Q. I just got a notice from Roku that it may lose YouTube TV over some thing with Google. Do you know anything about this? Will we lose YouTube TV? — Claire, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Claire, the answer is yes. You could lose YouTube TV on Roku. Let me explain.
Roku has sent an e-mail to subscribers that says “Google (the owner of YouTubeTV) may take away your access to YouTube TV on Roku. Recent negotiations with Google to carry YouTube TV have broken down because Roku can not accept Google’s unfair terms because we believe they could harm our users.”
The e-mail goes on to suggest that Google is demanding that Roku alter its Search results to give YouTube TV an advantage over its rivals. Roku does not offer a timetable for when its subscribers could lose YouTube TV, but it urges them to tell Google to reach a new carriage agreement.
As of this morning, Google has not commented on the Roku statement.
Update: The Google statement:
“We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations. All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users.”
The first thing I would advocate that Roku subscribers do is download the YouTube TV app. In past disputes with AT&T TV and Spectrum TV, the apps were removed from Roku’s Channel Store, but those who previously downloaded them could continue to use them. That could happen here as well so, if you are considering using YouTube TV at any point on Roku, download it now.
Second, the e-mail would suggest strongly that the companies are not close to an agreement, and a blackout could be imminent. The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation, and report back here if anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann
Phillip didn’t clarify, but unless your TV allows downloads of Apps to its own internal platform, you’ll need to download the YTTV app to your smartphone and cast to the TV, or, download to external “sideload” storage like a flash or harddrive and run the app from that.
If Roku loses YTTV, I lose YTTV. There are too many other choices out there.
I quite YTTV and all other tv providers a month ago, but this story just proves my point that watching tv has become a freakin’ battlefield now. You can’t just tune in and veg out, it’s a constant fight with these clowns now.
Learn to cultivate and curate the AVOD providers (Pluto TV, Xumo, Stirr, Plex Live TV, Distro TV, Prende, Airy, Freeli, Roku Live TV, and others). I’ve been watching more content on said services that I have on the paid ones. Plenty of good stuff to watch. Eventually the SVOD providers will shake out and notice that you have to give value at reasonable cost or you’ll die a slow death. Google and Facebook are prepping for the aftermath engaged by Apple and iOS 14.5, where folks are given a choice to block selling of their data to advertisers. They know this new stance by Apple is going to spread across the digital landscape. They have to adjust their revenue models accordingly. That should explain Roku’s stance versus Google. Let the games begin!