How to watch YouTube TV on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

Due to the ongoing spat between Amazon and Google, it’s unlikely that YouTube TV will officially be available on Amazon Fire TV devices anytime soon. Note that I’m referring to the YouTube TV paid subscription cable service, not regular YouTube, the free video sharing site, which is still and has always been accessible on Fire TV devices. Fire TV owners who are subscribed to Google’s over-the-top streaming subscription service have tried sideloading the official YouTube TV app, taken from Android TV devices, onto their Fire TV devices but haven’t had luck getting it to work. Now, an unofficial YouTube TV app, made by an independent third-party developer, has appeared that works on Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks. Here’s how to install and configure the app.

This unofficial YouTube TV app is an offshoot of the YouTube app SmartYouTube, which is a client for streaming regular YouTube videos. The developer released this YouTube TV version of his YouTube app back in February. (The “Orig” APK is for YouTube, while the “Vlive” APK is for YouTube TV.) While the YouTube app has been regularly updated, the YouTube TV app hasn’t been updated in several months.

For this reason, it’s unknown for how long this YouTube TV app will work on Fire TV devices or if it will continue to be developed. A thread on XDA contains several people who are successfully using the app as of a few days ago, so if the app stops working in the future, that thread would be a good place to check for possible solutions.

Lastly, since the app is very unofficial, don’t expect it to be issue free or full featured. For starters, 1080p and 60 fps video don’t appear to be working through the app, so you’ll be limited to 480p and 30 fps streaming. Several people have said they’ve needed to clear the app’s cache and data, as well as reboot their device, to get it working again when having issues. If you’re okay with these issues and limitations, here’s how to install and configure the app on a Fire TV device.

  1. Enable “Apps from Unknown Sources” on your Fire TV if you haven’t done so already.
  2. Install my Downloader app from the Amazon appstore and launch the app.
  3. Enter the following URL on the app’s home screen to download and install the YouTube TV app:
    http://bit.ly/ytvforfire
  4. Launch the “Live YouTube TV” app after it is done installing and select the “1080 MiTV and legacy devices” option on the app’s configuration screen.
  5. Select “Get Crosswalk” when prompted and allow the Crosswalk app to download and install. (Crosswalk is a development library that the app requires.)
  6. You don’t need to run the Crosswalk app, so select “Done” when it finishes installing and you’ll be back in the YouTube TV app.
  7. Activate the YouTube TV app and you’re done. If you have issues watching content, be sure the app is set to 480p, which is done through the 3-dot menu. You can also try rebooting your Fire TV or clearing the YouTube TV app’s data/cache if you continue to have issues.

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33 comments
  1. AFTVnews says:

    NOTE:
    This post is about YouTube TV, not YouTube.

    YouTube TV = $40 per month paid subscription cable TV service.

    YouTube = Free video hosting/sharing website.

    Comments about YouTube will be (and have been) deleted to avoid confusion.

  2. JFC says:

    I have a stock FTV 2 box and am a YTTV subscriber.

    I installed the YTTV app here just fine onto my FTV, linked it to my YTTV account via Google and then successfully launched the app on my FTV. After launching, it brought up the regular YTTV program guide screens.

    However, whenever I tried to play anything, I’d just get a black screen with the message “Loading,” and nothing ever plays.

    One difference between my experience and Elias’ post. After I installed the YTTV app, I never got any prompt to allow installation of the Crosswalk package mentioned and I’m not sure why.

    I see the Crosswalk website you’ve linked above, but I’m not sure which of the many different versions of their software that I ought to be installing on my FTV to get the YTTV app to hopefully start working.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I would first go in and check that the app is set to 480p. If that doesn’t work, try clearing the app’s data and cache from the Fire TV Settings > Applications menu.

      If it still doesn’t work, try installing Crosswalk manually by entering this into Downloader: bit.ly/crosswalkforfire

      • JFC says:

        Thanks for the follow-up Elias! Nope, in my case, still not working.

        Before my first post, I had gone thru the restart and clearing data and cache suggestions as per your post, and those didn’t help.

