If you own an Amazon Fire TV, you may have already been notified that YouTube will “not be available” starting January 1st, 2018. Fortunately, we found two good workarounds you can use to keep on watching YouTube. Read on to learn more about the war between Google and Amazon and find out how to unblock YouTube on Amazon Fire TV.

Google and Amazon Are Butting Heads (Again)

Early this week, Verge reported that Google intends to yank its YouTube app from Amazon Fire TV devices.

A YouTube spokesperson revealed the reason behind the move:

“Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products. Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and FireTV.”

The next day, Amazon fired back at Google:

“Google is setting a disappointing precedent by selectively blocking customer access to an open website. We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.”

Consumers Are Left Holding the Bag

Though Amazon is not legally obligated to cooperate with Google, the dust-up has left consumers feeling frustrated.

Media analyst Dan Rayburn of Frost & Sullivan told The Washington Post that he thinks the Amazon-Google dispute is “childish.”

“It’s pretty childish that companies as big as Amazon and Google can’t work out a deal that makes sense for both of them, thereby helping the industry to grow.”

Amazon Fire TV owners expressed their disappointment on Reddit following YouTube’s announcement.

Your best option – Sideloading YouTube For Android TV

Through our test process, we found that YouTube itself isn’t actually blocked on the Amazon Fire TV. Rather, it’s the Amazon Fire YouTube app that is going to be blocked, starting on January 1st.

This means that the best way to watch YouTube on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick is through a sideloaded version of the Android TV YouTube app.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

How to install YouTube for Android TV

You’ll begin by installing Downloader on your Fire TV. Downloader is an app for Amazon Fire TV that allows you to browse the internet and download files directly to your Amazon Fire device. It can be downloaded directly from the Amazon App Store.

Downloader is essential for “sideloading” third-party Android APKs. Here’s a screenshot of the app.

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Source: Flixed.io

After you’ve installed Downloader, open it up on your Amazon Fire TV stick. Navigate to the left-hand side of the menu and select Browser, or use the main screen to enter the URL of the website you want to navigate to.

We’re going to be grabbing the most recent version of the YouTube Android app from APK Mirror, which can be found here.

Enter the following URL into Downloader: https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/youtube-for-android-tv-android-tv/youtube-for-android-tv-android-tv-2-02-08-release/youtube-for-android-tv-android-tv-2-02-08-2-android-apk-download/ . You will see the following screen.

NOTE: it’s easier to enter this URL if you download the Amazon Fire TV Remote app for your smartphone. Then, you can just copy and paste it instead of entering it with your Amazon Fire TV Remote. Either method will work.

youtube downloader alternative streaming amazon fire tv
Source: Flixed.io

Next, scroll down from this screen, until you see the following:

install youtube for android tv sideload apk
Source: Flixed.io

Press the download button indicated by the red circle to continue, then scroll down to the next page until you see the following menu options.

downloader app arm youtube android tv
Source: Flixed.io

Select the arm variant here. You don’t need the arm64 variant. Click it to continue.

Scroll down again until the following screen is visible, and click DOWNLOAD APK to continue. This will download the actual YouTube APK to your Amazon Fire Stick.

download android tv apk streaming google amazon fire tv
Source: Flixed.io

Despite what the next screen says, your download will not start automatically. Scroll down, and click the hyperlink indicated by the red circle. This will start your download.

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Source: Flixed.io

Your download should complete within a few seconds, and you’ll see the following screen. Click Install to continue.

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Source: Flixed.io

After installation is complete, you’ll see the following screen.

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Source: Flixed.io

Press Open to continue, and open the YouTube Android TV App. You should see the following screen:

sideload youtube tv
Source: Flixed.io

That’s it! You’ve officially sideloaded YouTube for Android TV. There is no message that appears on this application about service being discontinued after January 1st.

Unless YouTube is blocking their entire API from Fire TVs, it’s likely to work for the foreseeable future.

But if it doesn’t, there are a few other ways you can watch YouTube on your Amazon Fire TV.

Two Workarounds for Watching YouTube on Amazon Fire TV

No YouTube app? No problem.

A new app called Streamio lets you watch YouTube on Amazon Fire TV without the official app.

Streamio is an all-in-one video player that allows you to view videos from iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Twitch and FilmOn TV all in one place.

Alternatively, you can use the YouTube add-on for the open source media player known as Kodi.

Streamio looks a little nicer compared to the YouTube add-on for Kodi. However, its user interface is tailor made for smartphones and tablets, not Amazon devices. Additionally, Streamio doesn’t let you search for individual videos. Its search function only finds YouTube channels. Once you look up a YouTube channel on Streamio, you can access its videos. There are, however, unskippable ads that show up during video playback.

