The result of the negotiation dispute between the two companies means that Roku customers cannot currently watch YouTube TV, YouTube’s subscription-based TV streaming service, on their Roku device.
Over the next coming days, if it’s not rolled out to you already, Roku users will be able to access YouTube TV from right within the main YouTube app. A “Go to YouTube TV” option will be available within the menu on the YouTube app. This will allow YouTube TV’s paying subscribers to watch YouTube TV within the YouTube app on Roku devices.
In case you’re confused about the difference between the two apps: The YouTube app is how users access videos on YouTube.com. This app is still available on Roku devices. The YouTube TV app is how customers of YouTube TV access the cord-cutting streaming service.
While adding YouTube TV within the YouTube app makes sense, the timing clearly shows that this is Google’s workaround to its current dispute with Roku.
According to Google, users still can’t sign up for the YouTube TV service on a Roku device. The “Go to YouTube TV” feature will only work for current subscribers. Another workaround there would be for Roku users to just sign up for YouTube TV on another device and then log in to their account on their Roku.
And Google is likely betting on that, being that Roku only yanked YouTube TV from its channel store. Roku users that have already downloaded the app on their device can still watch the streaming service via the YouTube TV app.
The dispute has gone very public.
“Despite our best efforts to come to an agreement in the best interests of our mutual users, Roku terminated our deal in bad faith amidst our negotiation,” Google on its YouTube TV blog. “Unfortunately, Roku has often engaged in this tactic with other streaming providers.”
“Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice,” Roku said. The bundling announcement by YouTube highlights the kind of predatory business practices used by Google that Congress, Attorney Generals and regulatory bodies around the world are investigating.”
According to Roku, the dispute isn’t over more money. It’s over “sensitive data” and Google’s “anti-competitive behavior of manipulating user search results.”
Roku could certainly respond to Google’s workaround by kicking the YouTube app out of its channel store as well. That would be a much trickier issue for the company being that way more Roku customers watch the free YouTube platform than subscribe to the YouTube TV service.
It’s unclear when the two companies will resolve these issues. But for now, at least, it seems users of both services are no longer being inconvenienced.