Turner Classic Movies app arrives on the Amazon Fire TV

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The promised Turner Classic Movies app has arrived in the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick appstore. This new made-for-TV app is currently only available on Fire TV devices and will be coming to other platforms later this year. The app requires a traditional cable subscription to activate the app and has no free or ad-supported content. Watch TCM, as the app is called, provides access to hundreds of classic movies, including film introductions by TCM Hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz. New movies are added to the catalogue each day as existing movies expire and become unavailable.

Update

4/21 7:25am It appears the TCM app has been pulled this morning and is no longer available from the Fire TV appstore.

turner-classic-movies-tcm-featured
The home screen of the app highlights featured content grouped together by a common characteristic like actor, genre, or theme. Currently there is a spotlight featuring the best of The Barrymore family films, as well as a tribute to Ann Miller, among other features.

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The movies section of the app is a straightforward long list of what appears to be all the movies currently available through the app. There is no way to sort the list or any indication of what order the list is being displayed, but I assume it is sorted by popularity.

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Selecting a movie brings up a decent amount of information about the film. There is a lengthy description as well as a list of the cast and crew. Each movie’s release date, rating, and duration is also present, but a nice touch by the app is also including the movies aspect ratio and expiration for when, I presume, the movie will no longer be available through the app. That last bit of information is one I’m sure we all wish more services provided.

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There is a themes section but, at the time I am writing this, it is reporting an error and doesn’t display anything. I assume this will list movies grouped together in a similar manner as the featured section on the home screen. The genre section of the app, as you’d expect, allows you to browse films by common genres like comedy, romance, and mystery. It also has less common genres like war, epic, and silent films.

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A feature many network apps often omit is the ability to search the catalogue. Thankfully the TCM app is not one of those and does have a decent search function that lets you query movies by titles, actors, descriptions, and more. Query input is done through the standard Fire TV on screen keyboard, which is usually preferable to a custom keyboard unique to the app.

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The app’s settings area is sparse, as is usually the case with streaming network apps like these. You’ll really only need to go in here once to activate the app and possibly to turn on closed captioning if you want.

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The app is great except for one major issue: I couldn’t get anything to play. Every movie I selected to play resulted in the same generic error message you see above. Hopefully TCM just has a few backend issues to iron out and this error, likely a result of the app being so new, will be fixed soon.

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42 comments
  1. Charlie says:

    Did you log in?

    “Watch TCM is available at no additional cost with your cable or satellite TV subscription (subject to availability). To view titles, you’ll need to login with your cable or satellite provider user name and password. Please note: not all cable and satellite providers are currently available with Watch TCM.”

    • AFTVnews says:

      Yes. If you don’t login, when you select to play any video, it takes you to the activation screen.

      I don’t personally have a cable subscription, but I have access to a few just so I can test apps like this.

      • John says:

        How long before they add Time Warner as a recognized cable provider?

      • Joe says:

        Can you please list the cable providers that will authenticate the Watch TCM app? Thanks!

        • smee says:

          If you go to the Watch TCM web page and try to watch anything, it will prompt you to log in.

          http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/

          On the login window that pops up, you can click “View All TV Service Providers” to see the list.

          [xfinity is on the main list. You will see it even before clicking on “View All TV Providers.”]

          • Joe says:

            Hi Smee. Thanks for your response. Since I do use the mobile version of the Watch TCM app, I am familiar with the provider page you have mentioned. But what I need to know is if my Xfinity credentials will work with the Fire TV app. For example, since Comcast and HGTV do not have an agreement for subscribers to use the Watch HGTV app on OTT streaming devices such as Fire TV, Roku, etc. I only have access to the mobile app platform on my android phone or directly on my desktop PC or iPad. So, if anyone can please list the cable providers who will authenticate the Fire TV version of the Watch TCM app, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

          • Terry Walker says:

            Neither XFINITY or Comcast is on any list

        • Donna says:

          I can’t get the app to activate. I have Directv. As far as I know, I have no code for Directv, but my internet provider is spectrum

  2. smee says:

    I would have been happy to see this when I still had a cable subscription – except it has never been available if you have Time Warner Cable.

