Amazon Fire TV Recast takes about 2 Seconds to Change Channels

With over the air tuners, a common concern is how fast the device is able to switch from one channel to another. I’ve already seen the question come up a few times regarding the Amazon Fire TV Recast so I recorded a quick video showing how fast the channels switch. As you can see, channel flipping on the Recast takes about 2 seconds. The channels used in the video were live and unbuffered. The Fire TV Recast was actively recording a different channel while I conducted the test. The video is unedited, so the timing of everything is exactly how it is when using the Fire TV Recast.

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25 comments
  1. clocks says:

    I miss those lightning fast analog channel changing day. So much for progress.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Wow, it blows Tablo away. I fear for Tablo’s future once Amazon opens Recast up to Rokus and Apple TV. Thank you for posting a video.

  3. Eric Evans says:

    Slowish, but tolerable. With modern devices, unlike legacy analog, you know what is playing on the other channel before you initiate the change. If it weren’t for that, then the sluggish speed would indeed be a real issue. No doubt in another few years this pause will be unperceivable as even faster processors are used.

  4. Fred says:

    Thanks Eli, Can you open developer options and post a pick so we can see stats?

  5. Michael says:

    My Tivo Roamio changes channels almost instantly. Other than having all apps in one place, not sure if I would upgrade, especially considering 720p only.
    Why can’t they adjust the resolution on the fly to what you have available for bandwidth? It’s how Tivo does it with streaming Amazon Prime, it starts off at 480, then goes to 720, and up from there. Even my Vizio TV does it all the way up to 4k.

  6. URMyBudE says:

    There appears to be an audio lag in the posted YouTube demo. Is this lag present in the Recast video stream?

  7. Jerry W says:

    That is a faster channel change response than I get from DirecTV. The problems that I am having with FireTV Recast (delivered yesterday 11/14/2018) are twofold.

    1- Buffering whether watching live or recorded. This happens on all devices even the TV that the Recast is sitting on which is also about 2 feet from the router. My phone gets pretty good reception 2 floors up on the far side of the house. Only minor buffering and it his connected to a wireless access point on the second floor that is wired to a switch that connects back to the main router???

    2- I Cannot get it to work with an Ethernet connection to the Recast Box. It tells me that I am not on the same wireless network that my devices are on. The UTP cable plugged into the Recast is connected to the same router that manages the wireless networks. When I remove the UTP cable from the recast everything is OK again.

    My OTA antenna is forty-five feet in the air mounted on a chimney 35 miles from the NYC broadcast towers. I have been using it to drive 4 TVs for 8+ years plus Windows Media Center on my PC without a problem.

    Also, I thought that once the Recast is setup, My wireless network(s) would not be a factor since Recast uses WiFi Direct (P2P) between the Recast and the FireTV devices???

    Right now I am not a happy camper with this device but not ready to throw in the towel. It’s new and I could be very well missing something simple. The documentation that came with the device is, shall I say, a little lacking.

    I hope to get this setup working to my satisfaction because if and when I do, I am dumping DirecTV. I am sick of having to buy a whole cow every month just to enjoy a hamburger.

    PS – I have the 4 tuner model.

    • Eric S says:

      I was going to buy an Orbi mesh router today and try to hook it up to one of the satellites. I’ll let you know how my attempt goes.

      • Jerry W says:

        Thanks, Eric S. I would be quite interested in how you make out with Orbi.

        • Eric says:

          I installed an Orbi mesh network w the Recast plugged into a satellite with Ethernet cable. It seems faster and less lag time but I have no method to objectively check this. My FireTVs (wired and wireless connected) and iPhone all functioned normally w no errors.

    • Mark says:

      Wifi and wired connections have different IP address so all devices need to be either wired or wifi. And u need a better streaming device if using a firestick. In order to have a decent streaming experience your streaming device needs to be wired or u need a nvidia shield tv

  8. Paul Savage says:

    Can you use m3u8 urls or does it have to be a tuner

  9. Hn333 says:

    Two seconds is bad? Looks fast to me.

  10. Roger says:

    What I can’t understand is the logic behind storing in native format and then compressing on the fly when watching. You could have a simple checkbox asking if you want to compress and then delete the original video files during idle processor time. This would increase storage tremendously AND allow for better compression – allowing 1080i output. You could still watch during the progress of the show if you wished, but might have to wait a few minutes just after the show ends for a decent compression job to occur.

    • Fred says:

      Only two tuners can transcode, so this allows four items to be recorded at once

    • Sebastian says:

      What you are describing is Tablo’s solution. They compress on the fly and store files in H264. As a consequence of that switching channels takes a long time (10 sec).

      I think it boils down to the chip that does the transcoding/encoding. Maybe there isn’t anything on the market that can do it both fast, do 4 streams at a time and be cheap enough to put in the box like that so you have to make trade offs.

  11. Nick W says:

    Is anyone else experiencing washed out picture? I have the same model antenna attached to my recast and to my TV, when switching from direct antenna to recast the picture quality is noticibly worse. If I had not had my antenna hooked up to my TV originally and just introduced to over the air over the recast I would probably be happy but being able to compare the two makes it so I can’t likely keep the recast.

    • Paul Savage says:

      hi mate can it take iptv urls? or does it only work with a tuner

    • Donald Van Sandt says:

      I have also noticed a washed out picture. I have tried tweaking the picture settings but the picture quality is still sub par compared to what my Tivo put out. I assume this has a lot to do with no direct video connection to the tv but instead using internet to get the picture to the tv. This is a deal breaker for me having gotten used to the better tivo picture. The Recast is going back…along with the Fire Stick which was required (no problem there as my Roku devices worked just fine).

      • Jerry W says:

        I’m wondering if the washed out problems might be attributable to the Recast using WiFi-Direct on the non wired connections. All my washed out picture issues, occasional buffering problems and occasional pixelation events went away when I switched to hardwired Ethernet connections. I also upgraded my older FireTV devices to the latest 4K sticks with the RJ45 Ethernet adapters. Everything is humming right now so I just canceled my DirectTV subscription (which will pay for all of my new stuff in short order).

        The Recast is supporting 4 TVs at the moment and I’ll probably add 1 to the guest room which already has an Ethernet line to it.

        I was fortunate in that I had wired my house for GigaBit Ethernet a few years back and put 2 port RJ45 wall plates in each of 6 rooms.

  12. Dave says:

    Just replaced tablo with recast, so far it is significantly better. Here is where I see the improvements.

    – Much better integration with fire sticks.

    – much less buffering

    – faster to change channels

    – ability to see what else is on without backing out of current channel

  13. Fred Materre says:

    How to put fire tv recast app on nvidia sheild? What are the steps

    • Sebastian says:

      You can’t at the moment, it only supports Fire devices but who knows with the Amazon carrying Chromecasts now maybe we’ll get to the point where Recast will work with Android TV and YouTube will come back to Fire.

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