Recast DVR: Digital Media Developer Weighs In

Long-time digital media developer Jon Maddox, who you may know as half the team behind the stellar Channels app and DVR software that maximizes HDHomeRun network tuner hardware, weighs in on the Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR competition:

15 thoughts on “Recast DVR: Digital Media Developer Weighs In”

  1. If it’s anything like the Channel Master dvr’s, it’ll take at least 4 firmware’s before it’ll even work close to what was promised at launch.

    At that point, it would then be discontinued for the next generation…

  2. I’ve been a TiVo customer since 2000. I love my TiVo boxes.

    However, if Apple came up with a new version of the Apple TV with this kind of OTA DVR functionality built in, it might just be the one thing I could think of to get me to move on from TiVo.

  3. Joe Siegler: If all you’re after is this experience on your Apple TV, then check out

    It’s not “built in” to the Apple TV, but you wouldn’t want the DVR capability built into every Apple TV in your house anyways. Ideally, you’d have a centralized DVR that feeds all your boxes in your house, which is exactly how Channels works.

  4. Just confirms that these sort of network-attached OTA/DVR solutions are not an acceptable replacement for a TiVo or native DVR attached to your TV.

    Why the hell didn’t they just make it an OTA fire TV that connects directly to your TV? Stupid.

    The $300 all-in roamio was some of the best money spent.

  5. Jon: Basically, what I want is TiVo/Recast functionality built into the Apple TV and merged into the interface. I’m quite content to stay with my TiVo for OTA stuff. It’s worked great, and I still love the device.

    Just saying if Apple baked in some integration for the Apple TV like Recast has now with Fire, I’d consider switching platforms after almost 20 years.

  6. I haven’t played with this, but it sounds like the Recast shows potential, but it’s still very much a 1.0 product.

    I remember seeing that Amazon had considered putting in an option to sling full MPEG2 non-transcoded video around for people with solid networks, but decided against it to keep thing simpler.

    I hope they revisit that in a software update. I’d like to see somebody else get to TiVo’s level on video quality & trick play.

  7. Bryan, all-in Roamio OTA is a good deal mathematically if you only intend to watch on that single TV. If you want to watch on additional TVs or mobile, you need to invest more money which changes the valuation.

    Both Channels with HDHomeRun and Tablo are solid options, certainly superior to Amazon’s first cut. As Mike implied, I assume a number of updates will be released that improve the experience. For me, it’s DOA – there’s no way I’m putting Fire TV at every television. Like Jon, Amazon’s UI offends me. It’s too bad given the power and price…

  8. As I posted on TCF earlier, Apple should throw some pocket change at Maddox and his partner over at Channels and buy them out or aquihire those two guys. Then fold their functionality for live and DVR OTA TV into Apple’s own TV app, which will soon also be home to Apple’s original TV content plus various add-on subscriptions (much like Amazon Channels) for HBO, Showtime, etc. Like Joe Siegler, I want to see ALL my viewing sources get integrated into Apple TV’s native UI, including OTA TV. Probably just a pipe dream, though, because I imagine Apple sees antenna-based TV as a crappy holdover from the 20th century (which it kind of is, if I’m being honest).

  9. I ditched my Bolt + minis for Plex DVR and Rokus (which I already had anyway). I haven’t looked back once. Auto Comskip is heaven. I had a Tivo since one of the early Philips units.

  10. 1. Putting a Fire TV Stick “at every TV” is far far far far far less expensive than adding just ONE Mini Vox.

    2. Amazon’s UI is offesive? I ‘ve heard far more people finding TiVo’s Hydra and its earlier Discovery Bar UI greatly offensive for a much longer time, and with more vitriol. Clearly the Fire TV UI is responsible for Fire TV’s massive failure.

