Fire TV Recast: A New OTA DVR for Cord Cutters

fire-tv-recast

What is the Fire TV Recast?

The Amazon Fire TV Recast is designed to be a DVR for your antenna with a simple hook that sets it apart from competitors.

There’s no monthly fee for a channel guide and DVR functionality.

The Recast will broadcast live over-the-air TV from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS and whatever else your TV antenna can pull in. That means lots of free sports like NFL football, NCAA basketball and soccer. Local news and whatever prime time programming you want to watch are up for grabs too.

Amazon seems intent on using Recast to compete with similar OTA DVRs from TiVo, Tablo and SiliconDust, the makers of HDHomeRun tuners.

With millions of Fire TV units already in homes around the U.S., the Fire TV Recast may turn out to be a consumer-friendly way for more people to delve into cord cutting. If you don’t already own a Fire TV device, you’ll need to buy one to use Recast.

There are two models available:

  • Two tuners, 500 GB hard drive for 75 hours of recording: $229.99
  • Four tuners, 1TB hard drive, 150 hours: $279.99

What does Fire TV Recast work with?

The design of the Fire TV Recast isn’t a far cry from a Tablo Dual or HDHomeRun tuner.

An antenna is connected to the Fire TV Recast. The Recast is connected to your WiFi router by Ethernet or WiFi. Once it’s connected, the OTA signal can be broadcast across your home network to smart phones, Fire TV devices and tablets.

But since this is an Amazon product, the compatible devices are Fire TV Sticks, Fire TV Cube and all older Fire TV devices.

Fire Tablets and Amazon Echo Show will work, too. There are a few non-Amazon devices that are compatible. Apple iPads, iPhones, Android smart phones and tablets will work too.

The Recast and Tablo have built-in hard drives. You need to add your own hard drive with a HDHomeRun tuner.

Watch Recorded Shows Outside of Home

It was smart of Amazon to have device compatibility with iPhones and Android smart phones. There’s a growing amount of data showing that Millennials and younger generations prefer to watch shows, movies and sports on smart phones instead of TVs.

The Recast will let users stream content outside of the home through the Fire TV app. Ideally, you’d be using WiFi instead of eating into your cellular data. The Fire TV app is free.

How many streams does Fire TV Recast have?

The Fire TV Recast allows you to stream to any two compatible devices at a time. Amazon says that the Recast will automatically optimize the use of bandwidth on your local network, delivering the best HD picture quality possible—even when streaming across multiple devices in a congested Wi-Fi environment.

Fire TV Recast Channel Guide

On a Fire TV, use the ‘On Now’ row to view what’s currently airing, or the Channel Guide and ‘DVR’ tab to search for live shows, manage recordings, and view up to two weeks of programming. Plus, live TV listings from Prime Video Channels and PlayStation Vue are integrated directly into your ‘On Now’ row and Channel Guide—right alongside your local over-the-air content.

Fire TV Recast vs Tablo vs HDHomeRun

The Tablo Dual comes with a 64GB hard drive. One advantage that the Tablo and HDHomeRun have over the new Fire TV Recast is that you can use it on more devices. The Fire TV Recast will be ideal for homes that mostly use Fire TV and other Amazon devices.

Here’s a list of compatible devices for Tablo Dual users.

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Xiaomi MiBox (Android TV)
  • As well as gaming systemsincluding:
  • Nvidia Shield (Android TV)
  • Xbox One
  • Chromecastvia Android mobile devices and PC.

Source: Tablo

The list of compatible devices for HDHomeRun tuners goes even longer. Windows 10

  • XBox One
  • NVIDIA Shield TV
  • Android phones/tablets
  • AirTV Player
  • Xiaomi Mi Box
  • Android TV OS TVs
  • Apple Desktops
  • Apple Laptops
  • Apple iOS devices
  • Apple TV 4 (w/ AirPlay)
  • Amazon Fire TV (all devices)

Source: SiliconDust

And one big difference with HDHomeRun tuners is that you can choose what kind of channel guide/DVR hub that you’re going to use. SiliconDust offers its own channel guide and DVR service for $35 per year. The Channels app for Fire TV works exceptionally well and so does the one for Apple TV.

I’ve been using PLEX for the past year, and set up my NVIDIA Shield TV so that it functions as my DVR and player. You can read my review of NVIDIA Shield PRO with Plex for more on that setup. Plex Pass costs $5 per month, or you can get a Lifetime Pass.

fire-tv-recast
Plex has a channel guide using HDHomeRun and NVIDIA Shield TV.

So will the Fire TV Recast be worth it? Time will tell. Amazon has released some more specifics through a FAQ page. Speed and responsiveness are always big factors for consumers. At the moment, you can’t add external storage (e.g. another hard drive) for more recording space. But Amazon said the option to add an external hard drive will be “coming soon.” 

The Fire TV Recast supports Dolby 5.1 Recordings will be saved as MPEG-2 and will be transcoded to H.264 as they play.  

5 facts about Fire TV Recast

  • Records Free Over-the-Air Channels
  • No fees for Channel Guide/DVR features
  • Watch Recordings Outside of Home
  • Works on iOS, Android, Fire TV, Echo Show
  • Stream up to 2 devices simultaneously

Voice control with Fire TV Recast

With Alexa on Fire TV or Echo Show, you’ll be able to control the Fire TV Recast with your voice and quickly get to the programs you want. You can use your voice to change the channel, or search for your favorite live TV shows.

 

FIRE TV RECAST VOICE COMMANDS
Record Alexa, record ‘Good Morning America’
Delete Alexa, delete ‘Supernatural’
Cancel a recording Alexa, cancel my recording of ‘Riverdale’
See the channel guide Alexa, show me the channel guide
Tune to a channel Alexa, tune to PBS
See your storage usage Alexa, how full is my DVR?
Show your recordings Alexa, show my scheduled recordings
Source: Amazon

Fire TV Recast Availability

Fire TV Recast is available for pre-order in the United States beginning September 20 and will begin shipping on November 14.

It is available in two models: a 2–tuner model with 500GB of storage that allows you to record up to 2 shows at once and holds up to 75 hours of HD programming for $229.99, and a 4–tuner model with 1TB of storage that allows you to record up to 4 shows at once and holds up to 150 hours of HD programming for $279.99.






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4 Comments on Fire TV Recast: A New OTA DVR for Cord Cutters

  1. Am I the only one that thinks most of what is going on is asinine? Every day I hear of more insanity with having multiple services, devices, complications and incompatibility with things. Not to mention costs. What we need to do is get the cable companies to get their prices in line, which only needs to be back to reasonable, even if we never get much in the area of ala carte. The cable system is what we had from the start and sure not every company gave us perfect service but overall it is better than what I have gotten with all of these more “modern” other aspects of getting tv content. And don’t tell me how the infrastructure for cable is an insurmountable cost. Not only are those just simple wiring like our old landline telephone service which seems to work just fine, these companies have upgraded massively so they can deliver us very high speed internet through them. Fibre in some areas and that is only going to continue. Where do you think most get their internet service? The cable companies are not going to let their infrastructure go away, they are alive and very well. Having to complicate things and increase cost by introducing internet as a way to deliver content that works perfectly well going through simple copper lines is insane. I believe this is mostly a money scam to shake things up and have us back to paying as much as ever, maybe more, and have us even more reliant on all of the parties involved. Cable tv was fantastic compared to this mess and we need to utilize that, at a reasonable rate. Can we spell greed and control?

  2. No, antennas and 3 channels were were what we had along with black and white tv’s. Then telecom systems started building cable systems. We got used to the simplicity of paying for services that were available for free. I’ve been using OTA and a computer to record shows for more than 10 years. BeyondTV and SageTV. I now stream some shows to watch sports. I will wait and see how version 1 plays out befor investing, but with an Nvidia Shield and multiple Firesticks throughout my home I may retire my 10 year old SageTV system and 3 HD300 clients.

    • Well said, Rick. We did get used to the simplicity of cable. And cable companies have made (and continue to make) quite a bit a money as a result of that. Sounds like you have a nice OTA setup.

  3. Where is the Amazon source for the Recast’s Dolby 5.1 sound specifications that you are showing in this article? I do not see that specification listed anywhere in the Amazon Recast website or Amazon’s FAQ’s.

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