Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR available for pre-order in the US

RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
edited 23 September 2018, 9:22PM in News

“Fire TV Recast is a DVR that lets you watch and record over-the-air TV at home or on-the-go with no monthly fees. Watch at home with a Fire TV or Echo Show, or take your shows with you with the Fire TV mobile app on compatible iOS and Android devices or Fire tablets.

With 4 tuners, you can record up to 4 shows at once. Plus, store for up to 150 hours of HD programming.

Pair Fire TV Recast with your Fire TV or Echo Show and ask Alexa to search for shows, change over-the-air TV channels, control playback, plus browse, schedule, cancel, and delete recordings.

  • With a compatible Alexa-enabled device, you can use your voice to search for shows, manage and schedule recordings, and help with other requests. Say things like “Alexa, open Channel Guide" or “Alexa, record ‘Riverdale.’”
  • Fire TV Recast delivers the most reliable video streams over Wi-Fi of any over-the-air DVR.”
You can read and see all about it here.

And so the wheel comes full circle. No catchup, no Netflix, no YouTube, no apps, because all of these things are taken care of by the Fire TV and other devices you own; but internet smarts applied to make this a record-anywhere (very like YouView*), watch-anywhere (very unlike YouView) voice-controllable (you tell me) device.

No word yet on when (or even if) we will get a UK version, but I think it has to be on the cards.

*YouView still has an edge here, but for how long?

Can I schedule recordings when I’m away from home?

You can start recording any live over-the-air program that’s currently airing via the Fire TV mobile app. The mobile app does not currently support scheduling a recording of a program that will air in the future.

‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
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Comments

  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    edited 24 September 2018, 9:44AM
    .
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    Interesting. Not quite clear how the "on-the-go" facility works though? And pretty much all FTA television is available on-the-go already in the UK without need of a separate device.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    redchiz said:
    Interesting. Not quite clear how the "on-the-go" facility works though? And pretty much all FTA television is available on-the-go already in the UK without need of a separate device.
    I imagine ‘on the go’ would work pretty much like a Slingbox, but without the need to emulate a passel of remotes and provide a web of IR blasters like the Slingbox has to.

    This Amazon device is likely to be a server, with the attendant risks that YouView devices avoid by not being one, at least not an internet-facing one, but with the advantages of almost-instant remote interaction that YouView can’t offer, due to this self-imposed limitation.

    So you talk to it from your remote device or app, and it streams live or recorded content back to your remote device.

    You need a fairly decent upstream speed for this, but any connection you can work a Slingbox on should suffice.

    As for live television on-the-go, I can’t see any free way to get the free Sony Movies Channel, Freeview 32, which my wife watches a lot, on-the-go - though perhaps you know different?
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks @Roy, even more interesting.

    As for FTA channels I did say "pretty much" rather than the unqualified "all," but I suspected nevertheless that you would hasten to correct me.   :p
  • VisionmanVisionman Posts: 8,918Member ✭✭✭
    If this device was to launch in the UK they would be dead in the water.

    My reasoning for this opinion is the following - 
    There are a number of platforms in the UK that already have traction and these are SKY (number 1) Virgin Media (number 2) which is closely followed by YouView (number 3).

    But theres another platform that dwarfs them all, with 26m households. Its technical name is Digital Terrestrial Television, but no one calls it that anymore and so its just referred to as 'Freeview'. So no. I can't see this being a penetrative mass market device, if indeed launched at all.
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    The only benefit I can see is the ability to access remote recordings (and the Sony Movie Channel obviously) on the go. The absence of the ability to set recordings in advance would, I think, completely bemuse most UK viewers.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    edited 26 September 2018, 7:44AM
    Visionman said:
    If this device was to launch in the UK they would be dead in the water.

    My reasoning for this opinion is the following - 
    There are a number of platforms in the UK that already have traction and these are SKY (number 1) Virgin Media (number 2) which is closely followed by YouView (number 3).

    But theres another platform that dwarfs them all, with 26m households. Its technical name is Digital Terrestrial Television, but no one calls it that anymore and so its just referred to as 'Freeview'. So no. I can't see this being a penetrative mass market device, if indeed launched at all.
    It’s a pretty brave thing to launch in the States, where cable is nigh-on ubiquitous, and you can see how carefully Amazon have to explain the concept of a digital OTA aerial, and don’t have the expectation, as we have here, that many houses will sport roof or loft aerial installations.

    And in the UK, it would of course be a Freeview device - what else could it be?

