After more than seven months of uncertainty, YouTube TV users can now confidently use their live TV streaming service on a Roku device without fear of their apps going away.
The two streaming giants have reached a new “multi-year” agreement that will allow for the YouTube TV and YouTube apps to remain on Roku devices for new and existing users. Streamers everywhere, rejoice!
This news comes just one day before a deadline set by Google, which threatened to remove all of its apps from Roku on Dec. 9, 2021, if a new agreement wasn’t reached.
Team Clark has been tracking this dispute for months, and we’re happy to help you understand how we’ve gotten to this happy ending after months of uncertainty.
Simply put: Roku users can resume downloading and using YouTube TV on their devices without any concern about a disruption in service.
The previous agreement between YouTube TV and Roku expired on April 30, and that’s when Roku stopped allowing the YouTube TV app to be downloaded on its devices.
For the last seven months, new YouTube TV users were forced to use a “back door” into the YouTube TV ecosystem on Roku devices by accessing the service via a special link on the regular YouTube app.
Long-time Roku users may not have even noticed that there was an issue, but it was definitely a concern for new users and for people who needed to re-download the YouTube TV app on a Roku device.
And all Roku users would have been affected by the threatened Dec. 9 removal date. No need to worry now, though!
If you’re wondering why this contract dispute carried on for more than seven months, we can help you understand some of the elements.
The short version of the story behind this fight is this: Back in April, Roku said Google (which owns YouTube) wanted special treatment for YouTube TV.
This reportedly included things like preferred placement on Roku devices and access to data on user behavior that Roku doesn’t provide to other streaming services. Google called these claims “untrue and baseless.”
When the previous contract expired in April, Roku took action by limiting downloads of the YouTube TV app:
Later that day, YouTube TV sent a letter of its own to its userbase explaining the situation and offering streaming solutions:
In the months that followed, Google became threatened to remove all of its apps (YouTube and YouTube TV) from Roku devices. That would have affected new and existing users alike.
In October, Google set a Dec. 9 deadline for reaching an agreement before it planned to take action. That deadline was met, thankfully.
Both YouTube TV and Roku have issued official statements acknowledging that a new agreement was reached on Dec. 8, 2021.
YouTube spokesperson Mariana De Feleice made the following statement, via CNBC:
“We’re happy to share that we’ve reached a deal with Roku to continue distributing the YouTube and YouTube TV apps on Roku devices. This means that Roku customers will continue to have access to YouTube and that the YouTube TV app will once again be available in the Roku store for both new and existing members. We are pleased to have a partnership that benefits our mutual users.”
Roku struck a similarly matter-of-fact tone with its statement on the agreement. Here’s what Roku representative Dallas Lawrence told The Verge on Wednesday:
“This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform.”
The financial terms of this multi-year agreement were not immediately disclosed.
After months of dramatic statements that drew the attention of the U.S. Congress, these are pretty tame comments. This is probably how streamers would prefer it. After all, we mostly just want our streaming content to work on our streaming devices.
YouTube TV has long been one of Team Clark’s favorite live TV streaming services. We have rated it as our best streaming service for DVR functionality and overall experience.
Though it’s not the cheapest cable replacement option on the market, it is perhaps the most robust. It comes with unlimited DVR storage space, most of the popular channels you may be seeking (including local channels), and it has a user-friendly app that is available on a wide variety of devices (including Roku!).
You can compare the availability of your favorite channels on YouTube TV and all the other live TV streaming services by using Team Clark’s streaming channel tool here.
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