TV Answer Man, I am going crazy trying to watch YouTube on my Roku. I keep getting a message that says I can’t run the channel when I try to access the app. Do you know what’s wrong and how to fix it? — Sheila, Lafayette, Louisiana. 

Sheila, you’re not alone. Hundreds of Roku owners are reporting on social media sites that they can’t watch either YouTube or YouTube TV. When they click on either app, a message displays saying, “Can’t Run the Channel.’

Of course, the natural reaction is that the snafu is related to the five-month old carriage dispute between Roku and Google, which owns YouTube and YouTube TV. In April, Roku was forced to remove YouTube TV from its Channel Store when its carriage agreement with Google expired. However, Roku customers who previously downloaded the YouTube TV app were permitted to keep using it.

In June, Google cleverly added a link to YouTube TV on the navigation bar of its Roku app for YouTube, which continued to be available on the device. This permitted Roku users to access YouTube TV even though the app was not in the Roku Channel Store.

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But the ‘can’t run the channel’ error has prompted some Roku owners to speculate that the carriage fight has escalated, and that now you can’t use any Google service.

“You know what is bearish for $roku?” tweeted @thecrowdisuntruth this afternoon. “Them blocking Youtube TV on their service when I pay $65 a month for it. They are still fighting with Google and removed the Youtube TV app and the regular Youtube app wasn’t working as well. Search twitter for proof.”

However, I am happy to report that the error message was just that — an error. While Roku and Google are still fighting, Roku did not change its previous policy to allow users to watch YouTube, or access YouTube TV via the YouTube app.

In fact, Roku today issued the following fix for the problem:

“Thank you for your patience while we worked to resolve this issue. We have identified the cause and this issue has now been fixed. In order to apply the latest fix please follow the instructions below to manually check for a software update.
1. Press the Home button on the Roku remote.
2. Scroll up or down and select Settings.
3. Select System.
4. Select System Update
5. Select Check Now to manually check for updates.”

YouTube’s Twitter customer service team added this:

“Do not uninstall the ‘YouTube TV app’ on Roku devices as this does not fix the issue and may lead to losing access to YouTube TV on Roku devices.”

Sheila, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann