Amazon to stop selling Fire TV device for free broadcast stations

The Amazon Fire TV Recast is seen in a promotional video. (Still frame: Amazon/Handout)

Amazon says it will no longer offer a version of its Fire TV streaming hardware that allows television viewers to receive free broadcast stations.

On Monday, the technology website TechHive confirmed the discontinuation of the Amazon Fire TV Recast, a $230 streaming box that included a TV tuner capable of decoding and streaming free, over-the-air television.

“We are constantly evaluating our product and service offerings to best serve the evolving needs of our customers,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechHive. “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.”

Over the weekend, Amazon-focused blog AFTV News first reported the company appeared to be moving away from the devices. Amazon says it will continue providing software updates to existing Fire TV Recast devices through at least 2026.

Amazon first introduced the Fire TV Recast in 2014. The device  allows a person to stream broadcast channels to smart TVs and streaming sticks running Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, and includes an internal hard drive for users who want to record broadcast shows. It was not compatible with other streaming platforms like Roku or Apple TV.

The departure of the Fire TV Recast leaves few options on the market for cord-cutters who want to stream live and recorded broadcast television. Just two companies — SiliconDust of Arizona and Canada-based Nuvvyo — manufacture over-the-air devices (Tablo and HDHomeRun) that stream broadcast content to smartphones, tablets and smart TV devices. TiVo, a subsidiary of Xperi best known for its digital video records (DVRs), continues to sell DVRs aimed at cord-cutters, but has otherwise shifted its business priority to its forthcoming TiVo Stream operating system.

While many households have switched from cable and satellite toward broadcast and streaming, recently released data from research firm Nielsen indicates more people are choosing streaming services over broadcast to satiate their television appetite. Broadcasters have responded to the trend by making more programming available on streaming services in tandem with their debut on linear, over-the-air channels.