Hardware overview of the Amazon Fire TV Recast network tuner and DVR

The Amazon Fire TV Recast has been released today. The star of the show with Amazon’s new networked tuner and over-the-air DVR is its software, which I’ll be diving into in multiple upcoming articles. Before that, though, here’s an overview of the hardware itself.

The size of the Fire TV Recast might surprise some of you who have gotten used to streaming devices being slim and sleek. It’s square footprint is just over 7 inches in both directions and it sits just under 3 inches high. In the image above, you can see how it dwarfs the Fire TV Stick 4K and new Alexa Voice Remote. The entire body is a matte plastic, so it hides fingerprints and dust pretty well, not that you’d be touching it too often. Since the Fire TV Recast is a networked tuner, which doesn’t need to be physically connected to your TV or Fire TV devices, it can be hidden away anywhere in your house if you don’t want it visible.

The entire front face and most of the back side of the Fire TV Recast is covered in perforated holes that expose the innards to air. The sides, top, and bottom are completely sealed. You shouldn’t have any issues placing something on top of the device or butted up against the sides, but you should keep the front and back clear for heat ventilation.

The Fire TV Recast is pretty much dead silent, even while recording, until you literally place your ear right up to it. At that point, you can hear a very faint hum, which I assume is either the hard drive, a fan, or both. I don’t know if there actually is a fan inside, but I do plan to eventually crack mine open in the near future, so stay tuned for that. I’m guessing the hard drive inside is a 2.5 inch laptop drive, because the Fire TV Recast feels too light to have a full-sized 3.5 inch drive, but I could be mistaken.

A single LED light shines out from behind one of the holes on the front of the Fire TV Recast. Since it’s recessed, it’s fairly faint and is only bright when you look straight at it. The light is white and always on while the Fire TV Recast is powered up. It turns red when the Fire TV Recast is recording anything. It’s also used for other status indicators, such as pulsing white while the device is initially being set up.

The back of the Fire TV Recast houses all the ports and a “Connect” button. I never had to actually push the connect button while setting up the device, so I assume it’s for reconnecting the device to a different network after it has already been set up. On the far left is the Antenna cox connector. The Fire TV Recast does not come with an antenna, unless you buy the bundle that includes an antenna and Fire TV Stick 4K. To the right of the connect button is a USB port that will eventually support external expandable storage, but it doesn’t do anything at the moment. Next to that is a gigabit Ethernet port which is optional because the device has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi. Last is the power port.

The Fire TV Recast uses a power adapter that is quite large. It’s rated at 12 volts, 4.16 amps, and 50 watts, so you’re certainly not going to be powering this thing off of your TV’s USB port. It’s a bit surprising that the power adapter is not made by Amazon, and is instead a LiteOn PA-1500-5AZ3 adapter. The “AMAZON” in the barcode does seem to imply these were made specifically for Amazon and aren’t just an off-the-shelf part.

That’s all there is to the physical Fire TV Recast. It’s an unassuming box that seems to be made to keep itself cool while being tucked away where its attached antenna will get the best reception. It’s shipping now in a 500GB model with 2-tuners for $229.99 and a 1TB model with 4-tuners for $279.99. Stay tuned for much more about how well it works and what it can do.

  1. Dave Zatz says:

    If it records as MPEG2 but streams as MPEG4, you may not really hear a fan crank up (if there is one) until you’re transcoding and streaming – perhaps multiple streams at a time. If it transcodes as it records, same deal – more streams at a time would be more computationally intensive and might require ventilation. However newer chips and better thermal hardware designs could also reduce or remove that issue – that that one HDHomeRun you could send back in for a heatsink enclosure.

    • hdmkv says:

      Hopefully someone figures out a way to pull the mpeg2 streams to a computer.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Good suggestion Dave. I streamed 2 different live channels to 2 different devices while recording a 3rd channel and didn’t notice any increase in noise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the fan, if there is one, is meant to cool the tuner instead of the chips. We’ll see when I crack it open later.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Looking forward to your review of it. I’m already on Plex DVR which is enough for what I am getting from OTA but it doesn’t hurt to have more options to recommend to others.

  3. Scott Lewis says:

    Yikes! That’s a first generation looking product. ;) Between the external power brick, and the large size. Yeah, it’s probably a 2.5″ drive given the capacity, and presumably the desire to run cool and draw small amounts of power.

    I have to say I just left the Amazon ecosystem for a combination of Apple TV 4’s (had a couple) and Rokus (Roku smart TV plus a couple of streaming sticks) solely over the YouTube situation. As cordcutters, we’ve tried Sling, DTTN, Vue, Hulu Live and YouTube TV. I find that due to our reliance on DVR, plus the general channel selection, Hulu and YTTV were the winners, but YTTV is way more affordable. So, alas, we have two FireTV Cubes and two FireTV 3’s going on eBay.

