I don't even want to consider the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I've spent over the years subscribing to cable just so that I could watch the Kansas City Chiefs games on Sunday (especially because, until recently, I was generally paying to watch them lose).
But then we had kids, we bought a van, we bought a bigger house, and money got tighter and tighter. When I finally took a look at how much we were paying the cable company for three hours a week of actual cable-watching, I knew it was a service I needed to survive without. We cut the cable and relied solely on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video for our entertainment.
In moments of desperation (like the 2015 World Series), I pulled up sketchy websites that unreliably streamed sports broadcasts for free. Football and baseball are family activities where I come from, and I soon realized the ads on these sites weren't exactly kid-friendly. Not a great solution. Also, I had the persistent fear that the feds were going to track me down and drag me off to jail.
Our entertainment center is in our basement, so grabbing the game via an antenna didn't work—the signal wasn't strong enough to reach. I tried and tried and never could find a good solution.
When I heard about Amazon's Fire TV Recast, I was intrigued for myself and the multitude of others who share in my predicament. It's tough to be a sports fan without paying for cable or satellite, but if there are local TV stations broadcasting the game OTA (Over the Air), the Recast can give you the full cable TV experience without the bill.
How does Amazon Fire TV Recast work?
The Recast works with an indoor antenna. The further you are from the signal's origination point, the stronger the antenna you'll need. We placed ours in a south-facing window (as the signal is south of us). The antenna is situated a floor above our TV, but that's not a problem, because the antenna doesn't actually connect to a TV.
The antenna connects to the Fire TV Recast, which is a black box not unlike a DVR or cable box. The Recast pulls in OTA channels and makes them available to all your Fire TV devices. We have a Fire Cube in the basement and a Fire TV Stick 4K in the master bedroom, and we can "stream" local channels on either TV now, even though the antenna is in a completely different part of the house.
Even cooler is that the Recast also functions as a DVR, so you can record that late game and watch it whenever. Depending on the storage you choose, it can hold between 75 and 100 hours of shows.
Should you get the Fire TV Recast?
My only issue with the Recast is that, if the signal is poor (maybe it's cloudy outside), it won't attempt to record something you scheduled it to record. I'd love to get a notification on my phone when that happens, because I might be able to move the antenna and correct the issue. Sitting down to finally watch the game only to be met with a screen informing me it didn't record at all is…irritating.
The Recast is the missing piece for sports fans who are also cord-cutters. It's a bit of an up-front investment, but there are no monthly fees, so it pays for itself quickly once you cancel cable or satellite.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.