Update: As of December 8th, 2021, YouTube TV and Roku have come to a multi-year agreement where YouTube TV is again available in the Roku App store. This article documents the original dispute that led to YouTube TV originally being removed from Roku
Roku has removed the YouTube TV app from its library due to an ongoing contract renewal dispute between them. If you are a YouTube TV user and watch the service on Roku, Google has released a way to use YouTube TV on Roku through the YouTube app, which is still supported on Roku devices. However, if you still want to use the YouTube TV app, don’t delete it from your Roku. If you remove the app from your Roku device, there will be no way to reinstall it. This also means that YouTube TV users will not see updates to their app on the Roku platform. Until this dispute is resolved, it would be best for Roku owners to use YouTube TV to do so through the YouTube app. If neither of these options appeals to you, you can always opt to watch YouTube TV on a firestick.
Roku gave the following statement regarding the decision:
We have only asked Google for four simple commitments. First, not to manipulate consumer search results. Second, not to require access to data not available to anyone else. Third, not to leverage their YouTube monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs. Fourth, not to act in a discriminatory and anticompetitive manner against Roku. Because our contract has expired, we have removed YouTube TV from our channel store. To continue to provide our users with a great streaming experience, we are taking the extra step to continue to offer existing subscribers access to YouTube TV on the Roku platform unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel.
Because of Google’s conduct, new subscriptions will not be available going forward until an agreement is reached.
It is well past time for Google to embrace the principles that have made streaming so popular for millions of users by giving consumers control of their streaming experience, by embracing fair competition and by ceasing anticompetitive practices. We believe consumers stand to benefit from Google and Roku reaching a fair agreement that preserves these principles and we remain committed to trying to achieve that goal.
Google denies much of Roku’s claim in a blog post written in rebuttal. The YouTube TV team states:
We’ve been working with Roku to renew our deal to distribute YouTube TV on their devices. Despite our best efforts to come to an agreement in the best interests of our mutual users, Roku terminated our deal in bad faith amidst our negotiation.
In the blog post, YouTube TV claims Roku took the opportunity to use the negotiations over YouTube TV to renegotiate terms on the YouTube app, whose agreement ends later this year. YouTube TV claims Roku wanted a special exception on support for a video standard The YouTube app requires for higher video resolutions. ARStechnica has an in-depth write up on nature of the technical dispute.
In the meantime, we at Grounded Reason will update you as this situation evolves and be updating the device support section of our YouTube TV review and other pertinent articles.
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