Amazon Fire TV Recast power usage while Idle, Recording, and Streaming

A reader asked me to test the Amazon Fire TV Recast’s power usage, so I pulled out the trusty Kill A Watt meter and ran a few tests. Even though the included power supply is capable of outputting 50 watts of power, I found that the Fire TV Recast used between 9 to 15 watts of power, depending on what it was doing a the time. Here’s what that means to your wallet and some more detailed figures.

At idle, without anything being recorded or streamed, the Fire TV Recast was using about 9 to 10 watts of power. This was right after a fresh restart of the device. None of my Fire TVs were interacting with the Recast, nor were any channels being recorded. I have the 1 TB 4-tuner model, which is what I used for these readings.

For every tuner being used, whether it was to watch a live channel or to record a channel, the power usage increased by about 1 watt. Power consumption is the same whether you’re watching a live channel or recording a channel because, in both instances, a recording is taking place, since the Fire TV Recast maintains a buffer of anything you’re watching live so that you can rewind at any time.

With 4 different channels being recorded at the same time, the Fire TV Recast was using between 13 and 14 watts of power. It didn’t seem to make a difference if the channels being recorded were also actively being watched live by a Fire TV device.

While 4 channels were being recorded, I then started watching 2 different recorded videos using 2 difference Fire TVs, all simultaneously. This is the most activity the Fire TV Recast is able to achieve, since only 2 devices can be watching content at once, regardless of how many tuners are present. At this maximum load, the Fire TV Recast was consuming between 14 to 15 watts of power. The Kill A Watt meter would display 16 watts every so often for a split second, but the power usage never actually stayed at 16 watts.

If the Fire TV Recast sits idle for 20 hours a day at 10 watts of power consumption and is at maximum load for the other 4 hours at 15 watts of power consumption, that means it consumes 0.26 Kilowatt-hours of power per day. At the national US average of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, that comes to a power consumption cost of just under $1 per month or $11.39 per year.

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11 comments
  1. Inirons says:

    Great info…
    I am hoping to shut down PC server and use this and plex on nvidia shield.

    • MikeH says:

      Inirons, could you share any details (or a link) on using this as a Plex server? Thanks.

      • Len Mullen says:

        Inirons uses the shield as his Plex server.

      • Inirons says:

        Hi Mike,

        Len knows my setup and he is correct, my Nvidia Shield is my Plex Server

        I have two hdhomerun tuners, a prime (cable card) and a connect (OTA on antenna). On the Nvidia I run Plex Server and a Plex client (two separate executables). I store my recorded movies and tv shows from plex live tv on an attached USB drive to the nvidia and my bluray and DVD rips are stored separately in 720p in mp4 format on a WD Mycloud NAS.

        If you wish to record locally off the nvidia shield (using hdhomerun tuners) and dont need to share that programming elsewhere you can attach usb drive to the nvidia shield and run Google Live Channels which I find to be pretty good user interface and easy setup. The recorded content off google live channels cannot be shared or copied.

        Let me know if you have any further questions

        Oh and BTW, I did purchase Amazon Recast today! I am replacing an older model Tivo HD with lifetime subscription with the recast

  2. Charlie says:

    Looks like you are building a nice collection of boxes and cubes :-)

  3. Len Mullen says:

    Thank you! Great information (as opposed to the speculation in the Tablo comparison).

  4. Ray says:

    Thorough reporting, as usual Elias. You seem to quickly be becoming the expert on this device.

    I’m just so bummed it’s limited to 720p. That one detail is keeping me from pulling the trigger. Hopefully they’ll release the next iteration — an HD version — before too long. I’m tired of paying TiVo $15 a month for the dang guide.

    • PurplePecker says:

      You realize that broadcast TV in the US is max 1080i or 720p, both of which are called “HD”. Difference between 1080i and 720p upscales to 1080 on target are hard to notice.

      1080p does not exist for OTA in the US.

      • Michael says:

        1080i translates as a perfect pixel to pixel upscale, while 720 is noticeable in quality difference as the pixels don’t multiply pixel to pixel. I’m also waiting on a 1080 model. Why would I go backwards 15 years or more in resolution?
        For Tivo, I have a Roamio OTA which was $299 a few years back. has lifetime service. I recommend them as they hold their value on Ebay as well.
        So if Amazon would get into the 21st century and do 1080 I may consider switching. Also Tivo instantly changes channels, and has a 0-100 scale for getting signal strength, with me being right on the edge of a few stations it was very helpful in fine tuning.

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