Amazon’s Fire TV devices come with a YouTube app designed by Amazon, not Google. And Google has said it will start blocking the app from accessing YouTube on January 1st.

The two companies are reportedly in talks to resolve the issue, but it looks like Amazon isn’t taking any chances. The company recently started allowing users to download web browsers that work on the Fire TV, including the company’s own Silk browser and Mozilla’s Firefox. Both can access YouTube, along with just about any other website.

And now Amazon has updated its YouTube app… so that when you open it you’re greeted with a message telling you to use Silk or Firefox instead.

As noted by AFTV News, there are buttons below that message saying “Visit with Silk” and “Visit with Firefox.” If you have the appropriate browser installed, choosing either link will open YouTube in your browser of choice. If not, then you’ll be prompted to install the app.

It’s possible that Google and Amazon will work out their differences soon and that an official YouTube app will return to the Amazon Appstore. But for now, it seems like Amazon’s workaround should let you keep watching cat videos uninterrupted… unless Google decides to block Silk and/or Firefox on the Fire TV.



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3 replies on “Amazon Fire TV’s YouTube app now just points you to a web browser”

  1. Do you think Google will take this one step further and block the Fire TV web browsers from working on YouTube? When given an option I’ve always preferred the regular web version of YouTube (with a web browser) over any YouTube app that I’ve tried.

    1. I’m with you. I’d rather watch YouTube in a full browser than an app.
      I wonder if it’s legal to selectively block a browser from a website. With the death of net neutrality, ISPs can block whatever they want now, but a site blocking a browser from access is a little different. It’d be a contemptible move if Google did that. Blocking an unlicensed app is defensible, but blocking access from browsers is not (in my opinion).

      1. I know it’s possible for web sites to selectively block browsers – and it’s legal. This happened with the Google TV devices (Google TV is what came before Android TV). The broadcast networks blocked Google TV browsers from viewing their videos online. I owned a Google TV device (the Logitech Revue) and all of the blocking was very frustrating.

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