    So assuming it had all of Freeview OTG, how do Sky and Virgin’s offerings compare here? 

    Lack of OTG, even within our own homes, has always been one of YouView’s Achilles’ heels,. Carrying a YouView box from room to room in our house has never been one of my favourite pastimes.

    I was musing the other day about how we use our YouView boxes at home; we record my wife’s regular favourite daytime programmes on two boxes, so as to cover whichever room she decides to watch them in, and this still doesn’t cover the kitchen.

    And we hardly ever use catchup or apps on the boxes, as it is easier and more satisfactory to run these from the TVs; Netflix in HDR, or Prime Video in 4K, anyone?

    So I could practically get my old DigitalStream dumb PVR out again, and use that. Except that I rely on the YouView app for about 90% of the scheduling I do. Even if I’m in front of the YouView box at the time :p  

    So it’s the app that keeps me coming back to YouView at the moment, and not much else.

    But OTG for live UK programming and watching recordings? I’ll be ordering one if it comes here, sure as eggs are eggs.

    Unless YouView get there first, that is  :D
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    edited 24 September 2018, 1:40PM
    redchiz said:
    The only benefit I can see is the ability to access remote recordings (and the Sony Movie Channel obviously) on the go. The absence of the ability to set recordings in advance would, I think, completely bemuse most UK viewers.
    But you can set recordings in advance, including series recordings (which Alexa defaults to, if you ask by voice), when you are at home.

    It’s just when you are away from home that you can’t schedule recordings, which gives YouView an edge, currently.

    But note Amazon’s ‘currently’, which implies this feature is on Amazon’s roadmap. Which might scroll by rather quicker than YouView’s does....
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    @Roy ; Ah, OK, thanks for clarifying. 

    As for Sky and Virgin I believe they both have apps which allow certain, but by no means all channels to be viewed on the go. And Sky Q allows recordings on the go too, but at yet extra cost. But of course they are the very antithesis of this new Amazon model which seems to be based firmly on terrestrial FTA channels.
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    The absence of the ability to set recordings in advance remotely would, I think, completely bemuse most UK viewers. Is that better?   :) 
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    redchiz said:
    The absence of the ability to set recordings in advance remotely would, I think, completely bemuse most UK viewers. Is that better?   :) 
    How about:

    “The initial absence of the ability to set recordings in advance remotely would, I think, horrify most UK viewers, until they realised this would be addressed at Amazon development speeds”.
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    Roy said:
    How about:

    “The initial absence of the ability to set recordings in advance remotely would, I think, horrify most UK viewers, until they realised this would be addressed at Amazon development speeds”.
    I am not familiar with Amazon development speeds, but if they are up there with their level of commitment to tax avoidance then I am sure you are right to be hopeful.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    Playing the man not the ball there, redchiz  :p
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    Trouble is that the man only let's us play with his ball as it suits him.   ;)
  • This type of functionality already exists in the UK for those that use Plex, have a premium account and own (or buy) a HDHomeRun Connect Quatro.

    They introduced it about 18 months ago and it works really well, but has a limited (and probably quite techy), user base as you need a NAS: https://www.plex.tv/live-tv-dvr/

    If Amazon do release it here I suspect it would be really niche at first, but you never know how much it could grow, especially amongst those that don't have lots of aerial points around the house (like me!).

    And the functionality isn't that dissimilar to SkyQ really with one main box doing most of the work. 
  • This type of functionality already exists in the UK for those that use Plex, have a premium account and own (or buy) a HDHomeRun Connect Quatro.

    They introduced it about 18 months ago and it works really well, but has a limited (and probably quite techy), user base as you need a NAS: https://www.plex.tv/live-tv-dvr/

    If Amazon do release it here I suspect it would be really niche at first, but you never know how much it could grow, especially amongst those that don't have lots of aerial points around the house (like me!).

    And the functionality isn't that dissimilar to SkyQ really with one main box doing most of the work. 
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    edited 25 September 2018, 1:09PM
    stereohaven said (twice!):

    This type of functionality already exists in the UK for those that use Plex, have a premium account and own (or buy) a HDHomeRun Connect Quatro.

    They introduced it about 18 months ago and it works really well, but has a limited (and probably quite techy), user base as you need a NAS: https://www.plex.tv/live-tv-dvr/

    If Amazon do release it here I suspect it would be really niche at first, but you never know how much it could grow, especially amongst those that don't have lots of aerial points around the house (like me!).

