Amazon has deactivated the YouTube app on the company’s Fire TV sticks four days ahead of schedule. According to FastCompany, Amazon pulled a “you can’t fire me, I quit!” move, and killed the YouTube app four days before Google was planning to do so. Instead of opening the app, clicking the YouTube icon on a Fire TV now redirects users to a built-in internet browser, which people can theoretically use to access YouTube via the standard web portal.
Google announced earlier this month that it would stop supporting YouTube on Fire TV starting January 1st. The company cited violations of its terms of service as one reason, but the dispute really relates to Amazon and Google’s ongoing competition over streaming services: Amazon doesn’t make Prime Video available on Chromecast, and hasn’t historically sold the Chromecast devices on its website, although that might be about to change.
Amazon clearly sees the value of having YouTube on the Fire TV, as it’s already implemented a workaround. Users are encouraged to install the Silk or Firefox browsers, which let you navigate to YouTube.com and watch videos that way. It’s an imperfect solution, though: it doesn’t let you cast videos from your phone, leaving you to type in search terms through the clunky graphical interface. The web browser also lacks some of the playback optimization of the dedicated app, meaning video quality likely won’t be as good as you’re used to.
Hopefully, Google and Amazon will be able to sort out their differences in the near future, and the two ecosystems will start playing nice with each other. Until then, you’ll either need a Fire TV and a Chromecast, or just buy a Roku.