The YouTube add-on for Kodi is basically just a stripped down version of the official YouTube add-on. Its text-based menu isn’t very user friendly, but a least it doesn’t have ads and allows you to use YouTube in the typical way.

How to Install Streamio

Here’s everything you need to know about Streamio for Amazon Fire TV.

How does it work?

All Streamio channels connect to its search bar, which allows you to search through several different video catalogs at once.

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Source: Flixed.io

You can’t search for individual YouTube videos using Streamio search. However, you can search for and add YouTube channels.

Just search for whatever channel you want to add.

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Source: Flixed.io

Now you’ll see the channel’s YouTube videos on the right side of the screen.

You can also favorite the channel by adding it to your Stremio library via the purple button.

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Source: Flixed.io

Streamio’s video player is somewhat basic. There’s no way to look at comments or turn on closed captions. You can still watch any video on YouTube, though, provided that you know which channel uploaded it.

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Source: Flixed.io

In addition to YouTube, you can also access video content from other video services like FilmOn, Twitch, Netflix and more.

Just click the puzzle piece icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to add more add-ons to Streamio.

Screen Shot 2017 12 09 at 1.58.05 PM
Source: Flixed.io

Streamio is not available in the official Amazon Fire TV store – so you have to sideload it to get it to work.

To install Streamio on a Fire TV device, you have to use ES File Explorer, Downloader or some other tool that lets you install unofficial 3rd party apps.

Here’s how to install Streamio on Amazon Fire TV using Downloader.

Step 1: Change Your System Settings

  • Go to Settings.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Under Settings, click Developer Options.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • You should see both ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources. Turn both of these options ON.
2017 01 12 11 45 42 IPVanish Setting Up IPVanish on Amazon Fire TV St... Opera
Source: Flixed.io

Step 2: Get the Downloader App

  • Install the free Downloader App, which is available in the Amazon TV app store.
Screen Shot 2017 12 09 at 2.58.34 PM
Source: YouTube

Step 3: Download Stremio

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Source: YouTube
  • Stremio’s website will load inside of Downloader. Click the menu icon on the top right part of the Streamio website and navigate to downloads.
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Source: YouTube
  • Scroll down to Android and click Stremio 0.40.1 APK.
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Source: YouTube

Step 4: Install Stremio

After the APK is finished downloading, click Install.

Screen Shot 2017 12 09 at 3.08.18 PM
Source: YouTube

That’s it!

You’ll be able to find Stremio under Your Apps & Games.

Another Way to Get YouTube: Kodi

If you sideload the open source media player known as Kodi and install the YouTube Kodi add-on, you’ll be able to watch YouTube on your Fire TV without the official YouTube app.

As mentioned above, Kodi’s simplified YouTube add-on has a somewhat ugly text menu and lacks many standard features. However, it will let you search for and watch individual YouTube videos without the official YouTube app.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that’ll walk you through everything you need to do to get started.

Step 1: Change Your System Settings

  • Go to Settings.
2017 01 12 11 45 09 IPVanish Setting Up IPVanish on Amazon Fire TV St... Opera
Source: Flixed.io
  • Under Settings, click Developer Options.
2017 01 12 11 45 21 IPVanish Setting Up IPVanish on Amazon Fire TV St... Opera
Source: Flixed.io
  • You should see both ADB Debugging and Apps from Unknown Sources. Turn both of these options ON.
2017 01 12 11 45 42 IPVanish Setting Up IPVanish on Amazon Fire TV St... Opera
Source: Flixed.io

Step 2: Download ES File Explorer

To download and install the ES File Explorer File Manager:

  • Go to your Amazon App Store
  • Search ES File Explorer
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Source: Flixed.io

Step 3: Install Kodi

  • Open ES Explorer and click Tools on the bottom left.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Click the Plus Symbol at the bottom of the screen.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Click Download Now.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Once the download is complete, click Open File.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Another window named Properties will pop up. In this one, click Install.
  • The Kodi installation screen will open. Click Install at the bottom.
  • Close ES Explorer.

Step 4: Install the YouTube Kodi Add-on

The YouTube Kodi add-on doesn’t have as many features as the official YouTube app, but at least it will let you watch YouTube videos. Here’s how to install YouTube for Kodi.

