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Google-Amazon truce brings YouTube to Fire TV, Prime Video to Chromecast

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In our current climate, where the two sides of the political spectrum seem to be able to find little common ground, it’s good to see that warring corporate behemoths like Google and Amazon can at least bury the hatchet in name of mutual self-interest. Today, the companies announced that their spat over video services — specifically the lack of an official YouTube app on Amazon’s Fire TV devices and the lack of Chromecast support for the Prime Video app — is finally over.

Starting July 9, the official YouTube app on Amazon Fire TV is available worldwide on the following devices:

Amazon says that additional Fire TV devices will get YouTube support in the coming months, with YouTube TV and YouTube Kids launching later this year. The official YouTube app will appear in the Your Apps and Channels row on all compatible devices, but you will need to download it first before you can stream. Because Fire TV devices are also Alexa devices, there will be Alexa support for the official YouTube app too. You can ask Alexa to open the YouTube app by saying, “Alexa, open YouTube,” or by asking for specific content, e.g., “Alexa, find cooking videos on YouTube.” Inside the YouTube app, all of the usual Alexa playback commands are available without adding “YouTube.”

On the Prime Video side of the equation, the app now has Chromecast support. You’ll need the latest Prime Video app and Android 5.0 or higher or iOS 10.1 or higher on your phone or tablet to receive the update. The new version supports all Chromecast and Chromecast Built-in devices, but it will also begin working Android TV devices on a broader basis. Some Android TV products already have a Prime Video app, and Google tells us that “many more Android TV smart TVs, set-top boxes and streaming devices will also soon have Prime Video,” beginning July 9. You can download the Prime Video in the Google Play Store.

As great as this news is for users of both the Fire TV and Chromecast platforms, make no mistake: Both companies needed this to happen more than we did. Prime Video is about to come under intense competitive pressure as Disney+ and Apple TV+ make their way into the market later this year, so getting access to Chromecast users — basically, the only population that was missing from its stable of supported devices — is critical. Google for its part, makes significant revenue from YouTube, and its YouTube TV service needs to be on Fire TV devices in order to compete with platforms like SlingTV and Hulu+Live TV.

Looks like it’s win, win, win. This time.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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