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Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:40 pm

https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/12/0 ... azon-grows tells us:

An anonymous reader shares a report:
Three months ago, YouTube pulled its programming from Amazon's Echo Show device -- the first skirmish in what is apparently an ongoing war. Shortly after, Amazon stopped selling the Nest E Thermostat, Nest's Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system. Two weeks ago, Amazon got YouTube back on the Echo Show by simply directing users to the web version, a workaround that left a lot to be desired. But even that version won't be available after today.

In a statement, Google said it has been trying to reach an agreement with Amazon to provide customers with access to each other's products and services. But, Google said, Amazon doesn't carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn't make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest's latest products. "Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV. We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon."

It's a kick to the nuts for me, since I use YouTube on FireTV for a lot of my entertainment.

In turn, it's a kick to the nuts for Amazon and all FireTV users, and timed to happen right at holiday buying season.

The upside of cord cutting is getting around the cable / broadcast TV monopolistic pricing power.

The downside of cord cutting is dealing with the 3D matrix of which content is available on which app which is available on which device.

This squabble shows how corporate self-interest might in the end drive people back towards dealing with Big Cable.

As for me, I'm no where close to going back to Big Cable any time soon, but oddly, I can see why I might want to do that in the future.

I don't think the squabble will be resolved by 1/1/2008 which is when the app will stop working on FireTV, so I think I need a new device.

My thoughts are either
(a) Try AppleTV: Apple seems to be too valued to be vulnerable to this kind of thing, and has both Google and Amazon content on-board
(b) Roku: Cheaper, not as engaged in the corporate struggles, needs to "play nice" to get content on-board, but vulnerable.
(c) TiVo DVR: I have an ancient unit and replacing it would get the apps I want as well as not taking up a HDMI port for yet another widget.
(d) Chromecast: Since having a good YouTube experience is important to me, I might as well just get the Google branded device?

I really don't want to do (d) since it will be rewarding Google for this kind of bad behavior.

I've tried to be part of the Apple ecosystem many times, and always have walked away disappointed, so (a) is dubious.

As above (b) is cheap and works well but also vulnerable to any/all apps getting yanked whenever their owners decide to do so. It's also not a very appealing visual experience.

And (c) might be the best choice, but by far costs the most, and the goal of all of this is to reduce cost.

Any suggestions?
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dtw2hyd
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:49 pm

Fire TV is developer friendly :wink: :wink: . Try it.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:51 pm

I have an AppleTV and I ended up buying a Roku on Black Friday. More content and more control than what Apple allows on their devices. As sleek as AppleTV is, the bottom line is that you're stuck with whatever Apple decides should be on your device. I really only use 3 channels (YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu). If it had Amazon Prime, it would be the perfect device.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:09 pm

einsteinboricua wrote:
I have an AppleTV and I ended up buying a Roku on Black Friday. More content and more control than what Apple allows on their devices. As sleek as AppleTV is, the bottom line is that you're stuck with whatever Apple decides should be on your device. I really only use 3 channels (YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu). If it had Amazon Prime, it would be the perfect device.

It has Amazon Video ( https://channelstore.roku.com/details/13/amazon-video ) and Amazon Music ( https://channelstore.roku.com/details/1 ... azon-music ) and both are tied to the Prime account -- are you after some other Amazon app?

I recall on an earlier Roku ( see below ) the Amazon Video app was perfectly functional, but a little less visually appealing than the one on Fire TV.

I'm wondering what you think about the visual experience on Roku.

The last Roku I tried wasn't even in 1080P mode, but this was a year or more ago.

I read they were rolling out 1080P but at the same time were pushing ads on to the main screen, which is kind of tacky.
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:12 pm

Roku seems feasible since it supports YouTube Red:

As a YouTube Red member, you can watch ad-free videos and YouTube Red Originals on your TV with the following devices:

Chromecast.
Android TV.
Apple TV.
Game consoles: Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4.
Roku (LT, 1, 2, 2 HD, 2 XD, 2 XS, 3, Streaming Stick, Roku TV)
Other supported Smart TVs.

So this means Google views it as a primary platform ( FireTV did not support Red ).
The gun is NOT a precious symbol of freedom
It is a deadly cancer on American society
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That is impervious to evidence
 
Flighty
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:41 pm

it would be great if a nonprofit / light profit such as craigslist or wikimedia would take over the video (and social media) marketplace. For me the issue is data privacy. A nonprofit could offer a superior service (in terms of privacy) and kill these overgrown bully companies. They invented a technology but it doesn't mean they own human creativity or communications as a whole. Granted, I don't think Facebook or Youtube are going away.
 
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:50 pm

dtw2hyd wrote:
Fire TV is developer friendly :wink: :wink: . Try it.

