Virtual pay TV service YouTube TV will launch apps for Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One and several other devices. But thanks to a long-running dispute between YouTube parent Google and Amazon, the service will continue to shun Amazon OTT devices.
YouTube’s cold shoulder toward Amazon dates back more than two years. In October 2015, Amazon notified its customers that it wouldn’t be selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices. “It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion,” Amazon said at the time.
As Re/code noted, the e-commerce giant eventually patched things over with Apple but still doesn't sell Chromecast.
According to Parks Associates, Amazon’s “Fire”-branded devices are the second-best-selling OTT boxes in the U.S., accounting for 24% of OTT boxes in U.S. TV homes in the first quarter. Roku ranked first at 37%.
YouTube has not commented on its decision not to support Amazon devices.
YouTube TV launched with a self-proclaimed “mobile-first” agenda, targeting iOS and Android devices. The only living room option initially was Google’s Chromecast dongle, which lets users port whatever is playing on their mobile device to the TV screen.
Other devices now supported by YouTube TV include Nvidia Shield TV and Sony smart TVs’ equipped with Android TV. Samsung and LG smart TVs are also now supported.
YouTube has not disclosed subscriber numbers for the virtual MVPD service it launched over the spring. The service is now deployed in more than 50 markets, covering 68% of the U.S. population.
“When we launched the service, we positioned it as a mobile-first product,” Christian Oestlien, product management director at YouTube TV, told TheVerge. “A lot of that was about breaking the association with the DVR and set-top box, this hardware in the living room you have to rent that gets outdated really quickly. We were trying to get people to grok that this is TV that lives on your phone, a cloud DVR, all of the above. What we saw in practice was that the majority of our watch time was in the living room, through Cast. And the number one request we get from consumers is more options, native options, for the living room.”