Loading apps on Pik TV Box

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Friendly Neighbour

Hi, new subscriber to PikTV over here. The concept of this platform should fit very well into our viewing style and usage nowadays.  We are into a combo of streaming on demand and wanting a few live TV channels from time to time. In consideration of making a fullover switch from my other service providers;  I signed up and have been viewing PikTV on our phones and computers for about a week now.  The limited scale of selections and content is actually a near perfect package complimenting our other services. It just fits, nicely.  Today I received the PikTV box.  Setting up and configuring the box was uneventful.  I was watching TV and testing some on demand shows in a mater of 10-15 minutes.

 

This evening (after live watching Trump's speech on CNN) I started looking into loading additional channels (apps) onto the box.  I successfully loaded a few try-it/test-it apps (CBC, RedBull, ... ) from google play and then went looking for some specific ones that I need for this platform to fully integrate into our lifestyle.  These "apps" are other channels and streaming services that we already have.  I am having a road block in loading two of the apps that are essential for this to all work out for me to be fully pleased. Amazon Music and Prime Video.  Both of these are available for androids, iPhones, browsers, and android TV's in the google store.  I actually have those working just fine on all of the devices and computers in the house.  I can see these apps in the store however I have not been able to figure out how to get them loaded onto the Pik TV box.

 

Any helpful tips / tricks please?

 

 

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Community Power User
Community Power User

I wish there was a full list of compatible apps out there. The Play Store has two static collections: Apps and Games. Pretty much shorter lists of what shows in the Play store on the Pik itself. There are a few more apps that are USA only that don't show. Not many of the big content owners/creators/etc are releasing Android TV apps. Android TV ≠ Android that you get on phones or tablets so there is different compatibility for each. The app creators have to re-release / rebuild the apps for the Android TV platform. Until they do that they won't work with most TV devices.

 

Only the phones are compatible with the official Amazon Prime app for Canada, and TV is not compatible. The reviews on the official one are quite poor. Amazon Music is not released for the Android TV platform yet. CraveTV isn't either.

 

None of the "Go" apps I've come across are compatible with Android TV. (Global Go, TMN Go, CTV Go, etc) CBC is one of the few that is compatible.


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Friendly Neighbour

Some background and what I am trying to do.  My overall objectives are focused on the main big screen TV in the family room and reducing equipment/costs:

         Existing setup:   Shaw Cable TV box, Netflix(smartTV), CraveTV(Shaw), Amazon Prime (phones,PCs,xBox)

         Switching to: Telus PikTV box, Amazon Prime (PikTVBox please!)

 

There actually is an  Amazon Prime "Android TV" app. Yes, there is both the Android app and the Android TV app.  If this Telus box is indeed a Android TV under the covers, then the prime app should be available and should work, no?  I am a total android noob.

 

It has been a challenge managing a busy household of 5 with iPhones, PCs, iMacs, xboxes. I do have Prime video apps working fine and great on all the phones, the PCs, the iMac, and even the xBox. The Telus PikTV app I have working on the phones, as well as browser on the PCs and the iMac. The Telus PikTV BOX is a nice unit and the backbone appears to be Android TV. Since there is a Prime Video Android TV app, I was hoping to simply load onto the PikTV box, thus fully integrating into our setup here. So, why does it not load on and work?

 

For now, I suppose we can use the xBox or a laptop hooked to the big TV to view our Prime shows if necessary.  I may even be able to air-play, mirror screen, to the PikTV.  Those options just seems unnecessary and inconvenient to me, given the PikTV is an Android TV and is a good one; only needing the app hurdle fixed.  Btw: the xBox is on a separate TV in a separate room, so would have to move it whenever to use it.

 

Being new to Android TV's I will be doing more research to understand the platforms better so as to make an informed decision. I did get as far as determining that Android TV = the defunct and rebranded Google TV.  ie Android TV IS Google TV.  So yes, I now understand that and Android device is not in any way the same device platform as an Android TV (GoogleTV).

 

Thinking is leading to consider that the real issue is not the technology at all. The issue may actually be licensing - deal making. It may be as simple as this:  Google Play (Google TV) is a direct competitor to Amazon Prime Video. The Telus PikTV box is obviously setup (deal/license made) with Google first as it has all the Google Video/Music/Play stuff. Perhaps all that is needed is Telus to follow through on completing the deal with Amazon so the prime app can be also be loaded by users who are existing customers of both Telus and Amazon.  For clarity, I am not suggesting nor would I promote Telus to get into offering prime membership subscriptions. Just get the deal made on the app so those of us who are prime members can use it.

 

A word and point of upmost importance:  .... Prime is NOT in competition with Telus or Shaw in this household. I have Prime simply because that is where we do most of our online shopping purchases. The Prime video and music is part of the membership package.  I am not interested in any of the Google Play video/music/TV services, ever.