        Then, after your followup post above, I manually installed Crosswalk, then cleared cache and data, relinked to YTTV again, and then tried again to the same negative result.

        Each and every time, I get the program guide screens, the live screen and the library screen. And when I try to play any particular show, I get the screen for that show, but no video content plays, and the text “loading” just stays there permanently.

        Tried changing wifi connections to a different IP and that didn’t make any difference. But the one thing I do know is, I have a valid and working YTTV account, because I watch it on the same TV with the same internet connection using my also connected MiBox and the official YTTV app for it.

        One thing I’m not sure about re your guidance above. When I fresh install the YTTV app here, I don’t get a screen with any option for 480p. I get the same screen I saw from this same developer for his regular YT app, and that’s showing just four resolution choices, 720, 1080 and then two 4K versions. I also don’t see any 3 dot option anywhere in his app. Perhaps that’s part of my problem…

        • JFC says:

          BTW, if you mean the three dot menu item in the app once you’re in the playing window for a particular show, where it also has options for Stats for Nerds, Close Caption and Video Quality settings, I see and can access that sub menu.

          The video quality setting comes up automatically showing HD in my case, and when I click that to adjust the video quality setting in the show playing window, I get a right edge of the screen pop-up window titled Quality with NO setting options listed, just an entirely blank window under the Quality title bar.

        • King Nothing says:

          Not all launchers (“resolution options”) use Crosswalk. Only the 1080 and one of the 4K options (I don’t remember which one) use Crosswalk. Personally I always used the 720 version without Crosswalk installed when using the normal SmartYouTube app. But when using this version that doesn’t use Crosswalk, I wasn’t able to playback my purchased titles because of DRM encryption. This only worked with the 1080 launcher that uses Crosswalk. Same should be true for YouTube TV, as all streams should be DRM protected as well. So if you don’t see the Crosswalk prompt, be sure to selected the 1080 version.

          • King Nothing says:

            According to a post on Xda the 4K versions both use Exoplayer. So I was wrong here. So the 1080 launcher option is the only one that uses Crosswalk and because of this this will be the only option that will work. So no matter what resolution your TV or screen is using, select the 1080 launcher at first start up.

          • JFC says:

            Yup, see my final post below. That probably explains why I didn’t get the Crosswalk prompt.

            I thought, though, the first time I tried the install, I did choose the 1080p setting as per Elias’s directions.

            But now after probably a half dozen attempted setups of the app to finally get it to work, I’m not sure I can remember for sure WHICH was my very first video res setting choice.

            So I guess the lesson is, in the YTTV app setup here, regardless of what resolution TV you are using, always choose the 1080p reso in the setup screen, and then later, once you open a YTTV player window for any show, go into the three dots menu (click down once on the remote directional ring to get there), choose the little “HD” video quality icon, and then set video quality setting for the app player in the popup “Quality” menu to AUTO 480p.

  3. pawdog says:

    There was a time I would have run straight to that link and installed the apk but it just not worth the trouble anymore. Just not feeling it.

  4. JFC says:

    Ahh…got it, finally.

    I think, in my recent attempts, I set the YTTV app on its opening screen to the 720p setting, because the TV I’m using it on is a 720p TV. And when I did that, the three dot Video Quality setting menu in the YTTV player window gave me no settings to choose.

    So now, after installing Crosswalk and everything else, I went back and started the YTTV app from scratch with all the settings cleared, and this time chose the 1080 setting at the app’s opening setup screen (even though my TV is 720p). Once I did that, as before, the app opened fine still and showed me all the program guide screens.

    But this time, after starting out at 1080p in the app setup, once I went to the 3 dot menu in the YTTV player submenu and chose the Video Quality settings submenu, now suddenly I see a list of 5 different video quality settings, starting with AUTO (480p), which I chose, followed by 480p, 360p, 240p and 144p.

    And the Auto 480p setting played just fine on my 720b bedroom TV. This is one of those times when it’s advantageous to not always be using the fancier, higher res televisions… :-)

    Cheers and thanks!

