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Amazon's YouTube Workaround on Fire TV Works Just Fine (geekwire.com) 64

Last month, a notification that YouTube would no longer be available through Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices starting Jan. 1 popped up, threatening to leave a huge hole in Amazon's streaming lineup. But just last week, Amazon added the ability to surf the web and get to YouTube via a browser. But does it work? GeekWire thinks so: The result is a simple path to YouTube, circumventing Google's move to pull it from Fire TV. Web browsing probably wasn't a direct response to Amazon's issues with Google, which owns YouTube, but it provides a convenient alternative to keep the service accessible for Fire TV users. The first step is downloading one or both of the web browsers. Opening Firefox leads to this home screen with easy access tiles to both Google and YouTube. On Silk, the home screen defaults to Bing search. But as I poked around, I noticed that YouTube for TV showed up in my bookmarks even though this was the first time I opened the browser. A YouTube interface optimized for TV, the same one you would see on other streaming devices, pops up on both browsers. To sign in, YouTube prompted me to activate YouTube for TV through a phone or computer. Once that process was complete, YouTube showed the same personalized recommendations as my phone and computer.
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Amazon's YouTube Workaround on Fire TV Works Just Fine

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  • YouTube casting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aicrules ( 819392 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2018 @03:33PM (#55857479)
    While it may not be a huge deal, YouTube casting to Fire TV/stick doesn't work with this method. It was something I used, but now I can't. Wish I could, but not going to cry about it.
    • Yeah, I wish Amazon would cast to my Chromecast. But they don't.

      I'm sad and wish Amazon hadn't starting this petty fight.

  • It works "OK" for now, but it will be no problem for Google to deploy another block. Amazon needs to work something out with Google, otherwise this just keeps going: Fix->Block->Fix->Block and so on...

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      Fix->Block->Fix->Block

      Pretty hard to support the arguments of Google et al. re Net Neutrality while this kind of nasty shit is going on. I fully appreciate the fine distinctions, but I also know explaining these subtleties to normals is nigh on impossible. At the end of the day it has every appearance of being just another bunch of corporate rent seekers squabbling with each other, none more obviously noble than the others, and safely ensconced in that stink the Senators from Comcast can back Comcast's FCC chairman with a stra

      • Youtube ain't done until Fire won't run!


        The land was stalked by monsters back in those days...
      • Pretty hard to support the arguments of Google et al. re Net Neutrality while this kind of nasty shit is going on. I fully appreciate the fine distinctions

        They want to be the only ones (not the ISP) preventing you from using their service. I know you get the difference and agree that it feels very hypocritical on Google's part.

        On the flip side, it helps Google's push for net neutrality from people who don't understand the issue
        https://slashdot.org/comments.... [slashdot.org]

    • Blocking it would be abuse of monopoly though. Not supporting an app is legal - no company is expected to make an active effort to support every platform - but actively preventing another company's products from working would be illegal.
      • by zabbey ( 985424 )
        Years ago I remember watching hulu in the ps3's browser just fine and then one day hulu's website claimed it no longer worked in the ps3's browser. So I wrote a website that scraped all the direct links from hulu and accessed that page on the ps3's browser. Videos worked fine. Until hulu realized people were doing this, then they had the flash player check the useragent and all of sudden the videos were gone. I don't recall any antitrust lawsuits resulting from their actions.
        • YouTube's market share is massive. Hulu has never had more than about 3%. You need a monopoly before anti-monopoly laws come into play.
    • I doubt Google will actively block anything. This whole mess is on Amazon as far as I'm concerned though so I'm not super concerned. They started this and Google has just been reacting to each new dick decision from them.
    • It works "OK" for now, but it will be no problem for Google to deploy another block. Amazon needs to work something out with Google, otherwise this just keeps going: Fix->Block->Fix->Block and so on...

      How do you block a web browser?

      • Amazon has for the longest time blocked the mobile browser(s) on Non-Kindle Android tablets from watching any of their Prime content. They made you go download the App, which then told you to go buy a Kindle. Amazon started this and they deserve it IMO
      • by d0rp ( 888607 )

        How do you block a web browser?

        Refuse connections that include the user-agent string of the device that you are trying to block.

        But of course that only works if the browser "properly" sets it's user-agent. You could just then change your user-agent to report itself as a windows computer and then there's nothing they can do (assuming they don't want to block all windows computers from accessing YouTube).

        • How do you block a web browser?

          Refuse connections that include the user-agent string of the device that you are trying to block.

          But of course that only works if the browser "properly" sets it's user-agent. You could just then change your user-agent to report itself as a windows computer and then there's nothing they can do (assuming they don't want to block all windows computers from accessing YouTube).

          Exactly. It is very common to spoof the user-agent

    • Are users really complaining? I think you can already get Youtube on SamsungTV, SonyTV, LG TV, Chromecast, etc.

    • Given the type of workaround, where the user is using a plain old web browser, I really don't think Google are going to block it. It would be setting a precedent I don't think they'd want to set. It's one thing to block custom apps they have little control over, quite another to ban access via the standard, supported, way of accessing their content.

      They're pissed at Amazon, sure, but even non-cooperation has its limits.

  • When Amazon force updated YouTube on the FireStick ahead of the Jan.01st deadline, and interrupted YouTube that was already playing.
    We went to Best Buy the next day and replaced all the Amazon Sticks with Roku's. Everything about the Roku is just plain better.

    • Still waiting for Prime Video to support ChromeCast.
    • I have Roku and Fire TV. Each is better in its own way. Fire TV is faster and smoother and plays better games. Roku has tons more "channels" + YouTube. I can switch back and forth between them.

      They're cheap enough. Just get both.
      • Try a newer Roku. I bought a Roku stick two years ago, and loved it, but certain applications seemed to be ridiculously slow, and others, such as Netflix, started off OK but just became unusable over time.

        So we bought a newer standalone Roku, a Roku Premiere+ (sadly discontinued but I'm sure you can find the current equivalent on their site), and it was like night and day. The responsiveness is perfect now. Plus this model you can connect to the Internet using Ethernet rather than Wi-fi (less interferenc

        • I have a Roku Premiere +. It's much better than the original Roku I owned years ago, but it's still not as good with games as Fire TV is. Roku's YouTube interface is a little clunky but works great.
  • I never open the Youtube app, and only end up on Youtube through a link.

    And I never want to open random links to Youtube (or Twitter or Facebook - or any of the preloaded apps I can't remove) with some dumb special app - the browser version is fine, doesn't force me to log in, and stays in its tab where I put it.

    Hopefully Google gets in some fight with everyone else (and, uh, itself) so that all this garbage stays in browser tabs where it belongs.

  • If Amazon just spoofed its user agent, it wouldnâ(TM)t have such trouble. The Fire is just an Android system, there are plenty of YouTube apps for Android.

  • The YouTube app on my FireTV Stick Gen2 still works fine. I get a popup saying it won't work on 1/1/2018 but I just OK out of the popup and keep going as normal.

    I did try the FireFox/YouTube combo on the Stick and it as nearly indistinguishable from the app.

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