What you need to know
- Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its app store after negotiations with Google fell through.
- Google responded to the action, maintaining its position and accusing Roku of seeking "special treatment."
- Roku has called Google's terms "unfair and anti-competitive."
Anyone looking to download the YouTube TV app on any of the best Roku devices may be in for a surprise, as the company has just removed the app from its store. The move comes after failed negotiations between the two companies, with Roku accusing Google of monopolistic behavior and search manipulation.
Google issued a statement in response to Roku's action, stating that Roku has "engaged in this tactic with other streaming providers" and that Google's terms have been in place for several years.
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.
Meanwhile, Roku had informed users that its refusal to agree to Google's terms is about protecting its users from "Google's unfair and anti-competitive requirements to manipulate your search results," which Google denies. According to Axios, Google has reportedly asked Roku to add a dedicated row for YouTube search results, giving the streaming service preferential treatment over others.
Roku also accuses Google of using its monopoly power to "force terms" on streamers, which Google counters by accusing Roku of seeking "special treatment" while using the opportunity to renegotiate terms for the main YouTube app, which don't expire until December.
Google states that access to YouTube TV remains for those who already have the app installed but urges Roku not to remove the app from its platform and bring it back into its app store. It also points out that YouTube TV is still available on many of the best streaming devices like its own Chromecast with Google TV.
Meanwhile, both companies urge users to contact support teams on the opposing side to encourage a resolution between the two companies. However, it appears that both companies are no backing down from their stance.
Android Central has reached out to Roku for a comment but did not immediately receive a response.