Amazon Fire TV Recast now supports external USB Hard Drive Storage Expansion

Amazon’s over-the-air DVR, the Fire TV Recast, launched last year with the promise that the ability to expand its storage capacity through an external hard drive would be added. A software update for the Fire TV Recast is currently rolling out to all devices that adds the new feature. Once the Fire TV Recast updates, customers will be able to store recordings beyond the 500GB and 1TB limits of the internal hard drives in the two available models.

Software update (NS6258/1619) for the Fire TV Recast has been trickling out to devices for about a week. I didn’t write about it until now, despite several of you letting me know about the update throughout last week, because I was waiting to get it myself and for it to be available to more people. The rollout seems to have ramped up today, so most devices should have it already or get it very soon. There is no way to force the update or check for updates, so you’ll just have to be patient. To check through a Fire TV device if your Fire TV recast has received the update, check the Recast’s software version by going to: Settings > Live TV > Live TV Sources > Fire TV Recast > About this Fire TV Recast. You can also check through the Fire TV mobile app by going to: Settings > Fire TV Recast > About.

Once the Fire TV Recast receives the software update, a new “Add External Storage” option will appear in the Recast’s settings menu on your Fire TV’s Live TV options screen. Selecting the option simply instructs you to connect an external hard drive to the Fire TV Recast’s USB port. Once you connect a drive, a message automatically appears on your Fire TV informing you that the drive will be formatted and all existing data will be erased.

Amazon currently lists 3 external hard drive models as tested and recommended for use with the Fire TV Recast. One is the WD Elements Portable drive, the other is the Toshiba Canvio Desktop drive, and the last is a Seagate Fast SSD drive. These certainly aren’t the only drives that will work. The variety of recommended drives, which include a 2.5″ drive, a 3.5″ drive, and an SSD, is a good sign that most external drives should work fine with the Fire TV Recast.

With an external hard drive connected to the Fire TV Recast, the total available storage space, which includes both the internal and external drives, will be displayed when accessing the “DVR Storage” menu option in the Fire TV’s settings area. In the image above, I’ve added a 1TB external hard drive to my 1TB Fire TV Recast. This results in 1.91 TB listed as available for recordings, since a small amount of space is used for managing the file system.

Just as was discovered with the internal drive, the Fire TV Recast formats the external hard drive using the ext4 file system. This means that you’ll need additional software to access the recording files on the drive if you connect it to a Mac or PC, since ext4 is a Linux file system. The Fire TV Recast gives you no control over where, either internal or external, a recording will be stored. It also does not indicate where a particular recording is currently stored or even how much of each drive is free. The external hard drive is simply treated as an extension of the available space and the Fire TV Recast takes care of all decisions regarding when to use internal or external storage.

From the average customer’s perspective, this is ideal, since you don’t have to keep track of which drive is full or manage where recordings are stored. However, from an power-user’s perspective who wants to pull recordings off of their Fire TV Recast for storage elsewhere, the lack of control over where a recording is stored makes it very difficult to force a recording onto the more easily accessible external drive. The only way to ensure recordings get stored on the external drive would be to fill the internal drive with recordings that are marked as protected so that they never get deleted. That way, the Fire TV Recast will have no choice but to use the external drive for all future recordings.

  1. tech3475 says:

    I wonder if perhaps you can add a dummy file to the internal storage to force external storage after plugging into a computer?

    There are some potential caveats to this though e.g. caching.

    Thinking about it, I wonder if the Recast may also move stuff around i.e. an internal recording may be moved to external storage?

    • AFTVnews says:

      If you didn’t care about sacrificing all of your internal storage, I’m sure you could add any large file to the internal drive, using a PC, to eat up all the space. It would be easier to just record content that is flagged to never be deleted and then connect the external drive after the internal one is full. I dought the Recast moves recordings around. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to do so.

      • tech3475 says:

        The main reason why I was wondering that was because if they want to just use internal storage for recording, as opposed to recording straight to the external.

        It’s unlikely but I didn’t think it was impossible.

  2. Will says:

    Finally I can use my Recast again. Yay!

  3. Eric says:

    HD size limit?

  4. Rich says:

    It’s a pity the external drive couldn’t be used for apps like Kodi to access. Maybe a future update?

    • Pfirsich says:

      It is interesting to note KODI is an app loaded to your Fire TV stick. It would not utilize the Fire TV Recast storage options. However, you can extend the storage capacity of your fire TV stick stock storage by adding a thumb drive. There are instructions all over to help do this, even on YouTube. KODI would use that external drive attached to the Fire TV stick.

  5. shwru980r says:

    If one of the two drives fails, do you lose all recordings?

    • AFTVnews says:

      If the external drive fails or gets disconnected, the recordings on the internal drive are not lost. You only lose what was on the external drive. I don’t know what happens if the internal drive fails.

  6. Alfredo says:

    Hello Elias how are you? Just have a question does the Fire Tv Recast has the capability to do sideload loading using ADB Debugging. Thanks in advance.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I’m not fully sure what you’re asking, but it’s not possible to connect to the Recast itself using ADB. Even if you could connect to it using ADB, I don’t understand why you’d want to sideload apps onto it since there would be no way to access those apps, since the Recast has no display.

      • Alfredo says:

        I thought this box was similar to a fire tv box,excuse my ignorance but I am not to tecky, but thanks for your response, and when and if your are bringing back your YouTube show so we can learn from you. God Bless you and your family.

  7. D.O.S says:

    Just put a seagate 8gb disk and worked right away!

  8. Jay says:

    I have an older WD My Passport Ultra hard drive I added. Recast recognized the drive but wouldn’t format it at first. After restarting Recast from the menu, with the drive left plugged into the usb port, Recast then allowed me to format the drive. Nice!

  9. James says:

    Just tried several times to connect a WD Element 4TB drive, which several people on Amazon website said it worked for them with no luck. The drive never comes on and the Recast does even notice it is there. Any ideas? I followed your instructions

    • Kcinme says:

      Not sure if this will work but possibly reformat the drive on a computer first so the recast file system recognizes the drive to exFAT rather than NTFS..? I know that was an issue I was having with my PS4.

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