Google pushes back against Roku and puts YouTube TV in the YouTube app
At the end of April, Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its channel store, escalating what has become a very public spat between Roku and Google. In response, the search giant has come up with a workaround by making Youtube TV accessible from within the YouTube app.
Google published a blog post on Friday saying existing subscribers can click on “Go to YouTube TV” in the main YouTube app. The search giant said the update will be available to all YouTube TV members on Roku over the next few days, and will expand to even more devices over time.
“While we roll out this new feature we also want to give you an update on where things stand in our negotiations with Roku as we know that’s on many of our members’ minds,” Google said. “We’re still working to come to an agreement with Roku to ensure continued access to YouTube TV for our mutual customers. As of right now, existing YouTube TV members still have access to the app on Roku devices.”
Roku has yet to respond to Google’s latest update, but it’s unlikely to make the company happy. When Roku first removed YouTube TV from its channel store, the company accused Google of seeking “unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more.” Google, of course, very mush disagrees, calling Roku’s claims “baseless and false.”
While a resolution has yet to be made, Google wants to ensure people have access to YouTube TV. In addition to making the service available through the main YouTube app, Google also said it’s in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices for YouTube TV members who face access issues on Roku. It’s unclear if/when such a program will be implemented.
Google also said it’s in discussions with Roku to certify that new devices meet the search giant’s technical requirements. “This certification process exists to ensure a consistent and high quality YouTube experience across different devices, including Google’s own — so you know how to navigate the app and what to expect,” Google said.
Roku has allegedly taken umbrage with Google over its new technical requirements, which may focus on AV1 decoding. As we previously wrote, the codec isn’t supported by most Roku devices just yet — or most current-get streaming devices — and forcing companies to adopt the technology could result in more expensive products.