Roku and Amazon have different ideas about over-the-air DVR

    Antennas are making a big comeback as extra folks reduce cable TV, however that doesn’t imply over-the-air DVR goes mainstream together with them.

    Last week, I interviewed executives from each Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV group forward of some {hardware} information they introduced this week. (The quick model: Roku and Amazon are each releasing soundbars later this 12 months with their respective streaming software program inside, plus Amazon has new sensible TVs and a revamped Fire TV Cube on the best way.) Out of my very own curiosity, I additionally requested them how their respective corporations really feel about over-the-air DVR.

    Amazon launched the Fire TV Recast DVR final November, however it’s regularly gone on sale since then and hasn’t obtained any main updates except for exterior USB drive help. Roku, in the meantime, gives a TV information for antenna customers on its sensible TVs, and it permits for primary pause and rewind features should you plug in a USB flash drive, however it hasn’t prolonged these options to its streaming gamers or supplied a full DVR.

    All of which makes me suspect that over-the-air DVR will stay a distinct segment product, greatest dealt with by smaller corporations similar to TiVo, Nuvyyo (which makes the Tablo DVR), and Plex. While Amazon would possibly nonetheless attempt to construct on its work with the Fire TV Recast, it doesn’t sound like Roku will attempt to take over-the-air integration a lot additional.

    Amazon: Leaving the DVR door open

    Unlike a conventional DVR, the Fire TV Recast can sit anyplace in the home and doesn’t plug immediately right into a tv. Instead, if pulls in channels from an antenna and streams them to Fire TV gadgets round the home. Although the Recast performs nicely and has no subscription charges, my intestine feeling is that it’s not assembly the corporate’s expectations. Since launching final fall, it has regularly gone on sale, together with a $100 low cost on each the dual- and quad-tuner fashions, round Amazon Prime Day.

    Sandeep Gupta, Amazon’s vice chairman of product growth for Fire TV, didn’t fairly say the Recast is a failure for Amazon, however he acknowledged that it has “challenges,” together with the value level and the truth that individuals are usually watching extra TV by means of streaming providers.

    “I think what we’re trying to figure out with Recast is, how do we make it more accessible, create more learning around it, and broaden the audience,” Gupta mentioned. “It’s a great product, and the people that use it love it. But I think our goal is to learn from what we’ve done and continue to figure out how to expand the audience for that type of product.”

    recasthome2 Jared Newman / IDG

    Channels from Amazon’s Fire TV Recast combine with the house display screen on Fire TV gadgets.

    It’s laborious to say what that might imply, however I’m wondering if Amazon is interested by discovering different sources of video to document past simply over-the-air streams. We’ve already seen some makes an attempt at this from different DVR providers (most notably Channels DVR, which now data TV Everywhere streams from cable channels), and judging by the suggestions I get from readers, there’s plenty of curiosity in a DVR that works with streaming sources. The huge problem can be getting content material suppliers to help such a factor.

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