Amazon is reportedly working on a new device that will record live television and stream those recordings to Fire TVs and smartphones, according to a person familiar with the plans that has spoken with Bloomberg. The project is codenamed “Frank” inside Amazon and is said to be a DVR with its own physical storage.
The Frank DVR is said to “connect to Amazon’s existing Fire TV boxes.” That could simply mean that Fire TV devices can connect to it over the network to watch recorded videos or it could mean that the DVR must be physically connected to a Fire TV to work. I would guess it’s the first scenario, since that’s how devices like the Tablo and HDHomeRun work, but the leak does not specify.
What is also not specified is the source of the recorded content. The leak states that the DVR “records live TV” but does not mention how the video enters the DVR device. It is unknown if the DVR uses a built-in TV tuner, relies on an external networked TV tuner, uses a cable card, or some other means of acquiring its video feed.
Earlier this year, I predicted that Amazon would release a networked OTA TV Tuner with built-in DVR. They already have a great unified experience with their Fire TV Edition televisions that very nicely blends together OTA content with streaming content. They just need a device that will allow them to bring that experience to Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners and this leaked Frank DVR sounds exactly like the device to do it.
A possible release date for the Frank DVR was not revealed. The person familiar with the plans indicated that it’s not guaranteed to be released at all and that it “could either be canceled or delayed.”