During the scramble to cover the myriad of different devices that Amazon announced last week, one detail about the Fire TV Recast that slipped past me is that Amazon has officially confirmed that they will be adding support for external storage to the DVR soon after it is released. This will allow customers to use the USB port on the back of the device to store even more content than the internal drive can hold.
The Fire TV Recast comes with either 500GB or 1TB of internal storage, depending on whether you select the 2-tuner model or the 4-tuner model. Amazon says that 150 hours of recorded content will fit on the 1TB model. If that doesn’t sound like enough room, or if you purchase the lower capacity model and decide you need more space, you’ll be able to easily expand the device’s storage capacity by connecting an external USB hard drive.
With 8TB external drives costing around $150 right now, that would add about 1,200 hours of recording capacity to the Fire TV Recast. If you’re confident that you won’t ever need to watch or record more than 2 programs simultaneously but are considering the 4-tuner model for its larger internal storage, you might want to consider buying the 2-tuner model instead and using the $50 you saved to buy a 2TB external drive when external storage support is added, resulting in over twice the storage of the 4-tuner model.
Support for external hard drives might also make offloading recorded content from the Fire TV Recast possible or easier. As mentioned in my article about the DVR’s video specs, Amazon’s official stance is that customers cannot transfer recorded content off of the Fire TV Recast, but many existing DVRs make the same statement yet it’s easy to pull files off of them, so I’m confident the same will be true for the Fire TV Recast. The device stores video as raw unprotected MPEG-2 files, so it will hopefully be possible to pull those files off of the external hard drive and convert them to something like h.264 or h.265 encoded MKV files to achieve more space efficient long-term storage.