Fire TV Gets Official YouTube App, Amazon Video Goes Live on Google DevicesApril 18, 2019
Amazon and Google have finally made peace: The two companies have agreed to bring their video services to each other’s devices in the coming months. At that point, Fire TV users will be able to access the official YouTube app, and Chromecast and Android TV users will finally be able to watch Amazon Video.
The agreement follows a year of negotiations to end a multi-year conflict over Amazon’s refusal to sell Chromecast devices, and Google’s blocking of YouTube on Amazon’s Fire TV platform.
“We are excited to work with Amazon to launch the official YouTube apps on Fire TV devices worldwide,” said YouTube’s global head of product partnerships Heather Rivera in a joint statement. “Bringing our flagship YouTube experience to Amazon Fire TV gives our users even more ways to watch the videos and creators they love.”
“We’re excited to bring the Prime Video app to Chromecast and Android TV devices, and to give our customers convenient access to the shows and movies they love,” added Amazon Prime Video head of worldwide business development Andrew Bennett.
YouTube’s app will be fully integrated on Fire TVs, which includes voice control via Alexa. Google will also be bringing its YouTube Kids and YouTube TV apps to Amazon’s smart TV platform. However, at least for now, users won’t be able to sign up for YouTube’s paid services on Amazon devices. Instead, they’ll have to go to YouTube’s website to subscribe to YouTube TV and other subscription services.
The agreement effectively ends a long-running conflict between YouTube and Amazon, which began all the way back in late 2015, when Amazon stopped selling Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter on its web store. At the time, Amazon justified the move with the argument that its own video services weren’t available on Chromecast. However, Google countered that it was Amazon’s choice to withhold its service from the device.
The conflict intensified when Amazon released its Echo Show smart display device in 2017. The device initially featured a customized YouTube integration, which Google quickly blocked. Amazon developed a work-around for that block, which Google promptly disabled as well. At the time, Google further escalated the conflict, and also began blocking YouTube on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.
Amazon eventually instituted another work-around that is based on simply launching a YouTube web interface on a TV-optimized browser. That integration is still working today, but doesn’t offer full voice control and other features available via a native app integration.
In December, the two companies signaled that they were close to a break-through, and Amazon actually began stocking Google’s Chromecast again.
It’s worth noting that this week’s agreement doesn’t include a native YouTube app for the Echo Show. Variety has been told that this isn’t actually due to commercial disagreements — YouTube simply hasn’t built a full-featured app for these kinds of devices yet. The YouTube integration on the company’s own Google Home Hub display is instead based on Google’s Chromecast technology.
Amazon Video also won’t be entirely new to all of Google’s Android TV user base. Nvidia’s Shield Android TV streamer as well as Sony-made smart TVs have already had an Amazon Video app for some time. The same app will now officially be released on the Play Store for Android TV, allowing owners of other Android TV devices to download and use it as well.
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