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Google pulls a fast one on Roku by putting YouTube TV in the YouTube app

Youtube Tv Vs. Fubotv
Youtube Tv Vs. Fubotv (Image credit: Keegan Prosser / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out an update for Roku devices that will make YouTube TV accessible from the YouTube app.
  • The move acts as a workaround to Roku removing the YouTube TV app from its channel store.
  • The two companies are reportedly still negotiating the terms of YouTube TV on Roku devices.

Google has just introduced a new update to the YouTube app on the best Roku devices that will make YouTube TV accessible from within the app. The new option to "Go to YouTube TV" will be available on the left sidebar of the main YouTube app.

The move comes after Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its Channel Store after negotiations with Google apparently broke down over the terms of the app. Google reportedly asked Roku to provide a dedicated row for YouTube search results, and Roku has accused Google of "unfair and anti-competitive requirements to manipulate your search results."

Youtube Tv Roku App Workaround

Source: YouTube (Image credit: Source: YouTube)

In a blog post about the new feature, Google states that the companies are still in ongoing negotiations over access to YouTube TV. Anyone with the app already on their devices will continue to have access to the service, but anyone else will have to go through the YouTube app.

Google also states that it's trying to make sure Roku devices meet its "technical requirements" to "ensure a consistent and high-quality YouTube experience." That largely refers to AV1, a codec the company has been pushing for more streaming devices to support.

A Roku spokesperson gave the following statement to Android Central regarding the move to bundle YouTube TV in the YouTube app:

Google's actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice. The bundling announcement by YouTube highlights the kind of predatory business practices used by Google that Congress, Attorney Generals and regulatory bodies around the world are investigating.Roku has not asked for one additional dollar in financial value from YouTubeTV. We have simply asked Google to stop their anticompetitive behavior of manipulating user search results to their unique financial benefit and to stop demanding access to sensitive data that no other partner on our platform receives today.In response, Google has continued its practice of blatantly leveraging its YouTube monopoly to force an independent company into an agreement that is both bad for consumers and bad for fair competition.

Google has previously denied requesting access to customer data and insists that it only seeks to renew terms that have been in place for years. The company also states that if worse comes to worst regarding its negotiations with Roku, it is working with its partners on the possibility of providing free streaming devices. Roku's statement suggests that it's quite probable that talks could break down further between the two companies.

As far as the new workaround, Google states (via The Verge) that customers cannot use it to sign up for new YouTube TV subscriptions, as it's only for viewing content. The new feature will come only to Roku devices "over the next few days" since YouTube TV is still available on other devices like Chromecast with Google TV. The feature may expand to other devices over time.

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

10 Comments
  • Nevermind, I answered my question
  • Screw Roku. They are doing this to the cable companies also. Many of us bought our rokus as a cable box replacement and these ******** are playing this game that is only screwing people who spent money on their crap devices. Get out of the damn way.
  • The price of these devices makes it easy to jump ship if YouTube TV is no longer available. I just got my Chromecast with Google TV.
  • For those of us that can't afford alot I'm glad I have free TV on our slow wifi on Roku.
  • Whether it is Roku versus Google or Amazon versus Disney, these companies always do this. However while they play hardball with eachother, the customers get stuck in the middle and invariably pay the price for it.
  • I do find it funny when "Roku" says that Google is an unchecked monopolist. This is the pot calling the kettle black, as the saying goes.
  • This is yet another reason I absolutely hate smart TVs. Some TVs have Roku as the OS of the TV. The best TV would not have an internet connection except for firmware updates and you would use external devices for whatever services you use. Unfortunately, you cannot buy a good quality TV without the so called "smart" functions but at least you can use them offline.
  • It hardly matters though. I have a TV with Roku as the OS and used an Apple TV on it for a while. Just use what you want.
  • Eh just get an apple tv or another streaming device. In the long run they will run better than the smart OS anyway. 
  • The thing is, if Google is making a requirement for the AV1 codec (which is good in theory) then they should at least have it in all of their devices. Hard to take them seriously when even their own devices don't all have this codec in them.