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