Amazon is blocking apps from bringing Google TV’s best feature to Fire TV – 9to5Google

Ben Schoon
– Jan. 15th 2023 11:24 am PT

As content keeps moving around between various streaming services, Google TV has turned out to be a lifeboat of sorts in making it easy to figure out what content is available on which service. Some third-party apps have since found ways to replicate that, but Amazon is blocking that “guide” functionality on its Fire TV platform.

Google TV’s “guide” for content allows the platform to show where movies and TV shows are available for streaming or purchase. In many cases, it allows for those pages to “deep link” into other apps. Searching for The Office, for example, shows a button that can directly pull up the show with the Peacock app.
Plex picked up on similar functionality across its various apps last year. Like Google TV, it could find shows and movies across services and directly link to them.
But as Tech Hive reports, that “guide” feature on Plex, called “Discover” is now blocked on Amazon Fire TV. That’s because Amazon has apparently changed its policies to block apps on Fire TV from deep-linking to other apps, though Amazon has yet to confirm such a change. That’s obviously a shame for users, but it’s not the only platform that blocks such behavior. Roku similarly blocks third-party apps from deep-linking to other apps, which is why Plex never launched its “Discover” feature there in the first place. It’s certainly a user-hostile move, and one that’s a shame to see.
Over the past year, Amazon made a similar move in blocking third-party launchers, but it’s also scored some wins as a deal was struck to allow Google’s Android TV partners to make Fire TV sets.
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Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.
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