Amazon’s Silk Browser for Fire TV has just been updated to version 67.5.x and with it comes the ability to cast YouTube videos directly to the browser. With the Silk Browser installed on any Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Edition television, Google’s official YouTube app for Android and iOS devices will now see the Fire TV as a valid casting destination. You don’t need to have the Silk Browser open or even have the Fire TV awake for the new YouTube casting feature to work.
When Google threatened to block YouTube access on Fire TV devices, it forced Amazon to switch from a standalone YouTube app to using the Silk Browser for YouTube access on Fire TV devices. One of the conveniences lost with that switch was simple system-wide casting support for YouTube. That switch made it necessary to first link your phone to the browser YouTube session via a TV code before you could cast videos from the YouTube app on a mobile device to a Fire TV device. This extra step made it slightly more cumbersome to cast videos.
This new update to the Silk Browser for Fire TV devices makes the browser a DIAL casting receiver for YouTube, which is exactly how the old standalone YouTube app used to behave. Google’s official mobile YouTube app, for either Android or iOS, will see any Fire TV with Silk installed on the same network as a casting destination, just like a Chromecast. There is no need to link the two devices with a code or even be logged into a YouTube account.
Casting for YouTube in the new version of Silk is very seamless and simple. Selecting a YouTube video to cast from a mobile device will cause Silk on a Fire TV device to automatically launch and immediately begin playing the YouTube video. You don’t need to have the Silk Browser open or already loaded to YouTube. The Fire TV device itself doesn’t even need to be awake, as it will automatically wake from sleep when you cast a video, so you never need to pick up the Fire TV remote. Silk will also automatically exit and return to the Fire TV home screen when you stop casting.
It doesn’t appear as though this update to Silk has any other new features. The new version does, however, now require permission to “Allow installation of home screen shortcuts.” You might think that this means you can add a Silk bookmark directly to the Fire TV home screen, but that’s not the case. This new system permission is very likely just being carried over from the mobile/tablet version of Silk, which shares a common code base with the Fire TV version. If you want to jump directly from the Fire TV home screen to a website in Silk or Firefox, your only option is my free Bookmarker apps.
Many people likely don’t know about YouTube’s own TV linking settings that allow casting, so this Silk update will be restoring a capability that they probably thought they lost when Amazon switched from a standalone YouTube app to using a browser. Either way, it’s a great feature that makes casting YouTube to a Fire TV device as simple as can be.