I have two different Fire TVs (one stick, one box) and in general like them. I've loaded Kodi on one and have used it on occasion but don't find that to be very compelling. The risk/reward ratio for dealing with potentially pirated material isn't a good one for me. I'm a science/tech nerd, not a pop culture guy, so most of the stuff is not that interesting.

I like Fire's visual experience and smoothness, and am deep into the Amazon eco-system, but as above, losing access to YouTube might make me move on to a platform that can support YouTube, Amazon Video and Amazon Music. Right now, Roku is the front runner. I'd be happy if I could just keep using Fire TV, but I don't think that they will resolve the squabble any time soon.
The gun is NOT a precious symbol of freedom
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wowlookplanes
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:57 pm

{Disclosure: Former Roku employee, quite partial to the product, but have zero fondness for the company itself}

Roku is Switzerland, not beholden to any of the big three behemoths. Long-tail content is strongest on Roku. 3-4x the number of channels as the next largest list, so if you're into videos of competitive underwater crocheting, Roku has it.

The UX may be a bit clunky, but I think you might be comparing it to its competitors, not to what it replaces (cable/satellite). I prefer its interface to my DirecTV interface (haven't cut the cord fully.....YET). IMO, you're going to spend your time trying to find content & then watching it. The UX really only needs to be good enough to allow you to search (and now Roku has voice search using the remote). And to the Switzerland point, what motivation does GOOG or AMZN have to allow you to search for content outside of their own ecosystem? With Roku you can search across all channels (n.b. - perhaps not Netflix....they were an admittedly-big holdout for awhile there...). Think about that one, it's kinda huge. And you can ONLY see AAPL content, of course...if Apple hasn't inked it, you can't watch it.

Because they're smaller, they spend ALL their energy inking content deals, this is why they have the advantage there. Sure, GOOG or AMZN could remove their platform portals at any time and that would hurt Roku in a big way, but that's probably unlikely.

Ads - Roku does have ads, no question....on the screensaver, video interspersed within content, buttons on the remote, and a big banner on the channel selection screen. At this time this is just unavoidable, the economics don't work without them. Hopefully in the future they'll put out a subscription offering that zaps most or ALL ads, to allow for the Youtube Red folks to have a similar experience; that would be nice.

--WLP

p.s. - +1 to your sig, Rev.
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:39 pm

I never understood why companies would allow cross-party apps of competitors on each others devices.
To me a Google device should be built around the Google family of products and service, while an Amazon one should highlight the world of Amazon. Why bother to host or show off competitor products.
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JJJ
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:44 pm

Why not simply get a Chromecast and an old phone or tablet with all the apps to launch content (basically a remote). I use my old phone for that, minus SIM card.
 
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:53 pm

wowlookplanes wrote:
{Disclosure: Former Roku employee, quite partial to the product, but have zero fondness for the company itself}

Roku is Switzerland, not beholden to any of the big three behemoths. Long-tail content is strongest on Roku. 3-4x the number of channels as the next largest list, so if you're into videos of competitive underwater crocheting, Roku has it.

The UX may be a bit clunky, but I think you might be comparing it to its competitors, not to what it replaces (cable/satellite). I prefer its interface to my DirecTV interface (haven't cut the cord fully.....YET). IMO, you're going to spend your time trying to find content & then watching it. The UX really only needs to be good enough to allow you to search (and now Roku has voice search using the remote). And to the Switzerland point, what motivation does GOOG or AMZN have to allow you to search for content outside of their own ecosystem? With Roku you can search across all channels (n.b. - perhaps not Netflix....they were an admittedly-big holdout for awhile there...). Think about that one, it's kinda huge. And you can ONLY see AAPL content, of course...if Apple hasn't inked it, you can't watch it.

Because they're smaller, they spend ALL their energy inking content deals, this is why they have the advantage there. Sure, GOOG or AMZN could remove their platform portals at any time and that would hurt Roku in a big way, but that's probably unlikely.

Ads - Roku does have ads, no question....on the screensaver, video interspersed within content, buttons on the remote, and a big banner on the channel selection screen. At this time this is just unavoidable, the economics don't work without them. Hopefully in the future they'll put out a subscription offering that zaps most or ALL ads, to allow for the Youtube Red folks to have a similar experience; that would be nice.

--WLP

p.s. - +1 to your sig, Rev.

Wow, awesome reply, much more than I could ever expect! Interestingly enough I made some of the same comments in a two year old thread: Roku 3 (2015) Vs Amazon Fire TV, namely that the voice-activated search feature (that works across content providers) is a great thing. At the time I noticed it did not work with YouTube content. It wouldn't surprise me that it didn't work across Netflix content either. I did note that Roku had the most content available by far. I didn't know till now that this was a major goal of Roku. I appreciate the input that it's unlikely that GOOG and AMZN are unlikely to drop Roku even though both now have their own devices on the market.

