Comedy Central has just brought their content to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick by way of a new official Comedy Central app. The app is available on all Fire TV models, new and old. The app allows you to login with a cable provider to unlock all available videos, but there is a small amount of free content, including full TV show episodes, even if you don’t activate the app with a cable provider. Regardless of whether you’re logged in with a cable provider or not, you’re going to see ads, both at the start of and during full episodes. There are also numerous short clips throughout the app, which are all available without activation.
The number of episodes available, both with and without activating the app, is a bit inconsistent from show to show. If the app is activated, some shows had every episode ever made available, like all 3 seasons of Chappelle’s Show. Other shows only had all episodes from the latest season, like Tosh.0, while others had as little as just one episode available, like Comedy Underground with Dave Attell. There are similar inconsistencies with free content that doesn’t require activation. Some shows had no free episodes available, while others had several free episodes.
The app is divided into four main sections: Today, Shows, Stand Up, and Me. The Today section, shown in the image above, acts as a Home screen and gives a bit of access to all of the different content. At the top of the Today screen is a Featured row of content. These are new full episodes that have been made available recently. This featured content row is the only place in the app that doesn’t indicate whether the content is free or requires activating the app to watch. The rest of the app always places a small icon of a key next to the episode title to indicate the episode is not available without activation. Scrolling down the Today section will take you to rows of shows, stand-up specials, and short form videos available through the app.
The Shows section of the app simply lists a grid of all the different series available to watch. There’s no way to know how many episodes, if any, are available to watch without digging into each show. There are currently 37 different shows available, with a mix of both ongoing current shows and older shows that have ended.
Selecting a show will list the available content related to that show. At the top is an Add To Favorites button that makes the show appear in the Me section of the app. Full episodes are listed first, followed by clips, and then an exclusives section, which I assume is extra content only available through the app. Playing content works well. Most videos tended to start immediately, but at a very low bitrate, then improved after a few seconds. You can thankfully play and pause videos using the Play/Pause button on the remote, but unfortunately, you can’t fast-forward or rewind using the remote. For that you have to use the onscreen buttons that come up when you press the directional buttons on the remote. This is likely so you can’t skip past ads, since the onscreen fast-forward and rewind buttons are removed during ads.
The next section of the app is dedicated to stand-Up specials. None of the specials were available without activating, but there are short clips from the specials that can be viewed for free. Even though there are about 10 specials listed on the page, some of them oddly contained no videos when you selected them. It literally displayed an empty page with the stand-up special’s banner at the top.
Lastly is a Me section, which is actually a very nice feature in the app. If you mark a show as a favorite, it’ll appear at the top of the Me section. Also, any episode you’ve started watching but haven’t finished, regardless of whether the show is marked as a favorite or not, will appear in the Me section. So many apps from TV networks lack any kind of customization, so it’s nice to see an area like the Me section added to make getting to your favorite content easier.
Like most apps from TV networks, the settings area is uneventful. You’ll be able to login and logout of your cable provider here, and turn closed captions on and off.
Overall, Comedy Central has put out a decent app, relative to other TV network apps. My biggest gripe with the app is the inconsistency of available episodes. It’s nice to have a fixed policy of how many episodes will be made available and for how long, regardless of the show. The seemingly sporadic availability of episodes in the app makes it difficult to plan when to watch a show, since there’s no way to know how long episodes will remain in the app.