If you want free TV, enjoy the Amazon Fire TV Recast.
Image quality Easy to install and use Very current interface
Price You need antennas and Fire TV Stick Very limited Fire TV application
There was a time in which there was only open and air television (OTA), but then the cable arrived and for some years they both lived together, as if they were modern Neanderthals and homo sapiens. But the TVs evolved and it was no longer possible to watch them on the open channels, all at the same time that the advance of the Internet brings with it the revolution of streaming, which threatened the reign of the cable and the old habits associated with the way in which we all watch television.
And in another twist of this story, a new device wants to bring us back the ease and freeness of free television, right now, on the days of streaming and the imminent arrival of 5G. Amazon launched its Fire TV Recast device at the end of 2018, which allows you to record programs, series and movies that you may not be able to see in its broadcast schedule, but at another time.
Amazon has given us the opportunity to test this equipment in our homes and here we tell you our experience.
What is this from the Amazon Fire TV Recast?
Amazon Fire TV Recast is a DVR box that allows you to not only watch, but also record air TV while at home or on the go on a compatible Fire TV, Echo Show or iOS / Android device, all without monthly charges. In the times when the cable decays and the streaming It gains ground, the idea of re-tuning our old-style televisions is attractive, especially knowing that no monthly payment or contract should be paid. But let's not jump for joy, that the matter does not go free for much, and still need a Good connection to the Internet and other accessories, if you want to take full advantage.
In the times when the cable decays and the streaming gains ground, the idea of re-tuning our old-style televisions is attractive.
The Fire TV Recast connects to your home network and offers you its local programming on demand within Amazon's popular Fire TV ecosystem, all of which ensures that users can watch their favorite local broadcasts. With the Recast You can watch and record live sports, local news, night series and other television programs that are captured through an HDTV antenna (which is sold separately, eye) on channels such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and The CW
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You can record up to two programs at once, with enough storage for up to 75 hours of HD programming. If you need more, you can connect an external USB hard drive to the Recast to have additional space for all the programs, games or movies you want to enjoy when you feel like it.
But, as we said before, to enjoy the Recast you will need some accessories. To start, some kind of streamer Amazon Fire TV, such as a Fire TV Stick, 4K Stick, Cube or a TV with an integrated Amazon interface. In addition, you will need a quality HD antenna. You can buy these two items at relatively affordable prices. Strictly speaking, more than complements, these are essential pieces of the Fire TV Recast experience.
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There is another thing that, because it is so obvious, is sometimes overlooked: you must live in a place that can receive a good television program on the air. In our case, we tested the equipment in Brooklyn, New York, where we had no trouble capturing (and very well) 59 channels. If you are not sure of the channels you can capture in your home, you can check the availability of transmission by visiting Antennaweb.org and checking your postal code.
Installation and configuration
Once you have what it takes, everything is quite easy to install. If you already have an HDTV antenna, connect it with a coaxial cable to the Recast. If as in our case you opt for an indoor antenna, put it in a window in front of which there is no building or house nearby. It is recommended to put this antenna facing north, although in reality the most important thing if you are in the US is that you put it facing the interior of the country. That is: if you are on the East Coast, put it facing west, and vice versa. Oh, and in case you have an antenna like ours (AmazonBasics Indoor Flat) put the black part facing out.
Connect the coaxial cable to the Recast and download the Fire TV application. At this point, make sure you have both the Fire Stick (or Cube) and your Echo Show connected to your network, if you have it. In the Fire TV application, connect the Recast to your Internet network and that's it! As we said, just make sure your Fire TV devices share the same network. You will notice that a “DVR” tab appears at the top of the list of your Fire TV menu, as well as the option to browse live TV channels from the home screen.
It is a bit frustrating that the Fire TV application only serves to watch the Recast programming, and not interact with the other devices connected to it. If you have any problem to connect the Fire Stick or the Echo Show we had to solve the problem in the Stick or in the Echo Show, or by going back and reinstalling everything again. We do not understand why Amazon has not made a master application here that coordinates the devices connected to the Recast. You can only watch, record and schedule recordings, but not make the schedule stop watching on TV and watch on the Echo Show, for example.
The broadcast information goes from the Recast to your Echo Show or to the Fire TV Stick, so you won't have to put your Recast near your TV. Aesthetically, it is something that is appreciated, since being putting boxes around the TV is something of another era.
The Fire TV Recast comes in sizes of 500GB ($ 230 dollars) and 1TB ($ 280 dollars), which represents approximately 75 or 150 hours of programming, respectively. All programs are recorded in 720p at 60 frames per second, which is of a fairly good quality for an air DVR. The Tablo DVR reaches a maximum of 30 frames per second for 480i and 1080i content, and even the Plex air DVR system (which requires additional hardware) only offers 60 frames per second with high-end hardware such as the Nvidia Shield .
It also supports 5.1 surround sound, ideal if you have a connected surround system.
The Fire TV Recast interface in the general Fire TV menu looks very current, very similar to the DirectTV Now interface, for example. Frankly, adding the live TV component to Fire TV makes these streaming devices more attractive than ever, and we want this feature to be integrated into independent Fire TV models like the Fire TV Cube someday.
All programs are recorded in 720p at 60 frames per second, which is of a fairly good quality for an air DVR.
As it is, finding, recording and simply enjoying broadcast programming is easy and intuitive. Once you have selected the new DVR section in the menu of your Fire TV, you can quickly move between the different TV channels to watch live. If you find a program that you want to record, simply press the menu button and choose the "record" option.
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You can watch your shows and series on two devices at once, and no more. And for the application of Fire TV, you can also watch the programming wherever you have an internet connection. We didn't say it, but you can already guess that Alexa is here, and you can ask her to go to some channel by talking to your Stick's remote control, for example.
If your geographical location is ideal and you have also successfully connected the HD antenna, you will surely enjoy the experience of the Amazon Fire TV Recast, since the transmission quality is very good. Of course: you will miss some channels that are not open (CNN, ESPN, MTV), but in our test days we have enjoyed the Gold Cup, Women's Cup and World Cup thanks to Telemundo and Univisin without any problem and with an excellent transmission quality In addition, you will always find special series, documentaries of interest and classic films on local channels, and never ceases to be nice in the times of Netflix, Hulu and others that someone programs the movies for you.
The great but here is the price. As much as we are told that we will not pay again to see the channels that are open, it is not easy to open the wallet and spend $ 230 in a box that also requires an HD antenna and a Fire TV Stick. Said directly, it is not something that convinces us from good to first. There is also the undeniable fact, at this point that many of our favorite series and shows are not on open television, but on Netflix, Hulu or HBO. It is evident that, little by little, we moved away from television on the open, and our viewing habits changed.
That said: if yours is Jeopardy, the news of NBC, the morning of ABC and all the programming of Telemundo and Univisin, the option of the Recast will be very useful. We also believe that Amazon should make a package of products (Recast, Fire TV Stick, antenna) and not force consumers to make these purchases separately. If you have to sell an expensive product and, in addition, you need others, sell everything together and at a convenient price. Surely, many people try it.
By the way: Amazon has already announced that it will have its Fire TV Recast at a very convenient price during these days and apply a discount of $ 100 dollars. In other words: if you want it, it is now or never.