I appreciate the idea that the UI isn't in the loop for very long and is indeed very much better than cable boxes, but what can I say, it is a turn off for me. At the point where I wrote the post (Roku 3 two years ago) it did not even operate in 1080p, so it did suffer relative to the Amazon Fire TV of the time. And I value the input that the target was to be better than the cable boxes of the era. Thing is, for me, I never experienced those. I went from analog cable to TiVo analog to TiVo HD with CableCard and now to cord cutter. I have operated cable boxes at other people's homes, and they do stink.

I'm thinking I will try a new Roku and see if I like it more than the Roku 3 (which I passed on to a friend already). From looking at a few screenshots on the web it doesn't seem that they have moved beyond 720P for the UI or not. I guess I'll have to decide if I can cope with that. I've already decided I can't cope without a YouTube app! :-)

Thanks for the detailed response and I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with their company.
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:59 pm

LAXintl wrote:
I never understood why companies would allow cross-party apps of competitors on each others devices.
To me a Google device should be built around the Google family of products and service, while an Amazon one should highlight the world of Amazon. Why bother to host or show off competitor products.

Customers don't have inifinte HDMI ports, nor infinite money to buy the devices, etc. Therefore if your device is 2nd best it probably won't get used. In my case I have some relatively old plasma TVs that I don't intend on replacing so only 2 HDMI per TV. I tried an external HDMI switch that was cheap and worked well but was a pain in the ass to use. Tiny remote lost easily, no front panel buttons, needed a bunch of short HDMI cables to use it, etc.

Besides, what's next, one device per app? Separate devices for Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, et? Where does it end?

As I wrote earlier, one of the down sides of cord cutting is having to figure out which device you need to run a given app to get a given set of content.

IMO it's one of the few things that can/will drive consumers back towards Big Cable.
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:28 am

Revelation wrote:
I'm thinking I will try a new Roku and see if I like it more than the Roku 3 (which I passed on to a friend already). From looking at a few screenshots on the web it doesn't seem that they have moved beyond 720P for the UI. I guess I'll have to decide if I can cope with that. I've already decided I can't cope without a YouTube app! :-)


https://www.fastcompany.com/3051880/rok ... g-tv-boxes says:

The new (Roku 4) player will also allow for a resolution boost to 1080p for the main Roku interface (other models use 720p for everything but the actual video streams), and Roku promises faster software overall due to the Roku 4’s quad-core processor. It supports the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, and also includes optical audio output.

It sounds like I'll be happy with Roku 4 or better.
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wowlookplanes
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:38 am

Yep, I've got Roku 4s (they might even be Ultras...can't remember) now and they're a big jump from the 3 both in terms of 4K content and in the UX (but lesser so on the UX). What is really neat is the UX improvements that Roku has enabled for their developers with the 4. So you might not notice a massive difference in the Roku UX, but you'll notice a HUGE difference in the channels that developers are creating. Pre-roll video in Netflix, multiple layers of menus in Amazon, etc. The Youtube app is MUCH more user-friendly than it used to be.

My new units, for some reason, occasionally reset when I try to open up the Amazon app for the first time in a given day; not sure why. I do know that the hardware architecture from 3 to 4 was a pretty big shift, in order to accommodate 4K. Perhaps an overheating thing or something...
 
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Re: Google vs. Amazon Feud Grows: No YouTube on FireTV

Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:06 am

wowlookplanes wrote:
Yep, I've got Roku 4s (they might even be Ultras...can't remember) now and they're a big jump from the 3 both in terms of 4K content and in the UX (but lesser so on the UX). What is really neat is the UX improvements that Roku has enabled for their developers with the 4. So you might not notice a massive difference in the Roku UX, but you'll notice a HUGE difference in the channels that developers are creating. Pre-roll video in Netflix, multiple layers of menus in Amazon, etc. The Youtube app is MUCH more user-friendly than it used to be.

My new units, for some reason, occasionally reset when I try to open up the Amazon app for the first time in a given day; not sure why. I do know that the hardware architecture from 3 to 4 was a pretty big shift, in order to accommodate 4K. Perhaps an overheating thing or something...

Very nice. Sounds like I'll like it a lot.

Re: Amazon app and restarting: yes, there's lots of threads about Roku and overheating. One Amazon review ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-revi ... B015YF5YIS ) went in to some interesting approaches to fixing it.

I find with Fire TV if I run YouTube overnight then the video stutters, but a reset fixes it. My guess ( as a software developer ) is they have some issue with memory management, because a reboot fixes it immediately.

I was hoping to find a way to tell the box to reboot every day at a specified time to clear it up, but never did figure out a good way to do that.

Anyway, thanks for the info!
The gun is NOT a precious symbol of freedom
It is a deadly cancer on American society
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