Amazon is working on commercial skipping and content discovery for the Fire TV Recast

The Amazon Fire TV Recast over-the-air DVR won’t be out for over a month, but Amazon is already working on adding improvements to the device beyond what it will be capable of doing when it’s released. We already know that support for external USB storage will be added to the device soon after it’s released. Now it sounds like Amazon is at least considering adding advanced ad-skipping capabilities that will automatically skip TV commercials. They’re also working on ways to simplify the discovery of over-the-air content.

Variety’s Janko Roettgers was invited by Amazon for a closer look at the Fire TV Recast and has published an article with his impressions that you should definitely check out if you’re curious about the DVR. Roettgers says that Fire TV devices on the same network as the Fire TV Recast will automatically recognize that the DVR has been added and will add relevant interfaces, such as an “On Now” row to the home screen for live programming and a new “DVR” menu to the navigation menu at the top of the Fire TV interface.

Amazon has said that they are considering adding “advanced ad skipping” to the Fire TV Recast. As Roettgers points out, this is a feature that competitors like Tivo and Plex already offer with their DVR services. If added, this will presumably allow customers to skip commercials in recordings either automatically or with a single click. Roettgers says that, for now, you can press the forward button on the Fire TV remote to skip ahead 30 seconds at a time to quickly jump past commercials, but it’s entirely a manual process.

Something else Amazon has said is that they’re working to “simplify discovery of over-the-air content with future software updates.” Apart from the channel program guide and searching, it sounds like there won’t be ways to filter over-the-air content by type or genre at launch. The ability to, for example, browse only movies or only sports programming will likely be added after the Fire TV Recast is released.

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17 comments
  1. clocks says:

    I have tried using an antennae for local broadcasts prior, but don’t get good reception where my tvs are. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like with this device I can set it up in the corner of my house (along with an antenna) where I get the best reception. Then it will communicate wirelessly with my TVs via the connected FTVs? If that is true, then I can actually see me picking one of these up, maybe during a sale. Not sure I watch enough live TV to justify it at the regular price.

    • Jon says:

      You are correct, but I would move my Antenna to the location first and make sure that all you need is a different location. Get a longer cable for your antenna and move it to the attic or where ever and check to make sure it works.

      Dont get me wrong, these sort of devices are awesome, but if you are purchasing it only for better reception your money would probably be better spent on a decent exterior antenna. You can pick up one fairly cheap and they are easy to mount. I went from picking up a few channels with my rabbit ears to a few dozen by mounting a $40 antenna to the side of my house.

    • Ben says:

      Exactly. You can even put this up in your attic, if that’s where your antenna gets it’s best location. They are pulling a trick from the Tablo repertoire.

  2. tampa8 says:

    Yes that is how it works. There are other OTA devices that work in the same manor though would not be used with a Fire TV device such as a Tablo or the Air TV player,

  3. ATSC 3.0 is on the horizon. Any word on if this will support the new standard on release or possibly with an update?

    I also imagine the device will spend more time on sale then it will at the initial price.

    • Len Mullen says:

      ATSC 3.0 will require new tuners, so no. BUT, it’s a distant horizon and ATSC 1.0 will be around for a long time after ATSC 3.0 arrives. Ideally, Amazon lifts the one device per account restriction and seamlessly integrates both boxes into their app’s guide.

  4. Len Mullen says:

    External storage is a big deal. Amazon needs to announce a Roku app, remove the ‘one Recast per account’ restriction, and promulgate a privacy policy that respects its customers.

  5. James Updike says:

    The thing I like about my plex dvr is that the folks are saved in a drm, non proprietary format that i can do whatever I want with. With external storage that’s a good step in the right ejection for amazon, but the complete freedom of the plex dvr (no limit on streams, or users, or what I can do with my files, or anything) make it the more attractive option to me.

  6. tom42 says:

    They will start streaming the same way silicon Dust is with the hdhomerun

  7. Bob says:

    ReplayTV had commercial skip, didn’t work out so well for them. Everyone was suing them. I loved that ReplayTV.

    • Frank says:

      Tivo and Plex have it. Please actually cuts the commercials out automatically in post-processing. I think Amazon will be fine.

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