I was excited to test out my new FireTV Stick from Amazon, given that I have an Unlimited Prime account. Unfortunately, none of the video content would play. Each time I tried to watch something that was under my Prime membership, I received a “LICENCE_ERROR” code. Strangely, I could play music that I had matched with the service from my collection – but could not stream movies or television.
There was a customer service section in the menu. Clicking on this brought up a dialogue for me to put in my telephone number (for a call-back). I tried several numbers but it kept telling me that they were invalid phone numbers and wouldn’t accept any of them!
Not off to a good start…
I went onto the Amazon website and found that I could do a call-back there (under the FireTV customer service page). This worked pretty well. After entering my number, my phone rang and I was put through to customer service.
After discussing various solutions, the customer service rep discovered that I had a problem: I use both Amazon US and UK with credit cards and mailing addresses in each country. Somehow, my Prime Membership was associated with the US Amazon (despite being paid for in the UK) and had to be switched. This is because there was a geo-restriction on playing content from the US account in the UK.
Unfortunately, if I switched my primary account from the US to the UK, then I would lose the ability to download all of my ebooks and manage my Kindle devices (including iPads, etc). Considering that I have purchased hundreds of items since 2008 from the US store, this was a no-go!
In the end, the rep and I decided that there was nothing more we could do. The FireTV Stick might work when I visited the US but would be unusable in the UK. He suggested it had to do with content restrictions from the publishers.
Unfortunately, this is bollocks.
If it was a content restriction imposed by the publishers of the content, then why is it that I CAN play any of the Amazon Prime video content in a Web browser, on an iPad (through the Amazon Instant App), and on my Sony DVD drive (on the Amazon App) – all from within the UK and with the same account??
Amazon is playing catch-up with all the other streaming services, namely Netflix and the Apple TV. The FireTV Stick, sadly, is not going to help them win this fight – especially, not for international and roaming customers like myself.
My advice: buy the Apple TV. Despite being a little larger, you can carry it around the world, plug it in and watch whatever your account allows – wherever you are in the world!