    • Vladic says:

      may be a dumb question, but is the quality going to be good if you’re watching on a high-res tv with 480p resolution through the app?

      • JFC says:

        Just an update on this:
        These days, I’m mostly using this YTTV unofficial app with a Fire TV box 2nd gen and a full HD 1080P TV. With the app’s video setting set to 480P, at least with my TV and my internet connection, regular programming viewing is fine.
        The lesser sharpness gets more noticeable when you have fast action scenes like live sports where, again, at least on my setup, the on-screen image seems to pixelate some. But overall, it’s certainly viewable.
        I did have a recent app problem where suddenly, the menu elements and video thumbnails in the app’s display screens started appearing VERY tiny on the screen, even though when clicking a video to play, the playing video then went full screen and played fine.
        In the end, I couldn’t figure out what had caused there or how to fix it, other than going into the Fire TV’s Settings and Manage Apps menu, deleting the data and cache for the YTTV app, and then relinking the app to my Google/YTTV account. Once I did that, the on-screen menu elements returned to normal/full size.
        On my setup, when I go into the Stats for Nerds display while YTTV is playing via the app, with the app’s video setting set to 480P, I get stats for the video that say 854×480 at 30 fps.
        In the app’s video settings menu, the highest video rate available that’s listed is 480p. All the other video rates are lesser. Originally, once I reset the app, the first video menu I saw was present to “360P Auto” with a 480P available. I changed the setting to 480P, and after that, the menu listed it as “480P Auto.”

    • Sue says:

      Stupid Question – but where is the 3 dot menu? I am having the same problem

      • JFC says:

        To get to the 3 dot menu in the YouTube TV unofficial app:

        You launch the app, and click to play any video — even if the actual video doesn’t start playing at that point.

        Then, click down once on the circular control ring on the Fire TV remote, which will surface a submenu beneath the player info on the video screen.

        The three dot icon will be to the far right of that sub menu, two clicks right on the circular control ring.

  5. JFC says:

    BTW, just want to pass along a shout-out to the app developer for doing a really nice thing in bringing YTTV to the Fire TV — even though the stupid feud between Google and Amazon has otherwise prevented that in an official way.

    Basically, I use YTTV as my main cable TV OTT replacement service. So once I worked my way thru all the other streaming service trials and finally decided to stay with YTTV some time back, I basically had stopped using my Fire TV entirely. And first went to using a Roku, which had a YTTV app, and later my MiBox Android TV once YTTV arrived there.

    But really, overall, I probably like my Fire TV box and all the apps I use on it better than either the Roku or Android TV alternatives. The one thing that was forcing me elsewhere was the Fire TV’s lack of YTTV access. But now with that solved, at least in a low res sense for YTTV on the Fire TV, I’m OK to swap back to my Fire TV 2 as my primary streaming device!

    But when the NFL season arrives and I want to watch sports, I’ll probably click my TV input button to device no. 2, my MiBox, and watch my NFL in high res via the official YTTV app. Unless the developer here manages to solve that HD issue in the meantime, or Amazon and Google somehow settle their feud.

  6. JFC says:

    Just a last follow-up on this topic from me — today, I got around to trying to install this unofficial YTTV app onto my Fire Stick 2 that is plugged into a full HD TV. And not surprisingly, the install didn’t go smoothly.

    Basically, I finally got it working on my Fire Stick 2, but the video quality appears noticeably blurry and grainy, which is I guess what you might expect with a max 480p stream trying to display on a full HD 1080p TV. Whereas at least on the 720p TV attached to my Fire TV Box 2 as mentioned above, the video quality appears quite OK.

    In the case of the Fire Stick 2 install, I for sure started out with the app install set to the 1080p profile in setup. I never was prompted to install the Crosswalk add-on, but it apparently was installed on my system somewhere along the process without me ever seeing or consenting to it.

    The first couple attempts at playing YTTV content, the video on the screen was scrambled, and I had flashing gray boxes moving across the screen. So I exited and restarted a couple times, and then it finally seemed to get better and would at least play content.

