Streaming companies don’t care or know about Amazon Fling

Fling is Amazon’s forgotten answer to Google’s Cast protocol used by the Chromecast. It allows apps to send video and other content from a mobile device to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. My buddy Jared Newman just published a good article about Amazon Fling that you should read, where he examines the current state of the service and talks to streaming companies, like Plex, CBS, and Pluto TV, and asks them why they don’t support Amazon Fling. The consensus seems to be that they either see no point in supporting Fling when they already have a native Fire TV app, or that they just aren’t aware of Amazon Fling.

It would be great if all major streaming service providers supported Amazon Fling so that we had the option to use a mobile device to start playing content on the Fire TV, but I understand the focus on native apps first. I guess it’s not too bad of a problem to have that Fire TV apps are good enough that developers feel they don’t need their mobile apps to support the experience. If the app ecosystem on the Fire TV was insufficient, then Amazon Fling would certainly be a much more important service for Amazon to push.

However, Amazon Fling allows developers to send much more than just streaming video to the Fire TV. The app Karaoke Party, for example, uses it to turn a smartphone into a Fire TV microphone. It’s those types of uses of Fling that interested me the most, but unfortunately, other developers haven’t come up with any other unique uses of Fling.

With so many other ways to link a mobile device to a TV, I guess it’s no surprise Amazon Fling hasn’t taken off. Do you care about using a mobile device to select content for your Fire TV? Let me know in the comments.

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20 comments
  1. tech3475 says:

    I wonder how many prefer ‘fling/casting’ over native apps?

    At work I got a customer to switch from a Chromecast to a Fire Stick when they found out that it had a native Netflix app and remote control.

  2. Craig says:

    I’ve always wanted the option of casting content, as well as a native TV app…especially when it comes to visiting someone else who has a Fire TV and you want to stream your own content to their TV without messing up their Fire TV set-up or having to logging in.

    But here’s my paramount problem with Fling to begin with, above all else… Why isn’t Amazon themselves using it for Prime Video (instead of DIAL), Prime Music, Prime Photos and Audible to Fire TV? Until Amazon uses it for their own products and services? Why should/would other developers support it? Google supports Play Movies and Play Music to Google Cast on Android TV along with the Play native apps. Supporting your own casting-protocol in-house is the first step. Without that? Where’s the confidence in it for anyone else to even wanna support it, Elias?

    • Craig says:

      Obviously there is a market for people casting content, otherwise the Chromecast wouldn’t have been the success it has been and all those big names (HBO, Netflix) wouldn’t have jumped on so quickly as they did. Which makes me think the companies that actually know about Fling? Are just being lazy about supporting Fling. And yeah, since Amazon just decided to toss the API out there and barely support/push it? I’m sure most devs don’t know about it.

    • mGuest says:

      Top notch reply Craig. I don’t want to decide between native app or casting. I want both! Because I’ve got different use cases. It sucks that Amazon don’t give an option to fling music, video from phone to Fire TV. When Amazon neglect their own fling protocol why others should jump on it?

  3. Y314K says:

    Maybe Amazon should start by fixing their “Mirroring” option. Then maybe they will be taken seriously.

    • Craig says:

      How are they going to fix it? If you’re talking about Mira-Cast? The specification is fundamentally crap and there’s nothing Amazon can really do about it. It’ll always be flaky. And even if they created their own proprietary screen-mirroring protocol? They could only ever support it on their own Fire tablets…less maybe they worked with the OEMs who make their Prime phones to implement it into their Android firmwares.

      • Y314K says:

        At the very least letting different versions of Android at the very least connect.

      • HeyRadar says:

        Miracast is dead. Google put a fork in it when they disabled it in Android 5.0.

        It only works on newer devices if the manufacturer re-enable it. Which most are not.

        • Y314K says:

          Well me and a friend both own the same phone. Same model, Android 6 & FW. He has a FTVS1 on the latest FW & I have FTV1 on latest PreRooted FW. Or phone sees our phones & can connect. But not on my FTV1.

          That is what I meant with at least letting us connect. When FireOS 3 was the FTV FW every device could connect to it.

