Recognition: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
- Roku removed YouTube TV from its channel store after negotiations with Google collapsed.
- However, YouTube TV will remain available to current subscribers on Roku devices.
- Google responded to Roku’s claims that the problem came from Google and not Roku.
Updated April 30, 2021 (12:30 PM ET): The drama between Roku and Google over the fate of YouTube on Roku’s streaming hardware escalated again. This time, Google finally stepped in to create its own account for the spit between the two companies.
In a long blog post, Google explains that it did not want to change anything in its current contract with Roku. However, it should be noted that the current contract stipulates that Roku must update its hardware to support certain streaming formats related to YouTube. Allegedly, Roku refused, which is causing the stall.
Our agreements with partners have technical requirements to ensure a high quality experience on YouTube. Roku requested exceptions that would affect the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube to fix issues or add new functionality. For example, if you don’t support open source video codecs, you won’t be able to watch YouTube in 4K HDR or 8K even if you bought a Roku device that supports that resolution.
The technology referenced here is almost certainly the AV1 codec. As Google says, if Rokus don’t support this codec, they won’t be able to stream YouTube content at high resolutions, even if the Roku itself supports 4K or 8K content.
Google also contradicts Roku’s claims that Google is asking for access to user data or manipulation of search results:
To be clear, as claimed, we never made requests to access user data or compromise search results. This claim is unfounded and wrong.
We’ll have to wait and see how this drama develops in the future.
Original article, April 30, 2021 (9:18 a.m. ET): The negotiations between Roku and Google over their YouTube TV distribution agreement appear to be over and this is not good news for Roku users. The two parties have not agreed on new terms that would allow Roku to offer YouTube TV on its platform. As a result, the YouTube TV app can no longer be downloaded from the Roku Channel Store.
According to a previous report, Google’s requests allegedly included a dedicated search channel in the Roku interface. Roku reportedly wanted to give preference to YouTube Music when using voice commands, among other things.
According to a statement sent via email, Roku wanted Google to commit to four key points. These were namely:
- Do not manipulate consumer search results.
- No need to access data that is not available to anyone else.
- Not using YouTube’s monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs.
- Take action against Roku in a non-discriminatory and anti-competitive manner.
Since the companies could not reach a consensus, the contract has expired. As a result, new users who purchase a Roku device will no longer have access to the service.
What about existing YouTube TV users on Roku?
However, Roku is trying to mitigate the blow to existing customers. It should be noted that the problem does not affect users who already own a Roku device and have an active YouTube TV subscription.
“To continue delivering a great streaming experience for our users, we are taking the additional step of providing existing subscribers with continued access to YouTube TV on the Roku platform unless Google takes action that requires the complete removal of the channel “said Roku in the statement.
Roku then notified YouTube TV users in an email on Friday, informing them of the changes.
However, there is still hope. Roku noted that it “has a duty to enter into a good faith agreement with Google”. But unless the two parties can resolve their impasse soon, YouTube TV likely won’t be part of Roku’s future for much longer.