    As far as I know, Sling accounts can’t be used to connect to Watch TCM either.

  3. HeyRadar says:

    When will they learn that these apps are pointless until they no longer require cable authentication.

  4. tom42 says:

    Useless for most

    No Time Warner Cable
    No Comcast
    No Charter

  5. Vulcan195 says:

    > app is great except for one major issue: I couldn’t get anything to play.

    Works with DISH subscription.

  6. Vulcan195 says:

    By the way, anyone notice a software bug that has existed since FireOS 5 was released … Pull up an App (any App) and go to “Similar Apps” … the first two apps on the list are ALWAYS the same.

  7. Rick says:

    So is the Fire TV the first non-mobile device to get this? I know Apple TV and Chromecast don’t have it and the mobile version of the app doesn’t support casting. Does it have the live streams the mobile app has? Does it all movies broadcast in the last 7 days like the mobile app has?

    • AFTVnews says:

      Yes, the Fir eTV is the first non-mobile device to get this app. Roku will likely be next. No word on the Apple TV.

      No it does not have any live streams.Yes, it appears to have all movies from the last 7 days with an expiration date on each movie to let you know when it will be removed.

  8. TechyChris says:

    I added this today, works fairly well, no live streams that I could see though. I’ve had the tablet version on my Kindle Fire for years and that has 2 live streams, East Coast and West Coast, not sure why they could not add those to this version? It’s a start…

    • Alan Zarky says:

      TechyChris: I have a Kindle Fire and can’t figure out how to run the Watch TCM app. It shows it as not compatible and although I’ve allowed nonapproved apps, I still can’t figure out what to do. I’ve checked the web; some folks say it can’t be done. Can you help me?

  9. Walker says:

    I’ve been waiting for this since first announcement, which I believe was over a year ago. Excited to see it finally appear!
    Notes: It will work with a Dish account. Must have a web account created at Dish website, first. Verify that works to view account info. Go to “settings” in TCM app; go to “login”; FireTV app will generate a code; open browser on your computer and go to http://www.tcm.com/activate…LOTS of ~hoops to jump through and opportunity for mistakes… but it does work after the convoluted login exercise. Maybe someone (hint) can document this process, because I may well have missed a detail.
    2nd Note: It does not check GPS location at this time(maybe it just can’t?), so should work if you {ahem} “borrow” a friend’s credentials for this specific purpose.

  10. Jack Astor says:

    No live streams, so it was instantly deleted.

    No live streams is pointless.

    • Vulcan195 says:

      Why is it pointless? The only category I insist on being live is – NEWS and SPORTS.

      Hulu, Netflix, HBOGO, Amazon Instant don’t offer live but have a huge subscriber base.

      Moreover, why would anyone insist on a live movie channel when the same live movie is already available on-demand within the app.

      Furthermore, there are millions of TIVO users like me who forgo watching stuff live so we can skip commercials and we can pause and rewind at will.

  11. Joe says:

    This is exciting news! TCM originally made the announcement of a Fire TV app on September 14, 2015 and now it’s a reality. I am considering buying a Fire TV Stick but want to be sure Xfinity (Comcast)is one of the accepted cable providers. Will this app accept my Xfinity credentials to authenticate sign on?

    • Joe says:

      Here is a screen shot of the cable and satellite providers that have partnered with TCM in allowing authentication of the Watch TCM Fire TV version at this time. Unfortunately, a few major providers such as Comcast, Charter and Time Warner Cable are not listed at this time. Thanks to Will McKinley for this information.

      • Joe says:

        Sorry folks. This page does not allow screenshots to be posted. But the ONLY providers that allow authentication at this time are AT&T U-Verse, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Optimum, Suddenlink, and Verizon. Hopefully as the app becomes more popular more providers will be added.

  12. Joe D says:

    Well now that I find out it wouldn’t have worked with Time Warner anyway it’s no real loss, but Amazon isn’t giving me the option of sending Watch TCM to any of my FireTV devices, only to an old Kindle Fire or the Cloud.

  13. AFTVUser says:

    The app installed and works fine on my 1st-gen FTV boxes and a DIRECTV account, but, quite frankly, with such a limited TCM movie catalog, it was hardly worth the effort.

