Few set top boxes support every service you want, but when you've got one that runs Android there's usually a workaround. One of the most frustrating omissions from Android TV's app catalogue is Amazon Prime Video, which was launched in Australia last month. but you can change that with just a few simple steps and no rooting required.
Amazon usually puts its apps on every platform, but with Prime Video the company is decidedly selective. You must to own one of their devices to get the full experience, or just work around that problem. That's what we're going to do right now. You actually have a couple of options to choose from, so take your pick:
If you have a computer with a browser you can cast a tab filled with Amazon Prime Video right over to your Android TV. This may sound less than ideal, but if you've got a nearby laptop with a reasonable amount of processing power you can just play the video in a tab and leave it in the background. When you set the video to full screen while casting, Chrome knows you don't want the full screen takeover on your computer. It will keep the video windowed in the browser but provide the full experience on your Android TV.
So how does this all work? Follow these simple steps:
- Open up Google Chrome on your computer.
- Install the Google Cast extension and follow the setup instructions.
- Click the Google Cast icon in your browser bar (as pictured above) and select the Android TV device you want to cast to. (If it doesn't show up, click Options for the option to search for new devices.)
- Play the Amazon Prime video you've chosen to cast and click the full screen button.
That's about it. There's a tiny bit of lag, but nothing you'll notice since you're going to pretty much ignore the video on your computer and just watch it on the TV. You won't hear audio from the computer as well, fortunately, but can see the video in the cast tab so you can pause, fast forward, rewind, and so on. With this option you may limit the quality of the video stream, but in my experience it looks pretty good all things considered and this is the quickest, most simple way to get any video you want on your Android TV.
Install Amazon Prime Video Launcher
If you want to watch Amazon Prime Video without the help of an extra computer, you can sideload an app that will give you a comparable experience to that of the Fire TV. Here's how you do it:
- Surprise, surprise! Head on over to the XDA forums and download Prime Video Launcher. (You may also need to download the Amazon Prime Video APK as well, but more on that later.)
- On your Android TV, open up Settings and visit the Security & Restrictions section. The first choice should be Unknown Sources. Turn it on. (Amazon Prime Video won't run without this.)
- You can sideload the APK in another way if you prefer, but I got it on my device quickly with ES File Explorer. If you don't have that on your Android TV, download it now.
- Open up ES File Explorer and find a cloud or network service that you use. I used (the cloud service) Dropbox and dropped the APK in a folder in my Dropbox account. Whether you've got Dropbox, Google Drive, or something else you'd prefer, link it up with ES File Explorer. If you sync the APK to your account, when you load the folder you put it in within ES File Explorer you can just select it and open it.
- When you open the Prime Video Launcher you'll be asked to confirm its installation, but moments later it will open. You'll be asked if you want to install Amazon Prime VOD, which you need in order to actually watch anything. Confirm that you want to install the latest version and wait for the install to complete. In some cases it may fail to download and you'll have to install it manually. Simply repeat this process, but sideload one of the VOD APKs found in this XDA forum thread.
- Once you've installed Amazon Prime VOD successfully, open it up and log into your Amazon account.
That's it! Now you can watch Amazon Prime Video on your Android TV like it was actually meant to be there. Hopefully someday Amazon will allow us to install the app wherever we like without this extra effort, but at least you've got a couple of simple methods to get the job done right now.