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Unlike Apple TV App on Roku, You Can’t Purchase iTunes Movies or Subscribe to Apple TV Channels Directly on Fire TV

Jason Gurwin

This morning, Amazon announced that the Apple TV App was now available on some Fire TV devices. Unlike the app that launched on Roku devices last week, it’s not quite as full featured, as it doesn’t let you purchase movies or subscribe to premium services like HBO.

On the Apple TV App on Roku and Apple TV devices, customers can purchase or rent movies from iTunes, as well as subscribe to Apple TV Channels like HBO, Showtime, and STARZ. On the Fire TV version, while you can watch your purchases, rentals, and subscriptions, you have to make the actual purchase on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV device. This will also be the case for Apple TV+ when it launches on November 1st, which will can’t be subscribed to directly from your Fire TV device.

When you go to make a purchase, you get a message: “In-app purchases aren’t allowed on this device. To watch here, you must have purchased or rented this movie or episode on an Apple device.” This isn’t that surprising. Apple and Amazon have had a long-term dispute about selling their content on the iOS platform.

Apple hasn’t allowed Amazon to sell eBooks or movies in their apps without paying the 30% “tax” on purchases. Since Amazon already has a successful business with Amazon Prime Video Channels, it’s not surprising that they would enforce a similar policy on Apple.

On Roku devices though, the TV App allows you to sign-up for premium subscriptions like HBO using your Apple ID instead of going through Roku’s own premium subscription service. It wouldn’t be surprising if Roku gets a cut of subscriptions through the Apple TV Channels, but neither company have confirmed a financial arrangement.

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