Back in August 2022, Amazon confirmed to TechHive that it was discontinuing the Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR:
We are constantly evaluating our product and service offerings to best serve the evolving needs of our customers. Many of the features offered by the Recast are now available through other apps on Fire TV, and we are focusing our efforts and resources on other Fire TV devices and services that provide great value to our customers.Amazon, via TechHive
I thought this was a shame because Recast was a solid broadcast TV DVR that had great integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Despite what Amazon said in their statement, there isn’t really a replacement “app” for what the Recast did, namely, record broadcast TV shows on a local hard drive.
If you own a Recast, here are some things you might want to consider for your next steps.
1. Keep Using It Until It Stops Working
If you want to keep using your Recast, you can for now. Amazon has committed to providing software security updates through at least 2026.
However, that doesn’t mean they’ll diligently keep up with bug fixes maintaining the channel guide. Already there have been some reports of series recording not working on the Recast. Amazon said they were aware of the problem, but users have still reported it being broken.
With the announced layoffs in Amazon’s hardware division, it’s hard to imagine that maintaining an end-of-life hardware product is going to be high priority moving forward.
So, using your Recast until it breaks is indeed an option, but check from time to time to make sure the features you use are indeed still working.
2. Sell It
Right now, used and working Recast devices are pretty hot on eBay. A 500GB 2-tuner model can sell for over $200!
So, if you want to “cash out”, now is the time to do it. If you wait until features (like the channel guide) start breaking, undoubtedly the price will plummet and you might be left with a brick (with a little value, see next item).
I actually sold mine on eBay and got over $200! Unfortunately, it must have gotten damaged during shipping because it was dead on arrival at the purchaser. So, I had to issue a refund and take a loss on the shipping and fees, which was a bummer. But, it wasn’t a total loss, as you will see.
3. Gut It and Re-Purpose the Hard Drive (if your unit isn’t working)
If and when your Recast stops working (like mine), you could gut it for parts, mainly the hard drive if you’re tech-savvy. The Recast uses a 2.5″ 5400RPM Western Digital laptop hard drive rated at 3Gb/s.
Here are some good instructions on how to disassemble a Recast. Basically, peel off the corners of the rubber feet to reveal screws. After unscrewing and removing the cover, probably the hardest part is sliding the inner assembly out of the box. The article tells you where to press to do this. Everything after that is a piece of cake.
From there, you can remove the drive and swap it into an old laptop to give it some new life. Or, much easier, do what I did, which is pop it into a USB caddy (readily available from Amazon – here’s one I recommend) to turn it into a portable USB hard drive. When I plugged the caddy into my Mac, it was able to format it. My Windows machine didn’t immediately recognize the drive, but I bet there is some utility that allows you to format it.
There’s one thing that makes these drives extra special. Western Digital calls them “Digital Video Drives” because they are optimized to capture up to 12 simultaneous HD video streams with low temperature and high reliability.
Given that, these drives are perfect to use with a Tablo, which is what I’m doing, or another DVR like the AirTV 2 that accepts USB hard drives! It works great in both of these DVRs, and I no longer need a separate power supply for my drive, making the whole thing less cluttered. The drive gets power right from the USB port and is really quiet!
It’s kind of fitting that I’m using the hard drive from one DVR as the hard drive for another!
I’m also going to hang onto the power supply and fan in case I can use them for some other project.
More About the Tablo DVR
If you choose to sell your Recast, I’d recommend getting a Tablo to replace it.
I’ve been using Tablo DVRs for years and they’ve worked well for me. They’re easy to use, and you can attach external storage, which makes your storage capacity pretty darn huge. Read my full review of Tablo:
What are you going to do with YOUR Amazon Fire TV Recast? Let me know in the comments. – Brian