USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham gives the pros and cons on the new Amazon Amazon Fire TV Recast, a DVR over-the-air television.
The DVR has always been a tool to record TV shows and play them back, to watch on the television. Amazon changes that.
Its Fire TV Recast DVR, out Nov. 14, will re-imagine how you think of a DVR. Yes, it can record TV shows, but only if connected to an antenna. Reader alert: Cable and satellite customers will find the Recast useless. It’s for cord-cutters only.
Once connected, the Recast acts as the TV hub that receives the signal and re-distributes it, along with the recorded shows, to multiple TV sets, your phone and tablet.
Starting at $229, the Recast is about the lowest-priced, full-service DVR that’s been available to date, and highlighted by one magic consumer advantage – no monthly fee. Most cable services charge a monthly rental for their DVRs to the tune of $30 or so, and rival TiVo has a host of DVRs available, with monthly fees of anywhere from $6.99 to $15.
So what is it?
The Recast works only with Amazon products. There’s the Fire TV Edition of television sets, which start at around $229.Though, many retailers will discount them to just over $100 with Black Friday deals. You could also use an Amazon Fire TV Stick ($30-$50) streaming device in any TV with an HDMI port or the Echo Show, the $229 edition of the talking speaker that brings video to Alexa. Additionally, you’ll need to add an antenna at a cost of $30 or more.
Beyond having a tool to record local news and sports and broadcast shows (most of which are readily available via apps), the twist is that the Recast has Alexa built in, so you just say, “Alexa, record ‘The Price is Right’,” or “…Tune to NBC.”
Again, the Recast isn’t just a DVR, but a box that has taken over your TV set. You use it to find out what’s on, to turn to a specific station, view the channel guide, record, and monitor your recorded shows. (Second reader alert: During setup, you plug the antenna into the Recast and not a TV.)
If you use a Fire Stick in multiple TVs throughout your home, you can tap into shows recorded on the Recast, wherever it actually sits, and even watch live TV, via a DVR tab that shows up in the Amazon TV menu.
For cord cutters, other choices of devices to record and playback TV shows are slim. There’s the new TiVo, the Bolt OTA, which sells for $249.99 plus $6.99 monthly, or the Tablo, which has several models available, selling for $139 to $199. But you’ll need to spring for a hard drive to connect to it, so add $75 to $100. Like the Recast, Tablo and the Bolt connect only to antennas, not cable or satellite boxes.
So how is the Recast?
First, props to Amazon for re-imagining how we watch TV.
That said, setup can take some time (remember, antenna into the unit, not the TV), and it’s different experience that may take getting used to.
Once it’s up and running, it records and finds shows, although not as smoothly as with the cable DVR, which to my eyes does a more pleasing job of zipping through commercials visually than the Recast. But then again, I’m paying over $400 yearly for this right in DVR rentals from my cable company. I love paying once with no monthly fees.
One more caveat: When so much programming is available via streaming, in movies, original TV shows and the like, and when YouTube offers the best of broadcast TV (and so much more in clip form) it’s questionable whether any of us actually need to record anything.
But then, I’m not a fan of “The Bachelor,” so what do I know?
Another note: Because Amazon and Google don’t get along, the official YouTube app isn’t included in the Amazon offerings. But Amazon has a workaround to pick up YouTube via a browser.
Pro: Low price, unique twist on TV viewing, no monthly fee. Starts at $229 with ability to record up to four shows at once on 500 GB hard drive, or $279 for 1 TB hard drive.
Con: Works only with Amazon products, so if you get Amazon Prime Video via the Roku streaming stick, you’d need to spring for Amazon’s brand. You’re also missing out on the cable alternative YouTube TV, which won’t work with Recast. Fast forward not as visually appealing and precise as the cable DVR.
Readers: Would you ditch your cable DVR for a unit that works only with an antenna? Let’s talk about it on Twitter, where I’m @jeffersongraham.
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/11/14/amazons-fire-tv-recast-dvr-totally-different-way-watching-tv/1987664002/
- [LLODO] Michigan state Dem pepper-sprayed, charged with DUI, resisting arrest, weapons possession: report
- [LLODO] Head of NYC’s posh Dalton School leaving at the end of 2021
- [LLODO] Chilling video captures moment a love triangle erupts in murder, revenge in NYC
- [LLODO] NYPD officers hit with Molotov cocktail and liquid chemical in face, police say
- [LLODO] California group files federal civil rights complaint over San Diego school district’s ‘racist’ teachings
- [LLODO] Podcast helped in hunt for 1996 killer of California student
- [LLODO] National weather forecast: Parts of Northeast could see more than a foot of snow
- [LLODO] Cuomo boasts he ‘invented’ NYS-scented hand sanitizer, faces no questions over scandals
- [LLODO] Teacher who decried NYC school’s ‘indoctrination’ put on remote work: ‘Feels like punishment’