Amazon’s inexpensive Fire TV sticks and streamers are already favorites of , but the company’s latest Fire TV box demands more of an investment, starting at $230. What it delivers afterward, however, is totally free.
The Amazon Fire TV Recast is an antenna DVR, designed to hook up to anand pull in your local, free TV broadcasts. In most areas that includes live local news, sports like NFL football and network shows from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS, among others. (Note: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)
Unlike a traditional DVR, like TiVo or the one you get from your cable or satellite company, however, it doesn’t output those TV broadcasts and recordings directly to a single TV.
Instead, it streams them to other devices, including:
That means you can watch those antenna shows, live or recorded, pretty much anywhere — on a TV connected to a Fire TV device or on a phone or tablet running the free Fire TV app.
The Recast doesn’t look like much, but that’s fine because you can stash it just about anywhere. It doesn’t need to be seen or accessed to work. That’s another advantage over a traditional antenna connection: You’re not bound to the TV, so you can set it up in an attic or elsewhere that the reception is better without having to run long antenna wires or otherwise mess with setup. It connects to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
You can use it to stream live or record shows and play them back whenever you want. You can stream to up to two different devices simultaneously. Control happens via the app, either on Fire TV or on your phone or tablet, and there’s a channel guide included.
This being a Fire TV device, control can also happen with Alexa. Link it with a Dot or other Echo device and you can say stuff like, “Alexa, open channel guide” or, “Alexa, record The Good Place” into thin air. You can also issue voice commands using a Fire TV remote or Echo Show.
The fact that antenna broadcasts are free and generally high-quality makes them popular among cord-cutters. Of course,like DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV offer local channels via streaming too, but they’re definitely not free, and (and none of them have PBS).
The Recast isn’t the first networked antenna DVR either. The Dish Network, which also owns the Sling TV ($239 at Amazon Marketplace) service. It’s cheaper, but doesn’t include a hard drive. Other competitors with network capabilities include Plex’s DVR (in combination with an antenna tuner), Tablo (which requires a monthly fee for many features, including out-of-home streaming) and HDHomeRun. Meanwhile, and the Channel Master DVR+ and Stream+ are OTA DVRs for single TVs.is a $120 version made by a subsidiary of satellite broadcaster
The Amazon Fire TV Recast comes in two sizes. The base version has two tuners so it can record two different channels at once, while the larger version has four tuners for up to four simultaneous recordings.
It ships Nov. 14, with preorders starting now. Look for a CNET review soon.
Fire TV Recast versions
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