Amazon doesn't want Fire TV to play nice with content discovery apps – Android Police

Services like JustWatch and Plex Discover have been left in the lurch
With so many streaming services jostling for your attention, it makes sense to centralize your watchlist with a service like Plex Discover to make keeping track of your shows more convenient. Even TV operating systems like Google TV and Fire TV have started offering their own solutions for recommendations and watchlist management. But Amazon is going a little overboard with promoting its own alternative aggressively by thwarting third-party content discovery apps.
For content discovery apps like JustWatch and Plex Discover, the integration of deep links to various streaming services is a must-have feature. It saves you from using the dreaded TV keyboard for looking up movies and TV series within each app. But Plex’s VP of marketing Scott Hancock recently alleged that Amazon is barring them from offering such direct links on Fire TV devices (via TechHive).
This change gravely affects Plex Discover’s core feature that allows users to directly jump to a streaming service. However, the executive notes that you can still use the Plex app on your Fire TV to find where your favorite show is available and manage your cross-service watchlist. The only thing that won’t work anymore is the handy direct links to movies and TV series.
Amazon Fire TVs didn’t always prohibit deep linking via third-party apps. When Plex started beta testing its Discover feature last year, Amazon was open to such universal discovery apps. Hancock revealed in an interview that Amazon basically asked them to remove the linking feature after a recent policy change. TechHive further points out that Plex never launched Discover on Roku in the first place because the platform has for long prohibited deep links, but Amazon’s sudden move came as a surprise for Plex and other similar services.
When we reviewed Amazon’s highest-end Fire TV Stick 4K Max, we did appreciate how fluid the interface feels. But at the same time, the UI is riddled with ads and the recommendations naturally lean more towards Prime Video since the tech giant owns both the platform and the streaming service.
Amazon makes some of the best streaming devices to smarten up your TV, but it has also been tightening its control over the Fire TV platform lately. Last year it blocked third-party launchers, and this time, it’s severely limiting content discovery apps. It's a bummer for many of us who rely on services like JustWatch and Plex Discover to find new content and sensibly manage our ever-growing watchlist. If you have a Fire TV device hooked to your TV set, you're out of luck, unfortunately, at least for now.
Karandeep has been with Android Police as a freelance writer since 2019, covering reviews for India, buyer’s guides for the US, and handy tutorials for everyone. He cares more about the impact of technology on people’s everyday lives than the superfluous features companies keep adding each year, which is central to his reviews and product recommendations. In his previous life, he worked with Android Headlines to cover everything Android. He also wrote and edited for a handful of publications in India during his writing journey, which started in 2014. Ever since his first Symbian phone that had the iconic Ovi store to download apps, he has stuck to Android phones and is currently using a Google Pixel 6a. In his free time, he’s usually busy clearing his ever-growing backlog of movies and TV shows or tracking down an eatery he hasn’t been to yet. Chats about food go to Twitter DM and everything tech to karandeep (at) androidpolice (dot) com.


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