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TV antennas are getting more popular every year because you can get networks like NBC, CBS and FOX for free. Now Amazon is jumping into the DVR market for antennas with the Fire TV Recast. In this video, I’ll show you how to set up the Fire TV Recast, and go over some of the pros and cons of buying one versus other DVRs that record over-the-air channels. This video is a follow-up to the review that I’ve written for my website the Cord Cutting Report You can check out that review at cordcuttingreport.com So one of the better things about the Recast is that it’s really easy to hook up and start watching TV All you need to do is connect the Recast to your home Internet, plug your antenna into the back of the Recast, then scan for channels. You’re pretty much ready to go after that with a push of that funny hamburger button on the right side of the Fire TV remote you can pull up your channel guide. The channel guide will look familiar to anyone who’s had a cable TV subscription. But here’s the big difference. All of these channels that you see; you’re gonna get them for absolutely nothing, for free. For the rest of your life. And that’s one of the big differences with the Fire TV Recast. A number of DVRs already on the market will require you to subscribe to some kind of guide service that will cost you anywhere between five to eight dollars a month. Amazon decided not to do that and to just require you to buy the Recast, and of course, to use it with a Fire TV device. The number of channels you get will largely depend on where you live in the U.S. and how many broadcast towers are in your area. Where I live in Boston, I get about 58 channels including major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS And I get what’s known as sub-channels, which are basically other channels that your major broadcast networks also transmit from their towers. Those are channels that you’ll never see on a cable subscription. The good news for sports fans means you’ll get a lot of free NFL football, college basketball, NASCAR, NHL hockey and soccer. To use a Recast, you’re going to need to watch all your live TV and your recorded shows on a Fire TV device whether it’s a Fire TV stick, a Fire TV Cube if you own one of those. The Fire TV Recast is not something that you could use on say like a Roku or a Nvidia Shield. There is a mobile app that lets you watch channels as well and it’ll even let you watch TV outside your home. The Recast comes in two different models. There’s the two tuner model which has a 500 gigabyte hard drive. That’ll last for about 75 hours of recording. Two tuners just basically means you have two TV tuners inside the device. So you can record up to two programs at once. With the four tuner model, you’re basically doubling your ability of what you can record. That comes with a one terabyte hard drive and you can record roughly 150 hours of programming. When you first get the Recast out of the box one of the first things that you’re gonna have to do is to download the Fire TV app to your smart phone if you don’t already have it. From there, it’s gonna guide you through the setup process, which is very simple. It’ll tell you what direction to place your antenna and your Recast box. And by the way, you don’t need to have the Recast box next to your TV. That’s another real benefit the Recast has because you’re gonna be able to put your antenna in the most optimal place so you can get the most channels. So it’s not like a typical cable box and DVR set up where it’s right next to your TV. Once you get everything up and running There’s a few ways you can look over your antenna channels on the Fire TV on the main menu of the Fire TV You’ll notice a new road that says on now which shows you what’s currently airing over-the-air. If you drift off to another part of the menu, you can return to the show you’re watching under the new recent row as well. I prefer to use the channel guide for finding something to watch. The channel guide is designed for scheduling recordings. But you can also use it to quickly surf through what’s currently on. There’s a quick way to get to the channel guide, which I really like. You can just click on that hamburger button that I mentioned on your remote. A side menu will pop up that lets you choose the channel guide. Another neat thing about the channel guide is that Amazon is starting to integrate your other streaming subscriptions into that same guide. So let’s say you subscribe to HBO, Showtime, or STARZ through Amazon Prime channels. You’ll find those subscriptions there too. Amazon also recently added channel guide support for PlayStation Vue, which carries cable-like networks, including ESPN National Geographic… And you can also download the free app Pluto TV, which is sort of a live TV app that aggregates a number of web-based channels. The channel guide allows you to schedule recordings 14 days in advance from today. From the DVR tab, you can schedule recordings and view up to two weeks of programming that’s coming up. If you’re channel surfing and find something you want to watch later you can also begin recording right away. Right now, there’s no way to schedule the DVR when you’re not at home, which is really a bummer because since you already have the mobile app, and mobile app lets you watch some of your recordings when you’re out of the home, you would think this would be just kind of a natural thing that you’d expect to do, but for now until maybe there’s a software update in the future, you can only schedule recordings when you’re at home in front