YouTube on AppleTV

Posted on 2015-05-10

Or how Apple and Google conspired to take YouTube away from my living room

I “own” an AppleTV box, the 2nd generation one. The primary use of that box has been to stream YouTube videos to my TV, which is otherwise gathering dust, since I do not have a TV subscription (whenever visitors come home, I renew them with the minimum amount, so that I don’t impose my dislike for TV into them and their habits). I also occasionally watch movies and documentaries on the box. I use the popular Free Software Handbrake, to convert videos from any format into the ones that can be accepted by AppleTV via the AppleTV2 profile on Handbrake. My 7 year old daughter occasionally watch her favourite cartoons via the YouTube app on the AppleTV.

I thought I “own” the AppleTV box. So, when my daughter told me that she can’t find the YouTube app anymore, I was a bit surprised. When it happened (once) in the past, I had to change the timezone setting for it to appear back. A web search revealed that the application is taken down and won’t come back on 2nd gen AppleTV because Google decided to change the APIs.

It is not because the device hardware is too old to take the software bloat. This is usually the case with phones. It is not because YouTube changed the video/audio format and older generation hardware cannot play them. It is because of an API change!! A perfectly capable hardware is rendered useless (for me!) because of this silly change that serves those corporations well but not me, the user.

I am totally pissed at this point with myself for buying this box. This is the classic case of “who controls the computers? the users or the authors/corporations?” debate that is always talked about. Apparently, I was the victim of clever marketing along with its packaging. This is yet another reason why users should have more control over what they are using.