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#1 Edited by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

Hi there!

I've recently spent a few weekends developing a Giant Bomb app for Amazon's Fire TV line of devices.

For a long time now I've wanted something that would let me watch GB videos on my Fire TV and while sideloading the GB Video Buddy was fine for a while, I finally decided to just make a TV-focused app myself.

If you've ever used an app that uses Android's Leanback library then the app will look very familiar to you.

The working title of the app is "The Giant Bomb Enthusiast App" and it's just now at a point where I feel like it could use a bit of beta testing before I release it on the Amazon App Store.

Giant Bomb assets ripped from the site + the great Grilled Cheese font! Rorie said this is (probably) okay to use, so yay!
Giant Bomb assets ripped from the site + the great Grilled Cheese font! Rorie said this is (probably) okay to use, so yay!

So! This is where you (may) come in:

I'm looking for 10 or so patient and friendly owners of Fire TV devices that are interested in trying out the app and reporting back to me any (major or minor) issues they encounter.

If you're interested, please send an email to gbenthusiast (at) gmail (dot) com that includes the following:

  • Whether or not you are a premium member
  • The model(s) of Fire TV device(s) you own
  • The email address you have registered with your device(s) (if it's different than the one you're emailing from)
  • (Optional) A promise that you're cool and you just want to watch some GB videos on your TV and you understand this is a beta and you won't freak out if things don't work perfectly all the time or at all

That's it!

And in an attempt to prove I'm not just doing some of the worst phishing for email addresses ever, here are some screenshots of the app in action:

This app uses the giantbomb.com/boxee method of linking your GB account. A GB account is required to use this app.
This app uses the giantbomb.com/boxee method of linking your GB account. A GB account is required to use this app.
The main screen.
The main screen.
Browsing through the rows of categories reveals a little more information about each video.
Browsing through the rows of categories reveals a little more information about each video.
Selecting a video lets you choose which quality you'd like to watch it in.
Selecting a video lets you choose which quality you'd like to watch it in.
Very basic playback functionality. FF/RW seeks 15 and 10 seconds, respectively, while DPAD left/right jumps by 30 seconds. Video position is saved locally on your device for each video.
Very basic playback functionality. FF/RW seeks 15 and 10 seconds, respectively, while DPAD left/right jumps by 30 seconds. Video position is saved locally on your device for each video.

A note for potential testers:

I'm only one person working on this in my spare time and I've only briefly tested most of the functionality in real-world scenarios.

One of the more glaring areas that needs improvement is error handling, so you may encounter some "this spinner has been spinning forever I think this is completely broken" scenarios.

Additionally, this app uses your API key to make requests to the giantbomb.com API endpoints, so don't refresh the videos manually too often lest you get your API key temporarily suspended. You can check your activity level at giantbomb.com/api.

Please report issues to gbenthusiast (at) giantbomb (dot) com, with as much detail as you can muster.

Finally, when requesting to be invited to the beta, please ensure you haven't disabled Amazon App Store emails on your Amazon Account (this is pretty common if you've opted out of all marketing emails). It's a bit lame, but in order to get the invite email you need to have App Store emails enabled.

To check/fix this, you can go to Amazon.com > Your Account > "E-mail Preferences & Notifications" > Expand "Promotional Emails" section and ensure the "Amazon Appstore" checkbox is checked.

Thanks!

Alec

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#2 Posted by alphasquid (135 posts) -

That app looks really nice! I'm curious, have you tried using the Giant Bomb Plex channel? I find it's the best way of getting stuff on the tv.

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#3 Edited by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

I had heard of the Plex channel a while ago but didn't look into it much. I'm hoping this can provide a simpler alternative for people who don't want to have to set up Plex just to watch Giant Bomb videos (assuming there are some people out there who don't already use Plex for other purposes).

Just looked at the GB Plex bundle though out of curiosity - if I'm reading that correctly it sounds like it supports live (Twitch only?) streams! That's really neat - I haven't gotten live stream support added to this app.

I'll probably try setting the Plex channel up now to try it out :)

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#4 Posted by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

I've gotten a lot of volunteers from here and from the GB subreddit post I made and some great feedback already too!

Still a couple spots left if anyone else is interested. Thanks a ton to everyone who's signed up so far :)

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#5 Posted by RedPhoenix122 (19 posts) -

I'm down. I've been looking for an app for FireTV.

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#6 Posted by Tykin (14 posts) -

So, why not AndroidTV and FireTV? It looks like you're using the Leanback support library, which Google created and AndroidTV and FireTV both support. Unless you're using Amazon specific APIs, it should work on both.

If you're accepting AndroidTV testers, I can help out. I've developed a few Android apps (including a Giant Bomb one back in the day), so I may be able to provide some good feedback.

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#7 Posted by Swizzler121 (7 posts) -

do GB video buddy and Luchadeer not work on fire tv? I was planning on getting one but lack of those apps would be a huge con.

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#8 Edited by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

@tykin: Hi Tykin,

You're right, it should work on both. However, for external reasons (I can't really get into it) I'll only be releasing this officially on the Amazon App Store. After the initial release, I'm planning on just posting the APK somewhere so people can download + sideload it on whatever device they like, but until then it's Fire TV devices only.

Sorry!

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#9 Posted by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

@swizzler121: I'm not sure about Luchadeer, but the GB Video Buddy does work on the Fire TV if you sideload it (that's what I was using for a long time) but it's just not designed for use on a TV. Totally useable though.

If not having those apps is a huge mark against Fire TV, well, you may be in luck... I hear somebody is developing a Giant Bomb app specifically for Fire TV devices... ;)

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#10 Posted by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

Thanks for everyone who has volunteered to test, I really appreciate! I have enough testers now :)

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#11 Edited by Mister_V (2410 posts) -

Damn, Just seen this.

I sent an email if you decide to add more testers at any point.

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#12 Edited by tyn0mite (142 posts) -

Man I really would like to test this!! Hope it goes well and gets a full release!!

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#13 Posted by JoeKid (6 posts) -

I would like to test the S*** out of it! 4kfiretv premium

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#14 Posted by FromAutumnToSal (4 posts) -

Any update on this getting pushed to pubic or still in testing?

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#15 Posted by Bratcher_Lev (390 posts) -

Ahem. So, uh... how is this coming along?

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#16 Posted by digitaldiatribe (110 posts) -

Still an active project? I'm interested in this when and if it comes out.

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#17 Posted by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -

It's coming along well, I'm hoping to have the full release out some time in the next week or so.

Keep an eye out for a new forum post announcing the release!

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#18 Edited by alecgdouglas (104 posts) -