Amazon has just updated the YouTube app for Fire TV devices, which they make themselves. The updated app now prompts users to load YouTube in the Firefox or Silk web browsers. This appears to be a preemptive move ahead of Google’s decision to block access to YouTube on Fire TV devices on January 1st.
The YouTube app for the Fire TV now displays the message you see above and nothing else. It no longer allows you to access YouTube through the app. Selecting either the Silk or Firefox options presented loads youtube.com/tv in each browser. If you select a browser that you don’t have installed, you’ll be taken to the standard app installation screen where you can install the browser.
It does not appear as though Google has blocked access on their end yet. If you sideload the previous version of Amazon’s YouTube app on the Fire TV, it still displays the same message informing users that the app will no longer work after January 1st, but the app itself is still fully functional. It appears that Amazon would rather control how the app removes access to YouTube, instead of waiting to see what Google does on their end in a few days.
If you want to squeeze out a few more days of using the old YouTube app, you can turn off automatic app updates, so that you keep the old YouTube app, on the Fire TV under Settings > Applications > Appstore. If your YouTube app has already updated to the new version, you can uninstall it and sideload the old app using my Downloader app and entering the URL
Even though Amazon began selling Google’s Chromecast again and has been in “productive discussions” with Google, it seems as though an agreement between the two companies will not be reached before the January 1st deadline.
It’s still unknown to what extent Google will go to block access to YouTube on Fire TV Devices. The primary YouTube app for Fire TV devices has a unique identifier, called a user agent, which is what Google is using to display their message that access to YouTube will be cut off. Accessing YouTube through other means, such as a web browser or other YouTube app, on the Fire TV currently does not display the same warning message. That does not mean that Google can’t or won’t block YouTube access through those other methods on January 1st. We’ll just have to wait and see.