  14. Jeff says:

    I can’t find this app for the fire tv stick that is compatible. Also, the link you’ve listed errors out to error 404 on amazon. Has this app been pulled?

  15. Walker says:

    This app is still working in my 1st generation Fire TV. I’m testing the features and will continue, unless (of course) it is disabled completely. Perhaps it had too many bugs which generated complaints?
    Anyway… some notes: it has resume function on movie play, but this is not apparent because there is no [button]. The quality is only SD, but a note on the TCM website promises HD {“HQ” label} will someday be available. Sound is usually Mono; I assume that is also a planned upgrade for releases that have surround soundtracks.
    Without a lot of vocal encouragement for the present offering, a stand-alone app may be a long time coming. My guess is an internal “turf-war” at the parent company is main reason for delays.

  16. Ray says:

    im assuming this is why it was pulled

    http://filmstruck.com/

  17. J.J. says:

    The Watch TCM was not pulled due to the upcoming filmstruck app that will be released later this year. The filmstruck app is a stand alone app that will require a monthly subscription with no relation to being a current subscriber to TCM. The app is partnered by TCM and The Criterion Collection and will mostly consist of artsy films as opposed to the classic films shown on TCM. The Watch TCM app was pulled due to technical issues related to logon and streaming issues. Many have complaint that it would only work with first generation Fire TV streaming devices and not with second generation and above devices. TCM made the decision to pull the app and will re-release it at a future date.

    • MJ57 says:

      Is there any update on when this will be released as a stand alone app for a monthly purchase fee? Do you also know in the info you have if when released, will it stream live, or be specifically On Demand. I know now it’s available on Fire TV for some cable providers – unfortunately not mine at the moment, so I could not see what it does after downloading. I have it on my laptop and tablet though, and know currently there you can both stream live or watch far more On Demand movies than TCM has available through Xfinity On Demand for them. Can’t wait for the stand alone app. I’m willing to pay for it and downgrade my cable, since I mostly watch TCM!

  18. J.J. says:

    Good news! The Watch TCM app was re-released this morning (June 30, 2016) on the Fire TV app store. Most major cable providers are listed. However, Charter Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity and Time Warner Cable are still not aboard. Hopefully this will change soon. I’ve tried it out and it seems to be working just fine.

  19. Bart11 says:

    No live streams!
    I side loaded the TCM app from play store and it provides live streaming though maneuvering is not as smooth as the amazon approved tcm apk. I’ll keep both for now.
    I wish TCM would add a monthly subscription so I wouldn’t have to use a friend’s cable info to use TCM.

  20. MJ57 says:

    COMCAST XFINITY needs to get on board with this NOW. I hope TCM release the app for a monthly purchase, like Netflix or HBO GO – can downgrade my cable package then!! Please release so can watch live without cable!!

  21. I was so excited to get this to help with Summer under the stars, but it seems like Comcast is the only provider not participating.

    What’s the deal?

  22. Richard A Conway says:

    Bought an Amazon Firestick for absolutely nothing. I wanted to stream TCM on my TV so I could use TCM’s on demand. What a friggen joke Xfinity/Comcast you won’t pay the extra dollar so their subscribers can watch TCM on Firestick. I pay $220+ for my Comcast Triple Play and can’t even watch TCM on a friggen Firestick. Shame on you Xfinity/Comcast maybe it’s time to jump over to Uverse.

  23. DONNA KAY SCHEID says:

    COMCAST!!!! COME ON!!! GET ON BOARD!!!!

  24. T. Reibert says:

    I have to enter the activation code everytime I want to watch TCM, and then sign onto Verizon Fios. Why doesn’t it save these codes?

  25. Larry Kelly says:

    Looks like an old issue that should have been fixed long ago. No explanation as to what the unknown error is. It authenticates on my new fire TV stick using my PlayStation Vue credentials, but still unknown error? Looks like someone has let the ball slip. This is December of 2016 and is see this issue in these posts dating to last year? Do you not have tech support?

  26. Darbyway says:

    Still no Comcast. What a huge disappointment.

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