YouTube TV Roku app gone: What comes next [UPDATE: YouTube statement]

Chris Burns - Apr 30, 2021, 9:37am CDT
YouTube TV Roku app gone: What comes next [UPDATE: YouTube statement]

Today the YouTube TV app was removed from Roku as Google and Roku did not reach an agreement for license extension. The contract between the companies would have required that Roku agree to terms with which they suggest they’re not comfortable. These terms would apparently place Google apps and services at the top of search results, and provide Google with user tracking data Roku says they should not need.

If you are a Roku user and currently use the YouTube TV app, you should be OK for a while. Roku says they will not go in and remove the app from your device, and will not cut off service unless Google intervenes. At the moment, it is only the YouTube TV app listed for download with the Roku channel store that’s removed as a listing.

New subscriptions for YouTube TV will not be able to activated, even if you already have the YouTube TV app installed. If you already have the YouTube TV app installed and you already have a subscription, you should be able to access YouTube TV on your Roku.

The standard YouTube app will be unaffected by this situation, as far as any official source says as yet. YouTube TV and YouTube have separate contract agreements with Roku, and one should not bear upon the other. This does not mean that this situation won’t change how Google works with Roku in the future – it COULD happen.

Users have reported that the YouTube TV app for Roku remains active and unaffected for the moment. It COULD be deactivated in the future, but for now it’ll remain available to users so long as they’ve already subscribed and already have the standard app on their Roku device.

UPDATE: YouTube representatives released a statement on the subject, suggesting that their “offer to Roku was simple and still stands: renew the YouTube TV deal under the existing reasonable terms.” They’ve suggested that Roku “chose to use this as a separate deal encompassing the YouTube main app.”

YouTube representatives also suggested that Roku “requested exceptions” to their technical requirements “that would break the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube in order to fix issues or add new features.” This included Roku not agreeing to open-source video codecs.

Most importantly, YouTube representatives say that they “have never, as they have alleged, made any requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false.”


Must Read Bits & Bytes