Update: the developers of Primecast have confirmed to Android Police that they were "locked out" of the app's streaming functionality.
Don't say we didn't warn you. On Thursday we published a story about Primecast, an enterprising app that allowed Android users to log in to Amazon and stream Amazon Instant Video movies and television shows to Chromecast. Though Amazon has (finally) allowed non-Kindle Fire owners to watch their purchased or subscribed videos, they haven't enabled Chromecast like their competitors at Google, Netflix, and others. Presumably this is in hopes of driving customers to the Fire TV platform.
Primecast worked around that limitation, allowing Amazon customers (paying customers, we might add) to stream videos that they had purchased or placed in their watchlist directly to a Chromecast. But now the creators have pulled Primecast from the Play Store, and even those who purchased the $2.99 app are seeing an apologetic message instead of video when they try to "cast" their content to a nearby TV.
On the official Primecast website, the developers had this to say:
Dear Primecast users,
a few months ago, we set out to bring together two great products that seemed like a natural fit: Amazon Instant Video and Google Chromecast. We spent most of our free time trying to come up with the best solution we could, while also safeguarding your privacy, honoring digital rights management and copyright mechanisms, and making the app as useful as possible.
Two days ago, we felt we were ready for an announcement, so we posted a single link on Reddit...and waited. The feedback was amazing. In a matter of hours, we received dozens of great reviews and encouraging comments. 89% of reviewers on Google Play (many of whom are reading this) gave us 5 or 4 stars. Since we were on track to cover our costs much earlier than expected, we started planning for the next steps – like eventually quitting our day-to-day jobs and starting to serve end users directly, giving them great products they enjoyed using.
Unfortunately, the journey came to an end after 36 hours, and we decided to pull the Primecast app from the Google Play Store. We are very sorry.
At this time, we do not know if Primecast will return. What we do know however is that we would love to continue providing you with great software and a great experience. Thank you for your support!
The Primecast team
PS: You can reach us at [email protected].
While the creators didn't give a reason for the sudden shutdown, it's a safe bet that someone at Amazon objected. Assuming that Amazon interfered in some way, they could have revoked Primecast's API access to Amazon video, petitioned Google to remove the app from the Play Store on copyright claims, or simply issued a Cease And Desist order. To be clear: we don't know what happened, and the developers of Primecast aren't saying. On a topical thread on Reddit, a user claiming to represent the developers said that they weren't forced to say or refrain from saying anything in particular.
Those who purchased the app can still see the Primecast listing in the Play Store and re-download it, but little good it does them. The streaming functionality has been completely disabled. (Don't expect a refund from Google, folks, the cessation of service didn't have anything to do with a failure on their part. You might try a direct appeal to the email address above.) Something tells me that this return to a lack of options won't make Amazon's video customers any more eager to shell out a hundred bucks for a Fire TV.