    And the functionality isn't that dissimilar to SkyQ really with one main box doing most of the work. 
    It’s the way of the future, and something YouView should be considering. No, dammit, it’s something they should have now.

    I just hope that if Amazon bring it over here, they don’t rot it up with geolocation restrictions, as it would be much more streamlined than our current YouView/Slingbox arrangement for watching UK TV in Spain.
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭

    If Amazon do release it here I suspect it would be really niche at first, but you never know how much it could grow, especially amongst those that don't have lots of aerial points around the house (like me!).

    That comment puzzles me, surely you need a separate aerial and/or splitter to utilise this device?
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    redchiz said:

    If Amazon do release it here I suspect it would be really niche at first, but you never know how much it could grow, especially amongst those that don't have lots of aerial points around the house (like me!).

    That comment puzzles me, surely you need a separate aerial and/or splitter to utilise this device?
    Something I was meaning to mention, redchiz, so thanks - yes, just an aerial in, no passthrough, so if you put the box on your sole aerial point, or the sole aerial point of the room you place it in, at least, then yes, as things stand at the moment, you would need a splitter to use a TV independently as well, which is not ideal. 

    But I think Stereohaven’s point was that this DVR will let you watch the content in rooms where you don’t have a TV aerial point, and so in which placing a TV will no longer be pointless  :p
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    edited 25 September 2018, 1:19PM
    @redchiz said:
    Thanks @Roy, even more interesting.

    As for FTA channels I did say "pretty much" rather than the unqualified "all," but I suspected nevertheless that you would hasten to correct me.   :p
    You did indeed; but in my defence I would say that I picked not some random obscure shopping channel I would never watch anyway, but the top non-‘Big 5’ channel sitting in Favourites on our TV.

    And I also took care to ascertain that it was not indeed already available free off the internet (it is available on TV Player, but only in their Premium paid-for subscription area).

    ‘Hastening to correct you’ is actually a slow and careful process  ;)
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    @Roy Thank you for your careful and considered rebuttal. But hasten used as an intransitive verb means to do something without delay, rather than quickly, so I believe my nuance was correct.   B)
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    redchiz said:
    @Roy Thank you for your careful and considered rebuttal. But hasten used as an intransitive verb means to do something without delay, rather than quickly, so I believe my nuance was correct.   B)
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/hasten
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • Roy said:

    But I think Stereohaven’s point was that this DVR will let you watch the content in rooms where you don’t have a TV aerial point, and so in which placing a TV will no longer be pointless  :p
    Yep, sorry if that wasn't clear.
    We only have two aerial points in the house so this scenario would allow me to plug the box into one of those aerial points and then use an Amazon Fire TV device to receive the live TV feed/recordings over wifi in a room that doesn't have an aerial.

  • redchizredchiz Posts: 4,648Member ✭✭✭
    Yep, sorry if that wasn't clear.
    We only have two aerial points in the house so this scenario would allow me to plug the box into one of those aerial points and then use an Amazon Fire TV device to receive the live TV feed/recordings over wifi in a room that doesn't have an aerial.

    Thanks for clearing that up. We only have one aerial point so would need one of those amazing, unobtrusive stick-on-the-window types as shown in the video!
  • TomWTomW Posts: 456Member
    Roy said:
    Visionman said:
    If this device was to launch in the UK they would be dead in the water.

    My reasoning for this opinion is the following - 
    There are a number of platforms in the UK that already have traction and these are SKY (number 1) Virgin Media (number 2) which is closely followed by YouView (number 3).

    But theres another platform that dwarfs them all, with 26m households. Its technical name is Digital Terrestrial Television, but no one calls it that anymore and so its just referred to as 'Freeview'. So no. I can't see this being a penetrative mass market device, if indeed launched at all.
    It’s a pretty brave thing to launch in the States, where cable is nigh-on ubiquitous, and you can see how carefully Amazon have to explain the concept of a digital OTA aerial, and don’t have the expectation, as we have here, that many houses will sport roof or loft aerial installations.

    And in the UK, it would of course be a Freeview device - what else could it be?

    So assuming it had all of Freeview OTG, how do Sky and Virgin’s offerings compare here? 

    Lack of OTG, even within our own homes, has always been one of YouView’s Achilles’ heels,. Carrying a YouView box from room to room in our house has never been one of my favourite pastime

    So it’s the app that keeps me coming back to YouView at the moment, and not much else.