 

Anyways, the deliberation of all of this comes down to a simple outcome for me. Looking into the near future during this 30 day trial period, it is going to play out like this .... Unless the door opens to install and port the other apps for services that we already have invested in, effectively complimenting (not displacing) the Telus service, then the decision for this household will simply have to be to dump the PikTV idea, stick with Shaw, and go buy a Fire Stick or some other Android box to be able to view our Prime benefits on the main room TV.

Arriving at the decision to back out of PikTV and take a different direction would really be disappointing. I really do value Telus innovation here with the PikTV concept and the niche it is intended to fill.  It is a near perfect fit for my household.  The PikTV concept has so much potential!  Just need to get these apps things resolved for the box to make it actually workable and fully integrated into our lifestyle.

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Community Power User
Community Power User

So, recognizing that 'Android' is open source, and manufacturers can create their own fork, and still call it Android, it is entirely likely that Amazon has chosen not to create an Amazon Prime TV application for the Google version of the operating system, retaining it for their proprietary device - the Amazon Fire Stick. Just as Amazon Echo stays largely within the Amazon sphere, rather than Google's, so too is amazon Prime restricted to Amazon's devices.  I doubt this is a licensing issue, and it is not for Telus to create applications for other's IP.

 

Until Amazon creates an App which is compliant with Google's version of Android TV, Amazon Prime selections won't be available to PikTV.

 

EDIT: I don't see an Amazon Prime TV app on the Android TV store.

 

NFtoBC
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Community Power User
Community Power User

@NFtoBC - It's there but not in the collection you linked to. Amazon lists compatibility for only 3 Android TV devices. Fire TV (their own device), Google TV (old), and the Nvidia Shield. They do have an email address there so one option is to find the exact manufacturer and model for the Pik TV and get someone, possibly from Telus, to email Amazon about adding support for Pik TV. With Android apps, the developers can specify exactly which devices will or won't work.


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Community Power User
Community Power User

It will be released at some point. When they officially release it for the masses is anyone's guess. It's always be clunky UI from day one.


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Friendly Neighbour

Did some more reading.  They are feuding.  Just do a few web-searches and you will quickly find some light reading that will indicate this is a solid barrier between the megas.  YouTube and all other google apps have been completely removed and are not available for any Amazon devices.  In like form, Amazon has removed all their apps from all google devices.  We will have to pick one or just resign to have one of each plugged in.

 

Whether to hold out hope for a prime app on the Telus PikTV box really depends on the answer to the question of if the PikTV box is an open android device or if it is a google device under cover. Availability of a prime app for it will be directly known by the answer to that question. Looking at the other apps available on the box, we can deduce that it is a google device?

 

Therefore at this point in time, I am concluding that if you are a prime member you must order a FireStick or hook up your computer/xBox to your TV to use your prime benefits.  Most TV's have more than one hdmi input anyways.  No biggie really.  Just another 65$, another device, another remote skidding around on the coffee tables.

 

Do not let this platform limitation deter you from the PikTV box and package.  I can say after using it for a couple of days, I really do like it.  It is a very good device and the basic channels package is bargain.  I especially like the built in casting program that auto-links youtube viewing between your phone and the PikTV box.

 

Problem solved, for now, I guess, not really, but a reasonable adaptable solution.       If anyone knows any different from what I have posted, now or in the future, please post letting us know the details.

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Connector

Has anyone had any luck with an Amazon Prime app? I sideloaded one last night, I can login and open it. Works great through the menu process. After selecting a video it starts but I can't get sound and then after about 15 seconds the video pauses. Very close!

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Community Power User
Community Power User
Only way Amazon prime will work is using the app for Android TV. Which currently isn’t available (up to amazon to release it for the device)

Shield TV is one of the few devices that has the android tv version of the app. As you experienced yourself sideloading the mobile version it doesn’t work.





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Connector

It is the Shield apk of the Android TV app. 

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Community Power User
Community Power User
The shield apk won’t work for PikTV, was the first thing i tried. The odds of amazon permitting PikTV to use the apk is slim. Especially for us little guys in Canada.

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Connector

Actually amazon prime video (from the ShieldTV) works on the Pik TV, just not all titles, I think it might be A/V decoding related.

- some catalog titles (try "wanted (2008)" or "hulk (2003)") work fine and streams in FHD.

- most catalog titles will display (in FHD) with no audio, streams for few seconds then fail.

- all newer titles (where 4K stream is available) wont display at all (just a blank screen).

I haven't checked the logs but there is a good chance no audio is related to PikTV not being DTS capable and the no video is related to problematic UHD decoding (PikTV can't HW decode anything locally past 1080p, though works fine YT app to stream 4K, might be VP9 vs H265, again I am yet to check logs to get to the bottom of it).