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!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann