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Prime Video on Chromecast and Android TV, YouTube on Fire TV (blog.google)
187 points by forgot-my-pw on July 9, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments

"And Chromecast Ultra users get access to 4,000 titles included with Prime at no additional cost."

I think they meant "Ultra users get access to 4K titles included with Prime at no additional cost". ;)

Funny when you can get this narrow window into the team members writing vs. the ones editing!

Actually, I'm not sure that's the case. An article about the move states "On the Google side, both its own Chromecast devices, as well as partner TVs and hardware that support Chromecast built-in, or that run Android TV, will gain support broadly for Prime Video. Plus, any Chromecast Ultra owners will also get access to Prime Video’s 4,000-title library normally reserved for Prime members, at no additional cost, as part of the new tie-up between the two companies."

It is possible that this is just propagating that though.

Under "Prime Video : Movies : Prime Eligible" there are 60,000 results[1]. This article says Amazon Prime has 12,000 movies[2].

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Movies-Prime-Eligible-Video/s?rh=n%3A...

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/tv-shows-and-movies-that-ove...

Maybe they are both right, and it is 4,000 4K titles

The text says "4K titles" now.

What is exactly extra for Ultra?

Chromecast Ultra has 4K output and the regular Chromecast doesn't. I don't think the Ultra gets access to any more content but presumably it gets the 4K version instead of the HD version.

Personally I am disappointed that almost nothing on Prime Video is 4K anyway.

Seems like most of their 4K selection are titles from Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/s?k=uhd&i=instant-video

Too late. I abandoned both of their devices for Roku and haven't looked back.

sounds interesting.

newbie here. haven't used Roku.

does it support:

casting from android phones?

netflix, prime, youtube?

BT headphones / speakers?

recording ?

Recording what?

It’s mostly for video on demand where you wouldn’t need to record anything. It wouldn’t have enough local storage anyway.

The only things that I could imagine you want to record DVR style would be live streaming like with Sling and DirecTVNow and they both have “cloud DVR”.

Miracast works, but not Google Cast protocol. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube are all fully supported. There is no Bluetooth wireless on the Roku devices except for the Roku TV Wireless Speakers which have a BT receiver for playing audio from a phone. However, all devices support remote audio through the Roku mobile app. There is no recording capability, but you can use DVR solutions like Tableau with Roku devices.

What Roku do you have? My family has a somewhat-ancient Roku 3 and it supports Google Casting, as does my Roku TV. It's a huge feature for me.

>casting from android phones?

Not really

>netflix, prime, youtube?


>BT headphones / speakers?

Not directly.

I never used a chrome cast because I HATE controlling my TV with my phone. I want a normal remote... I have yet to get on board with the whole "casting" fad. I may have used the YT app on my phone to start a video maybe 3 times since they added the feature.

> Not really

Google removed Miacast support from Pixel devices but nonGoogle Android devices can cast to Roku just fine.

You can also cast from Windows 10 devices as well.

Miracast isn't the same thing as Chromecast, it just does screen mirroring but it works well.

probably not all of those things, did you check their specs page?

If you can't find the YouTube for Fire TV app on your device, here is the link on Amazon's website:


Seems like a no-brainer for both companies when faced with Apple TV having everything.

AppleTV does not have everything, and the UI is horrible compared to many other devices I've seen.

I sold my Apple TV and replaced it with a Roku because the UI experience was so poor. It was frustrating for me to use as an experienced user and basically unusable by any of my guests. The Roku is an amazing experience in comparison and my guests can use it with no instruction necessary.

Roku an amazing experience compared to an AppleTV?

I have three Roku TVs and two AppleTV 4Ks

Problems with the Roku.

- the hardware is severely underpowered and the interface is slow.

- you are the product. This fact comes from the CEO of Roku himself on an interview on Recode Media. He wants to make money selling user data and advertising. You can tell from half the home screen and rye screensaver being cluttered with ads and the remote with hard coded buttons that go to the highest bidder. I have one remote with a hard coded button with “CBS News”. Who would want that as a short cut? I have another one with a useless button to the defunct Rdio service.

- the remote doesn’t even have a way to do a 30s back/forward.

- you can stream from Windows devices but Google is moving away from supporting Miracast and of course you can’t stream from iOS devices.

Also, Apple TV doesn't do YouTube (and other Google things) at 4K. Which sucks, considering you are spending like $200, and YouTube is probably you would use the most.

You can blame Google for this. They insist on using VP9 for their 4K videos despite the fact that no Apple hardware supports VP9 decoding. I'm hoping this changes once Apple adds support for AV1.

You can blame Apple and the many h265 licensing pools for that.

My MacBook Pro hardware supports VP9 decoding I belive. But I'd need to boot into Linux to use it I think.

This, or the Disney streaming service coming soon, could've had something to do with it.

Isn’t the Apple TV app coming to Fire TV as well?

It came to my Samsung TV and i can't uninstall it

Everything except for Spotify :-(

Well, that's on Spotify to do. They've been able to do it forever. Tidal has an Apple TV app.

Isn't Spotify tied up in a dispute about the 30% cut? If they pay 70% to the labels and 30% to Apple that leaves them nothing to operate on.

Couldn't they offer an app with no in-app "buy a subscription" option and avoid paying that Apple tax? I guess added value for existing subscribers isn't very appealing on its own.

Apple has come down hard on devs attempting to do that.

There is an existence proof that that isn’t the case. Spotify, Netflix, Sling, and DirecTVNow are all in the App Store and none of them allow subscriptions from within the App Store.

That is simply proof of selective enforcement. your examples have HUGE preexisting User Base, should apple ban them it would have a real effect on Apple Adoption rates

They are big enough to make apple bow, other apps are not like that

So I guess Linux Academy is also big enough to make “Apple Bow” since you have to subscribe outside of the store?

There isn’t a requirement to make subscriptions only available in the store.

No. Spotify hasn’t allowed you to subscribe through the App Store for years. Netflix has also disallowed new subscriptions through the App Store.

That does not stop Spotify from releasing an AppleTV app.

I had unsubscribed from Prime Video for precisely this reason. I think it's about time I gave it another chance.

It had been a long time since I looked at Amazon Prime and it's no better now.

The interface is total garbage. It's a bizarre mix of Netflix and amazon's regular website. Search is useless. You can't get an A-Z list of everything. You're forced to sort by either "featured" (aka what they are advertising) or "new". Content they want more money for (in addition to what you already pay them for Prime) is mixed in with everything else. It's basically full of ads.

I keep prime for shipping but anything I can't get on Netflix I can find online without dealing with Amazon's terrible interface.

It's pretty easy to toggle content that is included free with Prime video only, rather than seeing it and content available for purchase.

Selecting UHD versions is still hot garbage though.

Is there a preference to hide that stuff everywhere or is it just a specific search term or check box when searching? An option you can set once that applies to the entire account would be a big plus!

I don't believe there's a global setting, but from the home screen there is a page that is content included with Prime Video only, and at least on most devices it is a single colour button to select the subscription content only on searches.

Are you talking about the website or the apps for TV's, Rokus', FireTV's, and now chromecast?

The website and the apps are very very different

The website, maybe the apps are better (at least they shouldn't give you amazon's store interface) but I suspect the problem of content they want extra money for mixed in with what your prime subscription gets you is still an issue.

Not in the Roku App

On FireTV it can be, but it fairly easy to avoid as well. For that matter is actually fairly easy to filter out non-prime content on the website as well, if you know how to use the basic filters

I think you're the first person I've ever seen who subscribed to Prime for the video instead of the free shipping.

Prime Video + Prime Shipping + Prime Music is ~16 USD per year if you get the subscription from India. I used to live in India but not anymore. So I was keen to only use Prime Video + Prime Music (since Prime Shipping doesn't work outside of India for that sub). Both Prime Video and Music were rather unsatisfactory, and no Chromcast support was just the last straw for me to unsub.

In India, I don't know of anyone who actually pays for prime. Everyone gets it free bundled with their mobile or broadband plans.

All of these plans get Amazon Prime with free shipping, prime video and Amazon Music ad-free unlimited downloads:

Airtel: - INR 299 (USD 4.37) per month plan includes unlimited call/text and 2.5GB data per day and includes Amazon Prime.

BSNL: - INR 399 (USD 4.37) per month plan includes unlimited call/text and 30GB data per month.

