Roku follows through with its threat to remove the YouTube TV app

Roku follows through with its threat to remove the YouTube TV app

After warning customers they may lose access to YouTube TV, Roku on Friday removed the app from its channel store, escalating a disagreement between the two companies. If you currently have the YouTube TV app on your Roku device, you can still access it, but new users can no longer download it to their device.

The latest development is related to an expired distribution agreement between Roku and Google for YouTube TV. Roku has accused Google of seeking “unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more.”

“While we are deeply disappointed in Google’s decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects your data and ensures a level playing field for companies to compete,” Roku previously said.

In response to today’s news, Google published a blog post (via Droid-Life) accusing Roku of requesting special treatment.

“Our initial conversations started with Roku simply to renew the current terms of their ongoing deal with YouTube TV, which has been in place for several years,” Google said. “Our offer to Roku was simple and still stands: renew the YouTube TV deal under the existing reasonable terms. However, Roku chose to use this as an opportunity to renegotiate a separate deal encompassing the YouTube main app, which does not expire until December.”

Google goes on to say that it never made any quests to access user data or interfere with search results. “This claim is baseless and false,” Google said. The search giant does seem to admit, however, that Google is adamant Roku get on board with the AV1 codec — something that was speculated earlier this week.

“Our agreements with partners have technical requirements to ensure a high quality experience on YouTube,” Google said. “Roku requested exceptions that would break the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube in order to fix issues or add new features. For example, by not supporting open-source video codecs, you wouldn’t be able to watch YouTube in 4K HDR or 8K even if you bought a Roku device that supports that resolution.”

It sounds like discussions are ongoing, but judging by their statements, it doesn’t sound like either company is willing to budge. Ultimately, the consumer loses out, because it means Roku users can’t download YouTube TV — at least for the time being. We’ll bring you updates as they’re made available.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.