    However, on the Fire Stick 2 install, even in the player window, when I clicked the 3 dots submenu and chose the small HD icon to choose video quality, clicking that HD icon did NOTHING, didn’t bring up the Video Quality menu like I had experienced on my Fire TV 2 install. No menu, no video quality settings to select, it just stayed stuck showing ‘HD” and yet the content played on my screen… badly.

  7. Mike says:

    Why am I all the sudden getting a forbidden error

  8. Roger says:

    I can’t get it to scroll down using the amazon fire remote, as suggestions?

  9. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much!

  10. SAC says:

    Regarding the video quality settings…

    Can I set it on just “480,” or must it be set on “AUTO 480”?

    Thanks!!!

  11. Jessi says:

    Ohhhh it works! Ok here’s the deal. I have a Vizio “smart TV” which is in a spare room- not as Smart as my Samsung. I wanted YTTV there. No luck, now Firestick. Followed the directions- I too, got a black screen with just “Loading.” Was wondering about the whole 3 dot…but from the black Loading screen, I just scrolled down randomly, and there popped up the menu!! I toggled right to the “…” , Clicked on “HD” and changed to 480!! Now the shows are playing!! Woohoo!!! Thank you!!! they’re not great quality, but it works! And also, switching channels takes a few seconds longer (meaning the black Loading screen stays on a little long to make you think it froze again, but it’s just slow)

  12. Greg says:

    Oh my God, this took way too long too figure out but thanks to Jessi I get it. Click any channel or recording. The push Ok on the remote. 3 dots, quality, then click 480 and it work fine. A little slow to load but I can watch everything!!!!

  13. Jason says:

    I found the instructions and it works great. My question is how to find it again after the stick put yourself to sleep and reverts to the normal Home screen.

  14. B says:

    Thank you so much! Followed what JFC did and it started working!

  15. Karen says:

    Look in your apps section. I clicked on that and it was in my list

  16. FerrisUML says:

    Works perfect! Thanks!!!

  17. elbo says:

    I get: Playback Error
    Sorry, there was an error licensing this video. Please report this ID to help us fix the problem.

  18. Gillian says:

    Thanks so much! Your directions were perfect, and my YTV app is now installed & working just fine.

    You rock; thanks again!

  19. JFC says:

    I’ve found a couple things in dealing with the unofficial YTTV app on the Fire TV over the months — things you might try if you’re having problems.

    –Make sure when you do the initial install and setup of the YTTV app, you choose the 1080p resolution setting in the app’s initial setup menu, even if your TV has a higher or lower display resolution. And then once installed and authenticated, make sure via the 3 dot menu in the app that the app’s playing resolution is set to 480p.

    –For subsequent problems, go to the app’s menu in the Fire TV settings / applications menu, and clear the cache first for the YTTV app, try playing again, and then if that doesn’t work, also clear the data for the YTTV app. Clearing the app’s data setting will require you to re-authenticate the app via a PC or other browser.

    –Periodically, I’m not sure why, the app will refuse to load and play any videos, just get a black screen. And when that happens, a number of times, I’ve ended up going down into the 3 dot menu and finding that somehow, its setting has changed to a higher res like 720 or 1080p. (In my case, that may have happened when I unplugged my Fire TV box or stick at some point.) Once I reset the YTTV’s player setting to 480p via the app’s 3 dot menu, then the videos begin playing fine again.

    –In terms of getting to the 3 dot menu, sometimes, if you’re having a problem, when you click to play a video, it won’t play and you’ll just get a seemingly black/blank screen. But even in that situation, if you click down once on the Fire TV remote’s circular control ring, it will still pop up a player submenu that will still display the 3 dot menu.

    –YouTube TV, the service, gets its location information from the browser you log into your Google account with as part of the initial authentication process (browser geolocation). And not your internet or wifi IP address, as some other streaming services do. On the Fire TV, the YTTV app will keep that initial browser geolocation setting until and unless its changed by a subsequent browser log-in location update.

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