TV Answer Man, I read your article that Roku subscribers could lose access to YouTube TV because of a fight between Roku and Google. Could we also lose YouTube, not just YouTube TV? I watch the YouTube every day but I don’t care about YouTube TV because it costs money. — Molly, Jupiter, Florida.
Molly, as you note, Roku this week sent an e-mail to its subscribers that warns them that they could lose the YouTube TV app due to a fight with YouTube TV’s owner, Google. The specifics of the argument are uncertain with Roku suggesting Google wants to dictate how the app can be found in Roku’s Search feature while Google denies that and says it hopes a settlement can be reached before the app is removed. (You can learn more about the fight here.)
We also don’t know the deadline for any settlement because neither Roku or Google will say when their current agreement expires. But as I wrote earlier this week, I would guess that a blackout could be imminent because of the timing and language in the Roku e-mail. The company appears to be looking for leverage with its customers before any standoff begins.
But we do know — or at least, I think we know — that the dispute would not affect YouTube. The Roku e-mail makes no reference to Google’s free video service, only that YouTube TV could be removed. (In case you don’t know, YouTube TV is a multi-channel, live streaming service that starts at $64.99 a month while YouTube is a free service with millions of user-generated videos.) I’m confident that Roku would have noted that its users could lose both apps if that were the case.
So, Molly, I believe your perusal of the free YouTube on Roku is not in jeopardy.
Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann