Amazon Fire TV Recast

Last updated date: September 2, 2019

DWYM Score
7.8

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We looked at the top 1 DVRs and dug through the reviews from 11 of the most popular review sites including TechHive, ZD Net, The Verge, CNET, Tom's Guide, PC Magazine, Slash Gear, Tech Spot, The Ambient, CNBC, Cord Cutters and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best DVR you should buy.

Overall Take

If you already use an Amazon Fire Stick, the Amazon Fire TV Recast offers a subscription-free way to view and record OTA content. It offers simple setup, as well as seamless integration with your Amazon Alexa device. Search functionality covers all shows, live or streaming. In our analysis of 66 expert reviews, the Amazon Amazon Fire TV Recast placed 3rd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 21, 2019:
Checkout The Best DVR for a detailed review of all the top dvrs.

Expert Summarized Score
7.7
11 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.1
1,129 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The Fire TV Recast also works with Alexa voice commands, so you can use the Fire TV voice remote or an Amazon Echo speaker to launch live channels, play your recordings, open the channel guide, delete recordings, and check on storage space.
- TechHive
Initial setup takes only a few minutes after deciding where you want to put it. The Recast doesn't need to be near a TV -- there isn't a direct connection between the box and your TV.
- ZD Net
January 19, 2019 | Full review
Lets you record and watch OTA channels anywhere
- The Verge
November 14, 2018 | Full review
The Amazon Fire TV Recast antenna DVR doesn't charge any monthly fees. Its sophisticated program guide fits live TV channels seamlessly into the Fire TV interface. Setup is easy and out of home streaming to your phone works well.
- CNET
November 14, 2018 | Full review
This being an Amazon product, you can use Alexa to open the channel guide, schedule recordings and find programs by title, actor, genre and more. Doing so will display results not just from over-the-air programs, but from streaming services as well.
- Tom's Guide
November 19, 2018 | Full review
The Amazon Fire TV Recast adds live broadcast television viewing and recording to your Fire TV or mobile device, without a subscription.
- PC Magazine
Setup is straightforward. Using the Fire TV Recast app for iOS or Android, you connect the box to your WiFi network – if you’re not using wired ethernet – and log in with your Amazon account. After that, it automatically scans for whatever channels are available.
- Slash Gear
November 14, 2018 | Full review
Low price for built-in storage with no subscription fees
- Tech Spot
Alexa integration works great.
- The Ambient
I like the Fire TV app for iPhone and Android. With it, you can stream the live broadcast TV shows, view recordings, or record TV shows from anywhere.
- CNBC
November 29, 2018 | Full review
The Recast takes that premise and makes it even easier. No accounts to create. No monthly billing for guide access. No external hard drives to deal with. You just buy the thing, plug it in, set it up, and start watching (and recording) on an Amazon Fire TV device, on an Android or iOS device, or on the Amazon Echo Show.
- Cord Cutters
December 7, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The Fire TV Recast’s biggest drawback is that you need a Fire TV device to watch on televisions. Recast is incompatible with non-Amazon media-streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, game consoles, and most smart TVs.
- TechHive
It's not like switching inputs is a ton of work, but it is an inconvenience. Not only does that mean keeping your TV remote around for changing OTA channels, but switching to your antenna input lacks any sort of programming guide, and, perhaps most importantly -- it lacks any DVR functionality.
- ZD Net
January 19, 2019 | Full review
Mobile app isn’t nearly as good as Fire TV experience
- The Verge
November 14, 2018 | Full review
It's more expensive initially than many antenna TV options. You need a Fire TV device attached to your TV, and can only watch on two devices at once.
- CNET
November 14, 2018 | Full review
Requires a Fire TV device, Echo Show, or Fire TV mobile app. No way to watch from a computer. Even HD broadcast television looks soft on recent 4K TVs.
- PC Magazine
Mobile experience lacks features like scheduling.
- Slash Gear
November 14, 2018 | Full review
Mobile app isn't nearly as good as Fire TV experience
- Tech Spot
If you’re using the Fire TV mobile app, you’re a bit more limited in what you can do here. You can start and stop recordings, but there’s no scheduling. I also found some of the interface to be unnecessarily fiddly and unintuitive, which is hopefully something that Amazon will improve on as the app matures.
- The Ambient
The price is a little crazy. You need to spend about $300 to get up and running, which is a lot of money for what you get. That includes a Fire TV Stick that starts at $40, the Fire TV Recast which starts at $229 and an HD Antenna for about $25.
- CNBC
November 29, 2018 | Full review
If you're using Apple TV or Roku or Android TV or something else, then the Recast is not for you. It just won't work. That's a big limitation.
- Cord Cutters
December 7, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Fire TV Recast is designed so that you can place it, together with the digital HD antenna connected to it, anywhere in your home (even in a different room or a different story) to optimize for antenna reception. As part of the set-up process in the Fire TV mobile app, we will tell you which direction to place your antenna to get the most channels for your location. It is recommended to place your antenna as high up as possible, against a window or outward facing wall that has a clear line of sight to your surroundings.

Overall Product Rankings

1. TiVo Bolt OTA
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 11
2. TiVo MINI VOX Streaming Media Player
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 2
3. Amazon Fire TV Recast
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 11
4. Tablo 4-Tuner Digital Video Recorder
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 4
5. Tablo Dual LITE OTA DVR
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 7
6. TiVo BOLT VOX 3TB
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 9
7. TiVo BOLT VOX 500 GB
Overall Score: 7.3
Expert Reviews: 7
8. AVerMedia EZRecorder
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On DVRs

Back in the old days of cable TV — and by “old days,” we mean the mid-2000s — the role of the DVR was simple. The name stood for digital video recorder, and that’s what it did. It recorded video from your cable television to an internal storage device, allowing you to pause, rewind or record live television. When it was first introduced, this was revolutionary. You could skip commercials! Pause for bathroom breaks! Make that must-see show wait until you were good and ready! The convenience was so great that cable and satellite providers started providing DVR service as part of their basic subscription, and most still do.

These days, those features can seem quaint for cord-cutters who rely primarily on streaming services for their entertainment. But the pendulum has begun to swing back, as streaming subscriptions grow pricier and people are starting to realize that OTA (over the air) TV is still free for those with a decent antenna. But how do we make those scheduled network shows fit our busy lifestyle? Re-enter the stand-alone DVR.

And far from sitting idle, TiVo and the other pioneers of DVR technology have been incorporating new technology to make their services relevant even to those with a streaming package. TiVo’s Bolt OTA, for instance, presents itself as an all-in-one media device, allowing you to grab and record shows from your antenna but also giving access to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. You can search for shows across both live TV and applications, issue voice commands through either the remote or Amazon’s Alexa assistant and even skip commercials.

Other DVRs are somewhat more stripped down, but the main thing to remember is that you won’t be able to do much with a DVR alone. Nearly all of them require a TV antenna to access OTA content, sold separately. And if you want that content to be in HD, you’ll need an HD antenna. For Amazon’s Fire TV Recast, you’ll also need an Amazon Fire player or Echo Show with an active account.

How they connect to your TV also differs. Most run connections to your antenna, then deliver shows to your TV through an HDMI or another cable. The Tablo 4-Tuner DVR is a bit of an outlier, running through your wireless router which then delivers content to your TV.

There may also be a subscription cost to figure in, ranging from a few dollars a month to nothing at all. Considering that some DVRs can even let you record and watch from tablets or phones while you’re away from home, it can be a great option for viewers who don’t want to miss a thing.

DYWM Fun Fact

What do people DVR the most? If 2018 is any indication, dramas get a lot of play. Along with its rankings for live viewing, Nielsen keeps track of network shows that are played back within seven days of airing. In that category, the top five shows are all serious business, including NBC’s “This Is Us,” two hospital dramas (“The Good Doctor” and “New Amsterdam”) and the winner, NBC’s “Manifest.”

The DVR Buying Guide

  • The first thing to do when buying a DVR is to get those glasses ready, because you’ll want to read the fine print. You’ll need an antenna to access the live shows for your DVR, and it’s best to buy the antenna first so you know what stations you can reliably pick up at your location. But that might not be all: Some DVRs will also require a subscription to start up. Those are typically the ones that allow you to access streaming services, so it can still be a great option for those that don’t already have it.
  • Most DVRs can accommodate more than one TV these days, which is great for big families. You can be watching the game in the living room while the kids record cartoons in the den, for example. Some might even be able to stream your OTA content to tablets or other devices for viewing while you’re on the go. All good perks, but make sure you’ve got enough tuners to handle all that business. In a nutshell, the amount of tuners you’ve got usually determines the amount of different shows you can watch or record simultaneously. A family using a four-tuner DVR would be able to watch two shows on separate TVs while recording two shows for later, for example.
  • Then there’s storage. If you like to record a lot of shows, be aware there’s a limit. Many DVRs will come with a certain amount of internal storage; others might require you to buy hard drives or other expansions to the memory. Most will let you know the storage capacity in hours, but a rule of thumb is that one hour of HD programming will usually take up 6 GB.
  • What are the bells and whistles on your DVR? Do your research, because some features might be worth the price alone. Others, you might already have or need other devices to fully take advantage of. For instance, the TiVo Bolt OTA’s streaming capabilities: You might already be watching Netflix or Amazon shows through a smart TV or other interface, but perhaps it’s worth it to have all those shows plus OTA TV on a single menu.
  • Got an Ultra 4K TV? Make sure that not only your DVR supports that kind of resolution, but your antenna does as well. Essentially, your picture will only look as good as the weakest device you’re using to access it. In the case of the Tablo 4-Tuner, you’ll be watching shows through your internet router, so make sure your bandwidth is up to the task.
  • Finally, setup can be a headache when you’re dealing with this many devices. Don’t be afraid to call support for connection help. Pro tip: While it’s best to set up your antenna first, make sure that its ideal location is one that the DVR’s cords can reach.