  • Launch Kodi and click Add-ons.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Click the open box symbol on the top left part of the screen.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Now select Install from Repository.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Select All Repositories.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Select Video Add-ons.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Scroll down to YouTube then click it and select Install.
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Source: Flixed.io

How to Setup YouTube for Kodi

You don’t have to log onto the YouTube Kodi add-on to use it. However, if you do want to log in, here’s what you have to do.

  • The first time you use the Kodi YouTube add-on, you’ll see a box that asks you if you want to execute the setup wizard. Click Yes.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Select English, or whatever language you prefer.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • The YouTube algorithm takes your geographical region into account when recommending videos. Select a region to continue.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Click OK to continue past this message.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Go to youtube.com/activate. Then, enter in the first authorization code.
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Source: Flixed.io
  • Once you’ve authorized YouTube the first time, you’ll see this message:
Screen Shot 2017 12 08 at 3.18.30 PM
Source: Flixed.io
  • The Kodi app will now show you a second code. Enter that in as well. You’ll see a second “Success! Device connected” message.
  • Once you authorize twice, you’ll be able to access your YouTube account.
Screen Shot 2017 12 08 at 3.21.18 PM
Source: Flixed.io

Though the Kodi YouTube add-on will allow you to access your subscriptions, liked/disliked videos and favorites, it won’t let you leave or read comments. You can’t view previews of videos, either – everything is all text.

The Google-Amazon Battle Rages On

The war of the tech titans has spilled out onto several different battlefields. Here is a quick overview of all the Google and Amazon products and services that have been affected by the conflict.

YouTube no longer works with Echo Show

In addition to pulling out of Amazon Fire TV, YouTube also announced that it would no longer provide services to Echo Show devices.

Echo Show is similar to Amazon Echo in that it can respond to voice commands. As its name suggests, the most notable thing about Echo Show is its display.

pasted image 0 21
Source: Amazon

If Echo Show worked with YouTube, you’d be able to pull up and play YouTube videos using your voice. But because YouTube and Amazon aren’t currently getting along, Echo Show users will be limited to using Amazon’s video platform and video services that are on good terms with the ecommerce giant.

Amazon kicked out Chromecast

Because Google Chromecast is competing with Amazon Fire TV, it makes sense that Amazon would try to put a damper on Chromecast sales.

Both devices provide a quick and easy way to watch web video on any HDMI compatible TV set.

Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV are equally easy to use because they are both “plug and play” devices that you can stick into any TV with an HDMI port. However, with Chromecast you “cast” your phone’s screen directly to your TV. Amazon Fire TV runs an operating system that you control directly on your TV, using a remote.

As a result of the ongoing Amazon-Google feud, you can no longer buy a Chromecast through Amazon.

Amazon Prime video doesn’t work with Google Cast

Before Amazon and Google went to war, you could cast Amazon Prime videos to your TV with a Chromecast device – but not anymore.

Amazon also refuses to carry Google Home

Google Home is a line of Amazon Echo-like smart speakers that can respond to voice commands.

It’s easy to see why Amazon sees Google Home as a threat. Google Home can do some pretty neat stuff, like recognize individual voices and respond differently based on who it decides is speaking. Additionally, Google Home offers more detailed step-by-step cooking instructions compared to Amazon Echo. Plus, Google Home lets you call landline phones and mobile phones for free.

In May, CNET compared Google Home to Amazon Echo. CNET concluded that even though Google Home is more stylish and has more options for playing media, Amazon Echo is still a better assistant overall. Additionally, CNET observed that Amazon Echo integrates with more smart home brands than Google Home.

You won’t find any new Nest products on Amazon, either

Perhaps seeking an edge in the race to colonize the smart home appliance market, Amazon has decided to not sell several new products from Nest.

Google bought smart home gadget maker Nest Labs back in 2014.

Just a few weeks ago, Nest was offering black Friday discounts to shoppers that bought Nest products through Amazon. But on the 5th of December, Verge observed that Amazon had kicked several new Nest products out of its store.

New products from Nest – including Nest E Thermostat, Nest Camera IQ, and the Nest Secure alarm system – have vanished from Amazon. However, Nest’s older products still remain.

Summary

Because Google plans to pull YouTube from Amazon Fire TV devices, you’ll soon have to use a workaround to watch YouTube on Amazon Fire TV.

Fortunately, there are several ways to access YouTube without the official app. Streamio and Kodi both have YouTube plug-ins that will likely allow you to continue using YouTube after 1/1/2018.

Other devices and services affected by the Google-Amazon feud include Amazon Echo Show, Nest, Google Home, Chromecast and Amazon Prime Video.

Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast. You can find his blog about robotics news and reviews at robotfanatics.com.