          FireOS is Amazon’s version of Android. So stop blaming Google if you include a Miracast function but do not do anything to fix it on your version of Android.

  4. Justin says:

    Chromecast is more of an accepted standard though I guess Amazon wouldn’t be able to use it.

    Either they need to push their fling or move to a different technology.

  5. JV says:

    I thought later versions of Android dropped miracast. So how is Amazon going to carry it over? Maybe they switch to Fling.

  6. Dean says:

    I say let it die (Fling). As long as Amazon has Fling, they won’t allow any other competing apps that enable ChromeCast functionality. Maybe if it dies, it will open up for app developers to write a ChromeCast app for FireTV.

    I wish there was a ChromeCast enabling app for the FireTV, several times I’ve wanted to use it without the hassle of switching inputs to the HDMI where the ChromeCast is connected.

    • There are several apps that allow mirroring and casting in the ftv marketplaces already.

      One app that was really interesting was a Chromecast receiver/emulator called ‘youmap receiver’. It worked great, but I believe Google told the dev to cease and desist. (This was never in any marketplace, just had a demo APK.)

      The protocol for Chromecast is now much different, more secure, and relies heavily on play services framework I think?

      Amazon likely doesn’t care enough, about either scenario.

  7. Brian says:

    Yeah I agree let it die, it really irks me when I want to use Chromecast protocol on my Fire HD 8 to my Vizio P-series TV and is mysteriously not there. Only FTV options show up in cast device listing. So can only launch to native FTV apps.

  8. derrick says:

    it’s android. just use join in with chromecast. I have no idea what fling is and i’ve had a firetv for like 10 months

  9. gussieg says:

    damn, i went and bought a fire7 specifically to cast to firestick, but it doesnt. useless. the blurb was very coy about the casting. i vaguely recall seeing fling in other amazon blurb, but thats it.

  10. felixlong says:

    The most weak of Amazon’s Fling is it don’t support DRM. this is why streaming companies ignore Amazon’s Fling just as they ignore DLNA.

  11. HeyRadar says:

    You can still ‘cast’ many website videos using apps like Tubio.

  12. Ujn Hunter says:

    The only time I’ve ever even tried to use Cast or Fling or Mirror or whatever… the Apps have always blocked me saying “Content Blocked” or some such crap non-sense. All these lock and key services are really not worth the hassle of even trying to make sense of. Let them all die.

  13. Craig says:

    Just to clarify here…

    Google Cast (the casting technology found within Chromecast) is proprietary/closed and owned by Google. It is rolled up into “Google Play Services” libraries which are extra libraries that Android itself is not required to have, but does severely limit the functionality of Android without em (aka Google Maps/Messaging Push services which most apps need to function). Google Cast is found in Google Play Services and Google requires any company who uses it (along with the Play Store, Play Music, Play Movies and YouTube on Mobile) to load those ALL those apps on their devices and conform to their basic UI guidelines for Android. Most OEM’s license Google Play Services when they make their devices, be it Samsung, Blu, LG, Xiaomi, Motorola, HTC, Nokia.

    Amazon however is taking Android and stripping out all the Google Play Services functionality (like the Google Play Store), because they want to be the predominant place you buy $$$ apps and content on top of redesigning the entire experience of UI which is far beyond what Google allows or wants, but is perfectly legal given the open way Android itself was designed. Hence why Fire TV and Fire tablets do not include Play Services and there-in Google Cast support. Amazon will not license Google’s crown jewels, hence they will not get Google Cast support, hence Chromecast will not work. The libraries needed aren’t present in Amazon’s build of Android on Fire TV or tablets because Amazon is doing their own thing with Android that other companies aren’t doing.

    If Amazon were to license Google Play Services for Google Cast? Google would fundamentally require the Fire TV to become Android TV with Google Play Store access and that’s not happening. Because the point of Amazon’s existence is to buy content through the Amazon App Store and Prime Movies/Music on Fire TV. Not Google Play Store/Movies/Music on Fire TV. Amazon is a retailer $$$$$ first and foremost and they’re not interested in giving Google part of the pie very easily.

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