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.