Vodafone/IDEA: - INR 399 (USD 5.83) per month plan includes unlimited call/text and 40GB data per month and includes Amazon Prime (full year) and Netflix (3-months trial).

Reliance Jio: - INR 149 (USD 2.19) for unlimited voice/text and 1.5GB per day. Bundles HotStar (which streams cricket, tennis etc live) along with premium content from HBO, Starz etc.

IMO, all of the telcos in India have strong TV apps that give access to Movie/TV/News/Sports content (live+recorded) on mobile screens for free (bundled with really cheap mobile plans). Then there is Hotstar which is orders of magnitude better content than prime videos. So, unless someone is getting prime video for free I doubt anyone would be paying for it.

Even music is very much like that. Prime Music is good. But there is Airtel's Wynk, Jim has Saavn, then there is Youtube which has huge viewership for music videos.

But this only works if you are a new prime user and not an existing one :(. Though at least in Airtel you get INR 1500 worth of Netflix subscription which is pretty useful.

IMO Hotstar is not orders of magnitude better in terms of content.

Prime has big sitcoms like the office, 30 rock, seinfeld etc.

Their B&W and 60s/70s movie catalog is also much larger than any other services.

with Airtel, doesn't Amazon Prime free subscription end after 12months ?

It hasn't been one year yet. So let's see. I would expect it to renew for free next year as long as I'm subscribed to their 499 or higher plan.

There are a lot of people in countries that have no Amazon Prime shipping benefits - Prime Video is $5.99/mo or €5.99/mo in those places.

I use prime for the movies too!

I have a laugh every time I see their "Recently Added Movies on Prime" section and find films from 2007. Or their "Popular|Trending Movies on on Prime" and see films with a <5 score on IMDB. There is no reason I would keep Prime for its movie offering! In the last six months they've added more and more sponsored offerings too, which is _really_ annoying -- I mean, I'm a subscriber, stop advertising to me.

> I'm a subscriber, stop advertising to me.

I hate it when I miss the start (separate annoyance: seems often that audio takes a few seconds to start? Maybe that's the Shield's fault rather than Prime's) so I rewind, and then it hits me with the advert again...

I've been using SmartYoutubeTV for quite a while on my FireTV and it works quite well for me and is ad-free... https://smartyoutubetv.github.io/

Is there an anti-trust case brewing that has motivated this move?

Google and Amazon were fighting each other and eventually started to negotiate. Amazon would not sell Chromecasts on their platform and Google would not allow Amazon Fire devices to access YouTube.

I hope this means I can get YouTube and YouTube Music soon on my Echo Show. It's ridiculous I can't get stuff I pay for on devices I own because of these fights that are not in the interest of their paying users.

I'm never going to get a Google speaker because I can't easily buy things via Amazon on it and because I already own 3 Amazon speakers that I have all set up nicely. If I want to Google something I can use my phone, I don't need a smart speaker for that.

Googling on the Google Assistant is pretty great. I shout random questions at mine all the time and it dutifully responds correctly most of the time. It's impressive.

Asking Alexa easily google-able questions is pretty hit and miss for me. If I ask google the same question with my voice through my phone it seems to get me the correct answer way more often.

I recommend the google assistant skill [1] for your Alexa device.

I use it for asking questions I know Google will answer but Alexa probably won't. "Alexa, ask Google 'difference between chow mein and lo mein'"

[1] https://github.com/tartanguru/alexa-assistant

And audible on Google Home.

They are gearing up for the upcoming fight with Disney's streaming service.

> In addition to the select Android TV devices that currently have Prime Video, many more Android TV smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming devices will also soon have Prime Video, with rollout starting today.

Is there a list of which devices this is? Sounds like it's still not all of them for some reason?

As a data point, my Nvidia Shield has had Prime since at least a few years ago (as well as Netflix, YouTube, Plex and is also a Chromecast - I highly recommend this as a set top box, btw).

I second the motion, but the $300AUD for a Shield vs $60AUD for a Chromecast means I understand why some people don't.

But seriously, the Shield was worth every cent for ease of use, everything in one place etc etc. The only reason I sometimes chromecast is to play video back at faster than normal speed. (Or because the Netflix app on Shield thinks that I really want it to start playing videos with sound as soon as I pause on any title for a second).

Can't wait for Youtube TV on Fire TV. That's the move

Is it not possible to sideload?

I don't think so? Or at least, I haven't tried yet.

I want audible on my google home and Chromecast. When will that come?!

Thank you! This is stopping me from getting an Audible sub. People think I'm crazy when I mention this use case.

I just play by pairing my phone via BT to Google Home.

I'd like to see Prime Video on the Google Home Hub.

You can Chromecast to those things, so I assume that works now.

Not necessarily; you can't cast Netflix to home hub.

Even after the YouTube app left the Fire TV ecosystem, YouTube with almost the exact same functionality was still accessible by going to https://youtube.com from the Firefox app.

YouTube never truly left Fire TV. It just required one extra step to access it.

Prime video never really left Chromecast. You could just "mirror screen" and have it work in a slightly janky way and waste lots of battery while at it...

EDIT: Android only - iOS users were SOL.

Screen mirroring had been blocked for a while on modern devices that supported Widevine level 1.

No variable (fast) speed playback on the FireTV app? :(

Seems like this could be bad news for Roku, since I believe the big draw for them was having both platforms.

I really hope Roku stick around, as an independent company is very valuable in this space. Thankfully they're making popular and well reviewed TVs, so hopefully that's enough to keep them around.

my next tv will be a roku tv. i love my roku box because all roku cares about is putting video on my tv. I'm not going to get a google or amazon box because who knows when they'll start fighting again and i'll lose half the stuff i want to watch.

All Roku cares about is collecting user data and serving ads that take up half your home screen, your screensaver and hard coded buttons going to the highest bidder on your remote....

I'm once bitten, twice-shy. IIRC Roku was created by Netflix in order to avoid the potential conflict of interest between device maker and content provider when the manufacturer is also a content creator.

I'm not going back to the FireTV, Roku seems to work well.

Roku is (was?) subleasing its office space from Netflix, and was funded after Netflix decided not to make a box itself. It's publicly traded as of 2017, but it's history is definitely intertwined with Netflix.

The original Roku box was built internally by Netflix. It was cancelled/spun off at the last minute because Netflix didn’t want to compete with companies it wanted to partner with.

Great news! I had to move between 2 rooms with a streaming PC. Now I can finish those Babylon 5s.....

I still can't see cast button in the Prime Video app, maybe this will come in time?

They're probably rolling out an update to the app now. If you're already fully up to date, check back in a day or two.

I'm fully up to date but at work in Australia, so there could be a number of blockers to me getting this feature.

How were the able to achieve this technologically?

What an amazing feat of engineering.

This technology is called "Settlement". Probably involves a lot of tech advocates known as "Lawyers".


One thing to note is that YouTube App is not yet back on Echo Show devices. I've been waiting for this for so long. Hopefully this gets added in soon.

I have been waiting for this, but I just tried to cast to my Mibox 3, and just got a loading spinner and nothing more.

When Google had withdrawn YouTube app from FireTV, I started watching YouTube on the Silk app (browser). The interface on browser or YT app, both are same.

I feel its better that YT has same look and feel on the browser - I don't need a separate app for that. And I can browse other websites in the same browser.

So now I don't care if they are back with YouTube app on Fire TV.

Not a member of Amazon Prime since long, I manage my entertainment with YouTube, JioCinema and HotStar.

Frack I've just bought a FireTV stick because I couldn't watch Amazon on my Chromecast.

I use my FireTV way more than my Chromecast. I think you'll be happy with it.

Agreed. The desicated remote is surprisingly convenient. The only advantage of the phone screen for these types of devices is the virtual keyboard for logging in and searching.

I can't wait for YouTube on fire tablets

I have had bad experience with Chromecast. I used to be able to cast by mobile phone to the TV to watch videos. But after some software update the casting would no longer work because I was using mobile data and mobile hotspot. Something which used to work when I bought the product stopped working after a software update. Also there used to be a dedicated chrome cast app - but they replaced it with Google home app which has countless things I do not need. Also the home app is more flaky than the older dedicated app. My confidence in google related have gone down rapidly and I am no longer willing to adapt new google products and ma planning to move away from what I am currently using.

Thats odd since Chromecast streams directly from WiFi - you don’t send the video to it from your phone, it simply picks up where you left by sending a resource URL.

Not when you are casting your screen.

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