Amazon Fire TV Recast works without an Internet Connection

After coming across a comment incorrectly stating that the Amazon Fire TV Recast needs an internet connection to work, I realized that this is an aspect of Amazon’s over-the-air DVR that I’ve never covered. A great advantage of getting content through an HD antenna is that it works offline. Thankfully, the Fire TV Recast works in mostly the same way. You can still watch live channels and even your stored recordings if you’ve lost access to the internet, but there are a few limitations to using the Recast offline.

First and foremost, I’m not saying that the Fire TV Recast can be used as a strictly offline device. I haven’t explicitly verified this, but I assume that you cannot set up a Fire TV Recast from scratch without an internet connection. I’m just showing that if you lose internet access, after you’ve got the Recast up and running as it’s normally intended to be used with an internet connection, the device is designed to be mostly functional while temporarily offline.

While a Fire TV can technically be used offline by launching apps from the Settings menu, it’s really meant to be an online-only device. This is evident by the fact that the entire Fire TV interface gets hidden when it goes offline, apart from a message on the home screen and access to the settings screen. If you have a Fire TV Recast, you might be surprised to learn that the DVR menu at the top of the Fire TV interface remains available if your Fire TV loses internet access. Remember, we’re talking about internet access and not network access. Your home network must still be functioning for your Fire TV devices to access the Fire TV Recast. This essentially means your modem can get disconnected from the internet, but not your devices need to remain connected to your router. If your modem and router are a single device from your ISP, your home network will likely still stay up if your internet access goes down.

What this all means is if your internet access goes down and you can no longer stream content from Prime Video, Netflix, or wherever, you will still be able to watch all of your local channels through the Fire TV Recast. You will also still be able to access all of the recorded content that sits on your Fire TV Recast’s internal drive or external drive. This is great to keep you entertained when you’ve got internet issues, but also serves as a way to watch local news broadcasts in the event of an emergency that affects your internet access.

When the Fire TV Recast is used offline, most of the images that make up the interface will be unavailable. Some images that are cached locally on the Fire TV will appear, but most thumbnails and graphics will be missing. Recordings will still have episode labels and info, so you will still be able to differentiate between files, but it’s generally a more simplified interface. Program guide data will also remain available while offline, since that too is cached locally on the device. Of course, at some point, the Recast will need to get back online to get newer guide data.

I haven’t experimented to test how much of the Fire TV Recast options are still available while being used offline, such as setting new recordings. It’s probably best to not make too many administrative changes to the Recast while offline and just use it as a simple source of content until your internet access is restored. If you’re looking for an OTA product to use mostly offline, the Fire TV Recast is certainly not your best option, but for occasional internet outages, the Fire TV Recast is a great device to keep you entertained until you’re back online.

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3 comments
  1. Justin Seine says:

    One of my motives for buying the Recast was to use it as a means to watch previously recorded TV in a remote location that has no OTA TV reception by bringing the Recast and a Fire Stick to that location. I got it to work BUT – I had to take an old router and connect it to the Recast and the Fire Stick via router LAN Ports with nothing plugged into the WAN port.

    The big problem I encountered was that if an episode was scheduled to record but couldn’t because I did not have TV reception all the previously recorded episodes of that same show could not be accessed. There would be a empty box showing as a place holder for the episode that couldn’t be recorded and it would not let me get to any other episode that had already been recorded. Once I got back home and hooked up the Recast to an antenna and the internet all the prerecorded shows I couldn’t get to became available again.

    I suspect that I can solve that problem by cancelling all the shows scheduled to be recorded before I disconnect the box to take to my remote location, but that would be a pain in that I would have to reschedule each recording when I returned home.

    I also connected a second Fire Stick to the dummy router that was on a TV on the opposite side of the house and that too was able to play prerecorded content at the same time.

    The other downside is that while I am away I can’t record any of the shows that I would be recording if I was home. I suppose I could buy another Recast and swap them in and out or just switch hard drives in the 2 Recast devices, but that too would be a pain.

    Sometimes I spend weeks at a time in the remote location and would certainly like to be able to bring per-recorded content with me without having to jump through hoops. I would think that others in my situation and RV’ers would also see a benefit to this.

    Are you listening Amazon???

  2. tampa8 says:

    Not needing the internet could be important during a power/internet outage if you have a generator.

  3. Allegator says:

    Last night I discovered the hard way that if Amazon freezes your account for whatever reason, Recast and Echo devices will interpret the frozen account as a factory reset – and when the account is restored will go through their initial setup routine; the DVR menu choice gone and all previous recordings lost.

    In my case, the account was frozen due to fraudulent activity 2 weeks prior when my account was hacked. My Echo Dot suddenly started flashing and informed me that there was no WiFi connection. When I checked my email I found a note from Amazon entitled “Your Amazon.com account: On hold for disputed transactions.”

    “Hello,

    We are writing to let you know that we have put your account on hold because your card issuer has disputed one or more transactions that you have made. As a result of the dispute, your card issuer has withdrawn the funds and we have not been paid for this order. Your account will remain on hold until we receive this payment.”

    I got the account restored a few hours later, along with apologies – but all recordings since late last year are gone for good.

    Caveat Emptor.

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