Amazon thinks your TV isn’t working hard enough when you’re not watching, and its new Fire TV Omni QLED Series aims to fix that. With hands-free Alexa built in, it can do everything the powerful voice assistant is capable of. Plus, it becomes an always-on (or mostly on) screen that can double as a really big picture frame, and it also displays widgets to keep you up to date on the weather, upcoming events and more.

Oh, and you can use it to watch TV shows and movies and play games — you know, like a regular TV. With its QLED display tech, it produces a decent picture. But that’s almost a second thought.

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A great smart home hub with OK picture quality
The Fire TV Omni QLED has a decent picture for a 4K TV at its price. But it integrates Alexa better than other TVs, making it a powerhouse for managing your smart home. Ambient Experience turns your TV into an always-on display — for better or worse.

What we liked about it

It’s an excellent Alexa device


Amazon’s voice assistant is a part of many TVs now — in TVs that run the Fire TV OS as well as models that don’t, like those from LG and Samsung. But none have the deep Alexa integration that a TV made by Amazon can offer, which results in a more seamless voice control experience. In many ways, using your voice to control the Fire TV Omni QLED is easier and faster than using the remote. You can use your voice to turn on the TV, launch a show, rewind, pause, adjust the volume and more.

It puts a smart home hub on the biggest screen in your house


Alexa on the Fire TV Omni QLED can do more than control the TV. It can manage your smart bulbs, check your smart security devices, change the temperature on your smart thermostat — if you live in a connected home, the TV screen can become the hub for it all. And Alexa works when the screen isn’t on, so you can queue up tunes or use other features of the virtual assistant whenever you need.

Other Fire TVs can do all those things too, though the Omni QLED makes the experience smoother. The innovation of the Fire TV Omni QLED is something Amazon calls the Ambient Experience. This feature turns your TV into an always-on display. When you’re not watching TV, it shows photos, art or other images — like a giant picture frame or screen saver. You can control how long images display and pick what images show, selecting from a library or using your personal photos. If you like the idea of Samsung’s The Frame TV, you’ll like the Ambient Experience on the Fire TV.

You can also choose from a few widgets to display info while in Ambient mode. These include showing your calendar, suggestions for things to watch and sticky notes, which let you post a note on the screen as a substitute for leaving a note on the fridge or counter. The widgets make the TV feel like a lockscreen on a phone — you’re never away from the latest info about your life.

You can set up the Ambient Experience so that it only turns on the screen when it senses someone in the room. This helps save energy, but it also feels kind of creepy. When you walk into the room and the TV automatically turns itself on, you can’t help but feel like you’re being watched. Fortunately, you can turn off Ambient Experience if you don’t feel the need for your TV to work so hard.

It has good sound for a TV


Given Amazon’s experience in making smart speakers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Fire TV Omni QLED delivers decent sound for a TV. Even though it only has two channels, dialogue was clear and it even produced a little bass. While listening to music, it sounded about as good as an Echo. However, the TV doesn’t support Dolby Atmos and lacks any virtual surround sound modes. A good soundbar would be a welcome addition to your setup.

What we didn’t like about it

The picture quality is just OK


The Fire TV Omni QLED has the tech you want in a mid-priced 4K TV — a QLED screen with full array backlight and local dimming zones, and one input that supports HDMI 2.1, the latest standard. In theory, that should produce a sharp image with excellent contrast and vibrant colors.

But the reality is it has a very average image. Colors often looked flat. It had better contrast than a TV without its tech, with deep blacks, but in many scenes the dark areas overwhelmed the light. The picture quality depended on the source content. For example, while watching “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” the TV switched to Dolby Vision IQ mode, which resulted in washed-out backgrounds and dull greens, but reds were lively. The TV produced good contrast on a 4K Blu-ray version of “Blade Runner 2049,” though some of the colors seemed oversaturated.

There are plenty of adjustments you can make in settings to help overcome these issues, but I was never able to tweak the picture to make it as good as it should be.

Other TVs in this price range, such as the Hisense U7H, deliver much better pictures. And the U7H offers 120Hz refresh rate, while the Omni QLED is only capable of 60Hz — something gamers will want to take note of.

It’s focused on Amazon services and products


All Fire TVs put Amazon Prime Video content front and center, so this isn’t a complaint that’s unique to the Omni QLED. But on the home screen, where it suggests shows to watch, you’ll see Amazon content featured more prominently than shows on other services. And you don’t have much control over what shows up on the home screen. If you’re not a Prime member, the TV becomes much less capable or useful.

Limited sizes available


The Fire TV Omni QLED is available in 65 inches for $800 or 75 inches for $1,100 (we tested the 65-inch model). If you want the features that it offers but don’t have room for a screen that large, you’re out of luck. Amazon’s first Omni TV (sans QLED technology), released last year, comes in a greater variety of sizes, from 43 inches ($330) up to 75 inches ($1,050), and the U7H ranges from 55 inches ($570) to 85 inches ($1,800).

How it compares


65 and 75 inches

55, 65, 75 and 85 inches

Dimensions (for 65-inch model)

57.1 x 33.4 x 3.2 inches

57.0 × 33.1 × 3.5 inches

Weight (for 65-inch model)

45.4 pounds

43 pounds

Panel type




4 HDMI (One HDMI 2.1 with eARC), 1 USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, coaxial antenna

4 HDMI (2 up to 4K @ 120Hz, 2 up to 4K @ 60Hz), 2 USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, coaxial antenna


Optical digital audio, 3.5mm auxiliary, Bluetooth

Optical digital audio, 3.5mm auxiliary, Bluetooth


Dolby Vision IQ, HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10, HLG

Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10+ Adaptive, HDR10, HLG


2.0 channels

2.0 channels

Price $800 $798

Bottom line

By producing its own line of Fire TVs, Amazon has the ability to innovate, thanks to its deep integration with Alexa. And the Fire TV Omni QLED shows how a TV can be more than a display — voice control is easy and fast and could change the way you interact with your TV. The Ambient Experience may also make your life full of more images and info — or you might decide to turn it off.

As far as image quality, the Omni QLED can’t compete with other TVs in its price range, such as the Hisense U7H, despite having comparable tech. But if you’re looking for a TV that’s more than a TV, the Omni QLED shows promise for making the largest screen in the house the center of your smart life.