Following the YouTube TV channel’s removal from the Roku store, YouTube has responded by explaining the ongoing situation from its perspective in a bid to clear up any confusion on what’s happening. In short, YouTube says the current problem is all Roku’s doing.
Earlier in the week, it became clear that a dispute had arisen between Roku and Google with YouTube TV at the center of the disagreement. Essentially, Roku had warned users that there was a possibility of the app being removed from the Roku platform. On Friday, that possibility became a reality when Roku stopped downloads of YouTube TV on Roku players and smart TVs powered by Roku OS. At the time, Roku made it clear that the decision was made in the interest of protecting user privacy.
In a blog post, YouTube has now directly addressed many of the criticisms leveled at it by Roku, stating that it was Roku who terminated the current deal while the two were still negotiating. Expanding on this point, YouTube also added how this is a tactic that “Roku has often engaged in” with other services. In addition, YouTube explains that it didn’t request any changes to the existing deal. In fact, it had requested the old deal just rolls over and becomes the new deal, essentially extending the current agreement that was in place.
YouTube goes on to explain that it was Roku who wanted to renegotiate the terms of the existing deal and specifically in reference to bundling the standard YouTube app into the same agreement. The separate YouTube app is distributed on Roku devices as part of a separate arrangement, and one that’s not due to expire until December, according to YouTube.
The Roku and Google blame game
Roku explicitly stated in emails to users that Google was the issue and Roku wasn’t prepared to put users at risk by accepting “Google’s unfair and anticompetitive requirements.” Now, YouTube is explicitly stating that Roku is the issue and that it won’t “give Roku special treatment at the expense of users.” Basically, both are blaming each other and using the subscribers’ streaming wellbeing as the reason.
In more detail, Roku has argued that Google and YouTube’s requirements would result in the manipulation of search results, impact on data usage and cost the user more. In YouTube’s defense, it argues that Roku wants to make changes that could impact the viewing experience in general. YouTube references the ability for YouTube to be watched in 4K HDR or 8K as one such example.
Regardless of the reason, or who is ultimately to blame, the end result is the same. The very people both Roku and Google argue they are acting on behalf of are the ones most affected by the current dispute – the users. It is worth being aware that it is only new downloads of the YouTube TV app that are currently prohibited. Both Roku and Google have taken the opportunity in their respective communications to confirm Roku players and smart TVs that already have the YouTube channel installed will continue to work as normal.