    • Steve Siemen says:

      It’s Amazon yo. The first generation product is superior to any crank other tech companies put out. Don’t sweat it. Also the technology is not all the far reaching. Just a TV tuner, processor, hard drive all running on android. It’s not invention but an innovation or combining current technologies.

      • Scott Lewis says:

        I’m quite sure it works fine. It’s just ugly, and a disappointment therefore. They’ve done a great job with the stick, the dongle, the Cube, and then the new stick in making tech that’s either hidden completely behind your TV, or reasonably attractive looking. This thing doesn’t belong in my Family Room.

        • Sebastian says:

          I think you are missing the point here. It’s a networked DVR which gives you an ability to place it anywhere. I myself couldn’t care less how it looks as long as it doesn’t make too much noise.

          My main problem is that they didn’t open it up to Roku’s but hopefully in the near future.

        • Michael Schnebly says:

          You know that you can hide this too right?

        • Eric Evans says:

          No it doesn’t belong in a family room and people shouldn’t be putting it there.

          These types of devices (ex. homerunHD) I locate in my network closet with the file server, cable modem, 24 port switch, firewall router, etc. I could care less what it looks like, but do consider the size. This is small enough not to be a concern. Noise also isn’t much of a concern within reason.

          • Scott Lewis says:

            Yeah. Mea culpa for not realizing it didn’t need to be direct connected to the Fire TV. That said, I can have a network closet or a wife. But not both.

  4. Steve Siemen says:

    It’s Amazon yo. The first generation product is superior to any crank other tech companies put out. Don’t sweat it. Also the technology is not all the far reaching. Just a TV tuner, processor, hard drive all running on android. It’s not invention but an innovation or combining current technologies.

  5. Carter S. Johnson says:

    What (if any) is the experience like on the Prime app on Roku and AppleTVs?

    • AFTVnews says:

      You can’t access the content through Roku or Apple TV. It’s only available through smartphones, tablets, Fire TVs, and Echo Shows. Amazon will likely add support for Roku and Apple TV in the future.

  6. Erin says:

    Off-topic, but QVC has two 2nd Gen Echos for $99 today, which beats the Black Friday price. Wanted to give you a heads up!

  7. Fred says:

    Nice to see it has wireless AC and Ethernet. Happy with my Hdhomerun, but this looks promising. Say goodbye to Tablo

  8. Adam O'Donnell says:

    I’ve been using and HDHOMERUN for a few years now, but the reception isn’t smooth for all of the networks and NBC doesn’t come in at all anymore. Wonder if Amazon has done anything to the software or tuners to help with this at all? If so I’d pick one of these up to try. Otherwise I’ll be spending some of my holiday break troubleshooting my antenna set up. :)

    • BobR says:

      Is your antenna powered? I have a 4 port Channel Master distribution amplifier on my simple antenna in the attic to split and power the signal for 3 TVs and an AVR. I pull in over 100 local stations vs. <50 without it. They run ~$30 however.

  9. kngoworld says:

    Do we forecast this getting a Black Friday deal or is it too close to launch?

    • Adam O'Donnell says:

      The bundle that includes the 4k stick and HD antenna is pretty sweet. It basically gives you an antenna and 4k stick for like $15-20.

      • kngoworld says:

        I have so many fire devices as it is, along with a couple antennas, my wife will not be happy if I get more. This actually works at condensing a few paraphernalia that I might be able to get away with it.
        Just looking to purchase the recast alone with a discount.

  10. Eric Young says:

    If/when this accepts a CableCard.. I am in. Until then, I think I need to stick with my HDHomeRun

  11. Josh E. says:

    Cnet is reporting the 500gb will be discounted $50($180) and the 1tb will be discounted $60($220).

  12. Mary says:

    Does anyone have a Recast that has their guide say “Program information Currently Unavailable”. I have gotten this a LOT on chnl four particularly. I want to series record the “Dr. OZ” show but without being able to see it on the guide I cannot do so…any suggestions??

  13. Tanya Burton says:

    I’m mostly impressed with my new Amazon Fire TV recast. It is small, quiet, can be placed anywhere for better reception and provides a TV guide. The only issue I have had is that I bought the 4 tuner, 1 Gig version, but it will not record 4 shows at once. It won’t even let me set it to try to record 4 shows. I guess it assumes that I will also be trying to watch tv at the same time (which I wasn’t going to). It also will not record three shows while I watch a different channel. I’m very disappointed in this part of the DVR. I should have gotten the 2 tuner version.
    Do you think this is a defective unit?

  14. allegator says:

    This thing’s been out for over 3 months and I can’t find even one teardown. Would love to see the internals..

  15. Scott Gordy says:

    Has anyone experienced the power adapter getting very hot and smoking? This happened to me last night. I am very concerned that it woudl have started a fire. Any suggestion?

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