of your TV. One thing I wasn’t really thrilled about was the Recast’s limited ability to skip through commercials. You can fast forward 30 seconds at a time and that’s pretty much it. I think Amazon could learn a thing or two from software hubs like Plex, which is becoming a popular solution for those willing to cobble together their own OTA DVR setup like I do. Plex has a simple one-button skip-commercial feature. The design of the Fire TV Recast isn’t a far cry from competing DVRs made by Tablo or HDHomeRuns, which are made by SiliconDust. The antenna is connected to the TV tuner and then basically the tuner is distributing the TV signal over your Wi-Fi connection. One difference with the Recast is that you don’t need to hardwire the Recast to your router. So you can connect the Recast wirelessly to your home network. Aside from Fire TV devices, you can also use other Amazon products such as Fire tablets and even the Amazon Echo Show to watch your over-the-air television. There are a few non-Amazon devices that are compatible, including Apple iPads, iPhones and Android smart phones and tablets. So the picture quality is very good. It’s 720p. Even for channels that are coming into your home at 1080i — that picture quality will be a minor difference. It might be noticeable to some, but I think for the most part it’s gonna be pretty consistent, or it’s gonna look pretty good to most people. I think one thing that Amazon could definitely improve upon is its mobile app. For months, I’ve been using an HDHomeRun tuner and the software hub Plex. And I watch TV quite a bit on my phone when I’m around the house. I think that Amazon Fire TV app comes off as just a little clunky compared to watching on HDHomeRun or through Plex. One of the problems with scrolling through live TV on the mobile app is that the thumbnails are way too big even on a larger smartphone like mine that has nearly a six inch screen. I can only see what’s on two channels at once without scrolling more. Competitors like HDHomeRun has a sidebar that you can scroll through that lets you see what else is on while you’re actually watching live TV. Even the free streaming service Pluto TV has a more user-friendly channel guide on mobile with a clicker on the side that lets you channel surf. Having said that, this is far from a deal-breaker. I’m very happy with the picture clarity and I didn’t encounter any lag or blips while watching TV on my home network. So if you’re considering, competing models of DVRs for antennas the Tablo Dual comes with a 64 GB hard drive and one advantage that the Tablo has over the new Fire TV Recast is that you can use it on more devices. That includes streaming boxes like Apple TV Mi Box, Nvidia Shield, Xbox One… The list of compatible devices for HDHomeRun tuners is even longer. There’s Windows 10, Xbox One, NVIDIA Shield, Android phones, Apple desktops, laptops, Apple TV… Amazon fire TV Just about every streaming device That’s out there. Another neat thing with HDHomeRun tuners is that you can choose what kind of channel guide or DVR hub that you want to use. SiliconDust offers its own channel guide and DVR service for $35 a year, there’s another thing called the Channels app, which works exceptionally well for Fire TV and Apple TV. I’ve been using Plex for the past year and set it up on my NVIDIA Shield TV so that it functions as my DVR and player. You can read my review on the NVIDIA Shield Pro with PLEX for more on that set up. Plex Pass costs $5 a month. or you can get a lifetime pass for about 149 dollars. Another pretty neat thing with the Fire TV Recast is voice control features. With the Alexa are on the Fire TV or even with an Echo Show, you can control the Fire TV Recast with your voice and quickly get to the program’s you want. You can use your voice to change channel or search for your favorite TV shows or you can tell your Echo to cancel a recording or to show the channel guide. The list of voice commands are only gonna get longer. So is the Fire TV Recast worth a couple hundred dollars to replace your cable TV subscription? I would say for anyone who can get local stations fairly well with an antenna and it’s already all-in with Fire TV and Amazon Echo, the Fire TV Recast is pretty easy to recommend. It’s one of the simplest ways to replace your cable TV box that you’ve had for years with Comcast or Spectrum or any other company. And of course, you’re only going to get live channels that are local like NBC, CBS, and FOX. But with a Fire TV device, there’s a number of live TV streaming services that will get you channels like ESPN and National Geographic. I think Amazon was wise to not include one of its own antennas with the Recast just because you really need to shop around for a decent antenna that’s gonna work. For some people, it’s gonna be an easy to hook up indoor antenna that you can just slap on the wall. For others, you may need a more elaborate setup in your attic or on your roof with a larger outdoor antenna. If you need more help or tips on that, I got you covered. Check out the link below from my months-long study of the best indoor TV antennas. So you can quickly choose what to get. Also on my site, I do have a review for what I think is the best outdoor TV antenna that I’ve ever tested. And check out my written review of the Fire TV Recast. And let me know what you think if you already have the Recast and you’ve been using it for a while. If this video was helpful to you, please consider giving it a thumbs up or sharing it on social media. Please check out my website cordcuttingreport.com. Thanks a lot. See you next time.