is on the convenience of the integrated Fire OS over enhanced picture quality. The Omni Series TVs are deeply integrated with Alexa for simpler and quicker search and priced similarly to our best TV pick, the TCL 6-Series.
After a few weeks with the 65-inch Fire TV Omni Series, we’ve been adjusting to the Fire OS interface, asking Alexa to pull up our favorite content and bingeing countless hours of programming to see how it stacks up.
The who, what and how
Who this is for: The Fire TV Omni is a television for the Alexa-obsessed Amazon user who values functionality over picture quality.
What you need to know: The Fire TV Omni Series impresses with a smooth Fire OS experience for easy access to content paired with succinct Alexa voice control. But it’s also future-proofed with the promise of updates and AirPlay 2 support coming soon. But because Amazon opted for a standard LED panel, you won’t be getting an all-star picture with exceptional vibrancy or rich contrast points.
How this compares: For the price, Amazon is concentrating on value and convenience with the Fire TV Omni series, yet it falls short of comparably priced TVs, with only passable picture quality and no local dimming. This inevitably means contrast and brightness suffer. Those who want to focus on picture quality will be better served by the TCL 6-Series, but the Fire TV Omni does win us over with Alexa integration for easy control and sleek design.
Slimmer bezels, aluminum edges and an Alexa microphone switch
The Fire TVs manufactured by Insignia or Toshiba have never been particularly good-looking — with many featuring sizable bezels and a chunky backside. Yet, considering the affordable price and built-in smarts, that’s never been much of an issue.
The Fire TV Omni spices things up, specifically on the larger 65-inch and 75-inch models. Here you’ll find slimmer bezels that are eerily closer to TCL’s 5- and 6-Series, but not as sleek as Sony’s luxurious A90J. Amazon opted for a sporty aluminum silver edging on those same bigger sizes, allowing you to focus on the screen versus the design elements. When it comes to branding — at least in terms of physical design — there is just a single Fire TV logo centered on the bottom bezel.
You can wall mount the Fire TV Omni — it’s VESA-compatible — or use the two built-in legs to stand it up on any flat surface. The legs are fairly similar to that of the TCL 5- or 6-Series and will require a screwdriver. It’s not as plug-and-play as some of Sony’s newer sets, which let you just pop the legs in, but you get what you pay for.
Centered at the bottom of the TV is a rectangular box that serves as a status light and contains a switch to let you effectively kill the built-in microphones. This not only powers the hands-free voice control but also effectively lets the TV double as an Alexa-enabled speaker. A light will glow blue on the box when Alexa is listening, and when you flip the switch to mute the microphone it will glow red.
The similarities to other Amazon products sum up much of the appeal of this new Omni Series — because it’s all about convenience for the Amazon customer. If you’re a fan of Alexa, Prime Video or Fire OS, you’ll be right at home. In fact, when you purchase a Fire TV Omni from Amazon.com, it will be linked to your account, which makes for a super-simple setup. Just connect to Wi-Fi, sign into your Amazon.com account and away you go. In some cases, it will even remember your most used apps, but it doesn’t go as far to remember your passwords, which we think would be a killer feature.
Omni features four HDMI ports (one of which is eARC), a USB-A port, an Ethernet jack, an optical out and a dedicated port for the IR extender. The latter comes included and is handy if you want to decide where to point the remote, which is similar to the ones used with other Amazon Fire TV products.
Here you’ll get the slightly ergonomic back and a plethora of buttons. It works fine for controlling the Fire TV Omni Series, but it’s not the best remote we’ve ever tested — that honor goes to Apple’s second-gen Siri Remote.
Good picture quality, but not great
Here’s the TLDR on the Fire TV Omni Series: The 65-inch model’s picture quality is more than passable, but it won’t rival or surpass our top pick for a TV, the TCL 6-Series. Vibrancy and contrast work together here to create an all-around good picture, and for most people it will be just fine.
But it’s worth noting that Amazon’s central focus is not on picture quality. In fact, in our side-by-side testing, the Fire TV Omni is most in line with the TCL 5-Series. Clearly, more attention has been given to the smart ecosystem and integration with other digital services.
One thing the Fire TV Omni lacks is local dimming, which is key for better image creation, better details in dimly lit scenes, brighter spots that don’t distort and better HDR modes. It does provide an overall better picture quality than our budget pick, the Vizio V-Series, but our top pick, the TCL 6-Series, features Mini LEDs for more precise control and higher-quality visuals.
Let’s take some recent episodes of “Hawkeye” on Disney+ — the night scenes offer vibrancy and a feel for the holidays in New York City but lack details around the brighter lights contrasted with the mostly dim scene. Vibrant colors don’t pop as much, and more general details are also lost in the darker environments. The LED panel here, with backlighting, just doesn’t hit what we’d expect a TV at this price point to reproduce. Unless you’re considerably off-axis, viewing angles are similar to the TCL 5-Series — an overall enjoyable experience.
Picture settings are minimal here, so anyone who enjoys customizing may feel let down. The 65-inch and 75-inch models are Dolby Vision-enabled, which makes for a more immersive experience, but it’s not as noticeable as it might be on a higher-end TV or even the 6-Series.
Easy access to content
In the world of smart TVs, searching for content is made simple, meaning you won’t need to purchase a third-party streaming stick or external box to plug in. The Fire TV Omni runs Fire OS with access to hundreds upon hundreds of streaming services, including HBO Max, Disney+, Netflix, Prime Video and Hulu. And with the easy access to Alexa, you won’t need to fumble around with the remote. It’s a well-thought-out, cohesive experience that mirrors what we’ve seen from the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The difference being it’s integrated into the TV itself.
As expected with Fire OS, it’s a heavily visual and fairly congested experience that rotates content and incorporates rows upon rows of apps and suggested services, or even a recommended movie or TV show. The most disappointing part of the layout is the advertisement banner crowning the interface, which can include a new Prime Video Show or any show being touted by Amazon on a separate service. Under all this are the three main menus, including Home, Find and Live, and next to that you’ll find your most used apps.
Rather than struggle through menus with the remote, you can use your voice. Just say, “Alexa, open Netflix” or “Alexa, start ‘Borat 2’ on Amazon Prime Video.” Remember, Amazon’s got a lot of experience with voice dictation and response, which we think makes up for the crowded user interface.
We much prefer voice over the physical controls, but if you don’t feel like using the always-on microphone, you can flip that off and manually engage Alexa via the physical remote (though, you may also want to consider a different TV, considering this is the Omni’s superpower). Amazon has also hinted at new apps and experiences coming in the future.
For instance, Zoom is expected to be arriving shortly and will allow you to plug in a webcam to engage in video calls directly from the TV. Support for Apple HomeKit and AirPlay 2 for easy casting from Apple devices is being rolled out as well. We’ll be updating this once we’ve had the chance to try it all out.
The Fire TV Omni doesn’t arrive with a class-leading picture or the best interface we’ve ever tested — we’d pick Roku for that. This product is a first-gen, made-in-house product by Amazon that gets quite a few things right, like the handy interaction and control with Alexa via an always-on wake word function and easy-to-use Fire OS incorporating core streaming services. The design is sleek, but the picture quality will leave enthusiasts wanting more and doesn’t rival our top pick, the TCL 6-Series.
As a whole, the Fire TV Omni is a fine product, but our hope is that through software updates and an eventual next generation with higher-quality hardware, we’ll get an all-around upgrade. For now, if you’re heavily invested in the Amazon ecosystem and want that as your main TV experience, it deserves a look. Otherwise, we’d suggest other options, like a Roku TV from TCL.