    3. Mr. Maddox as a source of commentary as presented here is predictably from someone who will always find himself in the awkward position of defense who can only offer faint praise of a product he can’t help but feel is a “competitor” to his own endeavor while indirectly elevating his own efforts awaiting those to disseminate such remarks creating unwitting mouthpieces along the way. We wouldn’t expect Jeff Bezos to offer any better remarks if he were to assess Channels App/HDHomeRun et al.

    4. Let’s stick to cost comparisons of TiVo’s state of the art products, not DVR’s no longer offered nor the limited left overs that may exist in the Outlet section: one TiVo Bolt VOX OTA with All-in Plan full price is $500 (minus a few pennies) plus one Mini VOX at $180 (minus a penny) comes to a grand total of nearly $700.

    One Fire TV Recast at $280, with no additional fees, plus one Fire TV Stick at $40 (if one does not already have a Fire TV–and a great many do) comes to a grand total of $320 an all with no fees at all, unlike the competeting prodects. Considering how popular the old Channel Master DVR’s were embraced by people who were well are of TiVo’s technical and operational superiority, do we really think the cost averse cord shavers, especially the older crowd, are going to choose a TiVo over Fire TV Recast, and a great many already have an Amazon Echo and/or already have a relationship with Amazon, and Recast TV’s competition have never appealed to the less tech savvy and older crowd.

    Let’s say the Recast TV is utimately inferior (as the Channel Master DVR was inferior to TiVo), Amazon has the brand and existing relationships with consumers that already make their Fire TV line poised to take over Roku, if not just the costly oddity of the Roku OS as the years go by. For all the right or wrong reasons, Recast is likely to be the most successful competitor to Tablo, HDHomeRun, et al.

  11. The new TiVo UI is ghastly as well. I agree.

    Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m a fan first. I’ve spent 15 years between TiVos, XBMC (on Xbox 1s), Boxees, MythTVs, WMC, every streaming box under the sun, you name it. I even wrote my own media center for local content that I use to this day. That includes reading Dave’s site that whole time! Heh.

    It’s totally fair to think I’m biased,, and maybe I am some, but I have a true appreciation of the 10 foot interface ,navigating it ,and what expectations people should have in it. That’s why I helped write Channels! :)

  12. Harry, I know Jon and he’s a straight shooter. I value, trust his opinions in this space – which is why I chose to share them. For context, Channels is a side project built out of love.

    Regarding the Fire TV interface, I’m not claiming it inhibits sales or expecting others to agree with me. I’m speaking for myself that I don’t enjoy it and would much rather navigate a Roku or Apple TV (and own variants of all three). Visually, Hydra doesn’t bother me much – but the extra clicks to perform certain actions and missing functionality do bother me, which is why I don’t run it on our Roamio and Minis.

    In general, my household has less use for DVRs these days. My TiVo ecosystem is largely a library of Nick Jr and Disney Jr content, whereas most of our adult viewing needs are met via Netflix, Prime, and ad-free Hulu.

  13. What we really need is for all of the streaming DVR companies to provide an open/common API so that programs like Channels could work with multiple brands of DVR boxes. I would ditch Tablo’s app in a heartbeat if there was an alternative that ran on my Roku.

  14. Come on. The 4K Firesticks are now $34!! Skip the cube (not ready). Throw out your old firesticks, and unfortunately your FireTV boxes. I am tickled pink to have ONE REMOTE for all again. And almost no cords or boxes. It’s a small remote too. I can’t see much difference between it and OTA, regardless of the review comments, it’s very crisp. Tuner sensitivity is much much better than my Channel Master DVR+s (also going in the trash or ebay). If they can give us menu customization to move TV OTA to the top of the menu, it’s a winner here. They need to improve the channel guide method for recording a little or my wife won’t adopt quickly (DVR+ is very easy one button, no option selection). At least there’s echo remote voice. Only limitation I ran into, with 2 TVs streaming running upstairs (my wife left one streaming upstairs, switched inputs and shut it off) I got a tuner limit when I powered up a third TV. Not for large families.

Comments are closed.