    But OTG for live UK programming and watching recordings? I’ll be ordering one if it come here, sure as eggs are eggs.

    Unless YouView get there first, that is  :D
    Agree that the app is YouView’s best party trick. Which makes it all the more surprising that we’re unable to use the app as a control surface. Navigating the EPG and entering text for searches, for example, is so much easier on my ipad. I can hardly believe that in 2018 we’re still using T9 text input on the YouBox when there’s an perfectly good companion app that could be used as a control surface for the box.

    If Amazon are serious about a free to air PVR and they make it available in the UK it’ll blow retail YouView and Freeview Play out of the water. If they then decide to go all in on premier league football rights then it’ll give Sky, Virgin, BT / TalkTalk YouView some serious competition too.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    TomW said:
    Agree that the app is YouView’s best party trick. Which makes it all the more surprising that we’re unable to use the app as a control surface. Navigating the EPG and entering text for searches, for example, is so much easier on my ipad. I can hardly believe that in 2018 we’re still using T9 text input on the YouBox when there’s an perfectly good companion app that could be used as a control surface for the box.

    If Amazon are serious about a free to air PVR and they make it available in the UK it’ll blow retail YouView and Freeview Play out of the water. If they then decide to go all in on premier league football rights then it’ll give Sky, Virgin, BT / TalkTalk YouView some serious competition too.
    Historically, YouView have always tried to avoid their boxes having to be a server, which acting as a remote would require. But I think the app pairing now uses the box as a server, albeit still avoiding this being internet-facing, and this is all it acting as a remote would need. Plus a lot of code, of course, which is YouView’s bugbear at the moment.

    If Amazon have deep enough pockets, they could take a leaf out of how BT have achieved their YouView penetration, with a ‘Prime Plus’ subscription service that lets you buy their DVR over 1-2 years, alongside regular Amazon Prime.

    But attention to BT would also tell Amazon that going up against Sky, etc., for sports rights just makes the sports bodies very rich, while impoverishing those who gain the rights, something Gavin Patterson knows all about.
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • andro101010andro101010 Posts: 18Member
    edited 26 September 2018, 9:25AM
    This device has a similar idea but the app isn't highly rated and though it works with a Plex subscription that's an extra cost again. Oh, and the recordings are unencrypted.
  • RoyRoy Posts: 14,297Member ✭✭✭
    This device has a similar idea but the app isn't highly rated and though it works with a Plex subscription that's an extra cost again. Oh, and the recordings are unencrypted.
    Any mention of Computer, NAS, Kodi, Plex, and probably a few other buzzwords, and you are out of consumer device territory; the clever thing about the Amazon DVR is that it covers the bases not with a motley set of fits-where-it-touches (and not always then) bolt-ons but with an all-Amazon approach.

    There’s a consumer device in the States, the Tablo, but it sounds like each device comes with its own Tablo engineer (or needs to), and people have very variable experiences with it.

    You just know that Amazon have the will, and the resources, to get their DVR right and keep it consumer-friendly, though I imagine the first few months may be a bit torrid.
    ‘Does television exist for us to watch, or do we exist to watch television?’ - Noah Hawley
  • Roy said:
    This device has a similar idea but the app isn't highly rated and though it works with a Plex subscription that's an extra cost again. Oh, and the recordings are unencrypted.
    Any mention of Computer, NAS, Kodi, Plex, and probably a few other buzzwords, and you are out of consumer device territory; the clever thing about the Amazon DVR is that it covers the bases not with a motley set of fits-where-it-touches (and not always then) bolt-ons but with an all-Amazon approach.

    There’s a consumer device in the States, the Tablo, but it sounds like each device comes with its own Tablo engineer (or needs to), and people have very variable experiences with it.

    You just know that Amazon have the will, and the resources, to get their DVR right and keep it consumer-friendly, though I imagine the first few months may be a bit torrid.
    Agreed. Any mass market device has to be SWMBO-friendly. If the Recast plays nicely with Amazon's PrimeTV app on apple TV (and its unified search) then it may be the incentive for us to move away from Youview. 
  • TomWTomW Posts: 456Member
    edited 26 September 2018, 8:38PM
    This device has a similar idea but the app isn't highly rated and though it works with a Plex subscription that's an extra cost again. Oh, and the recordings are unencrypted.

    I bought one of those a couple of years ago but I immediately sent it back for a refund. The user experience of the companion app is so appallingly bad as to make the system almost unusable. In summary, great idea but terrible execution.
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