Potential ways to bypass Google’s YouTube block on the Amazon Fire TV

I’m hopeful that Amazon and Google will come to an agreement that keeps the current YouTube app for Fire TV devices functioning before Google actually blocks access on January 1st, 2018. Amazon’s official statement on the matter ends with “we hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible,” so they’re hopeful as well. If Google does block YouTube on the Fire TV, I’m confident that there will be ways to bypass the block and continue watching YouTube videos on Fire TV devices. Read more ›

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Amazon makes the YouTube “app” for the Fire TV, not Google, and that’s very important

Now that Google has decided to block access to YouTube on the Fire TV starting next year, there are many heated discussions about who’s to blame, Amazon or Google, for this mess. I’m not here to point fingers, but I do want to clear up something that many arguers are getting wrong. The YouTube app for Fire TV devices is made by Amazon, not Google. That is a very important distinction that highlights how far Google is going to combat Amazon and hurt consumers in the process. Read more ›

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Amazon restores YouTube access on Echo Show and adds access to Vimeo and Dailymotion

A couple of months ago, Google blocked access to YouTube on the Amazon Echo Show because the device’s voice optimised interface violated their terms of use. I never got around to writing about it when it happened because I was busy attending to more important matters. Today, Amazon has restored access to YouTube videos on the Echo Show. While they were at it, they also added access to videos from Vimeo and Dailymotion. Read more ›

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Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick now support Voice Search for YouTube

If the uncovered Silk browser for Fire TV is any indication, Amazon will enable voice input for Fire TV apps in the future. That might still be a long time away, so in the mean time, Amazon has made voice search possible for one of the most popular apps. With the new 5.2.4.1 software update, you can now use voice search to search YouTube on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Read more ›

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YouTube unveiled their upcoming $35 a month TV service

Google’s video site has unveiled YouTube TV, an upcoming streaming TV service to compete with Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and others. YouTube TV will launch this Spring “in the largest U.S. markets” with a base package of 44 channels for $35 per month. Read more ›

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YouTube takes big step to becoming a social network with new Community Tab

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YouTube just rolled out a new feature that pushes the platform even further into the realm of being a full blown social network. Called simply the “Community Tab,” the new feature allows YouTube channels to post not only videos, but also images, gifs, links, and text. Posts will appear in a subscriber’s stream of content alongside new videos, which essentially turns the subscription feed into a news feed like you find on social networks. Users can thumbs up/down and comment on posts, again, much like you do on Facebook. Right now the community tab is only available to specific channels that have been invited to have early access. Updated YouTube apps will be rolling out that let you select whether you want to see just videos in your subscription stream or videos and posts.

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YouTube Red takes on Amazon and Netflix, while BitTorrent takes on YouTube

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The landscape of streaming video is constantly shifting, with the major players constantly going after each others established markets. Amazon Video, which primarily offers big-budget content, has started dipping its toes into YouTube’s pool of self-submitted content, so it was inivetiable that YouTube would return the gesture. When YouTube Red first launched, it’s primary value proposition was ad-free YouTube, coupled with a streaming music service. Now the New York Times is reporting that YouTube Red has picked up it’s first big-budget television series. The show will be based on the movie Step Up and share the same name. Lionsgate will produce a 10-episode season, to be made available exclusively to YouTube Red subscribers. This marks YouTube’s first foray into original programming, an area dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

On the other side of the streaming landscape, BitTorrent has launched a new streaming service called BitTorrent Now, aimed at taking a piece of YouTube’s pie of ad-supported streaming content. BitTorrent Now will arrive in the form of phone, tablet, and TV apps that stream music and video using BitTorrent’s file sharing technology. Artists and content creators will be able to make their work available on the platform for free with ads or by requiring a payment. An Android app is already available, with an iOS and Apple TV app coming soon. BitTorrent says apps for other platforms will follow, so hopefully we’ll see a Fire TV app released shortly.

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Apps on Fire TV 2 can now output 4K Ultra HD all the time — YouTube first to do so

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Ever since the Fire TV 2 first launched, its 4K capabilities have been limited to video playback. Apps like Netflix display their interface at 1080p to take advantage of the 60fps framerate, which results in a smoother navigation experience, while switching to 4K only when a video is played. This is because 4K output on the Fire TV 2 is limited to 30fps, which could result in a stuttery feeling interface if it were used all the time for an app with many moving elements. It appears that, with the new 5.2.1.0 software update, developers can now choose to display their apps in 4K all the time if they wish. The newly updated YouTube app, which now supports 4K content, is the first Fire TV app to opt for an always-4K approach. Read more ›

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YouTube app for the Fire TV to gain 4K Ultra HD support

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Slipped in among the announcement for the new Alexa features coming to the Fire TV, Amazon has revealed that the YouTube app for the Fire TV will finally gain support for 4K UHD video playback. Owners of the Fire TV 2 with a 4K capable television will be able to stream YouTube’s full 4K library in all of its glory. With YouTube being among the largest providers of streaming 4K content, not being able to take advantage of that content has been a sore spot for Fire TV 2 owners ever since the device launched, but not for much longer.

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YouTube looking to add Movies and TV Shows to subscription service

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YouTube’s subscription service dosen’t currently offer much for it’s $9.99 per month fee, but that may soon change. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is reportedly trying to secure the rights to movies and TV shows to stream to their YouTube Red subscribers. The move would rival Netflix and Amazon’s on-demand video services. YouTube executives Susanne Daniels, former head of MTV’s programming, and Kelly Merryman, former Netflix executive, have been meeting with movie studios and production companies in recent months, says The WSJ. Sources say YouTube is focusing on rights to newer content, as opposed to older movies and TV shows which make up the bulk of subscription streaming video service catalogues. Even though the Fire TV’s YouTube app isn’t as full featured as the ones you find on phones and tablets, it does work with YouTube Red, so it will likely grant subscribers access to these movies and TV shows if YouTube’s negotiations pan out.

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