Google is making clear moves to ensure Roku device owners continue to be able to watch YouTube TV, including adding a way to access the live TV side directly through the standard YouTube app. This follows on from the dispute that has recently arisen between Google and Roku over YouTube TV.
YouTube TV and Roku are both extremely popular options for consumers in the U.S., making Roku players an ideal option for accessing the live TV service. However, Roku recently disabled the ability for users to download the YouTube TV app on their devices, citing unreasonable privacy requests as the reason. In response, YouTube argued Roku’s decision was for other reasons, going so far as to suggest it was a common tactic used by the company during negotiations.
In its latest response, YouTube provided an update on the situation, explaining that it is still working with Roku to try and resolve the dispute. The announcement also added that it continues to be in separate negotiations with Roku to ensure the company’s devices meet the technical requirements Google sets out for the standard YouTube app.
More interestingly, YouTube took the opportunity to announce a new feature that’s currently rolling out to Roku devices.. Essentially, YouTube is adding a “Go to YouTube TV” link to the standard app so existing subscribers can quickly access the TV side of YouTube TV from the non-TV app. Up until now, YouTube had appeared hesitant to integrate TV-related features in the standard app, but it seems the Roku dispute has changed things.
Bridging the YouTube and YouTube TV gap
Not only has YouTube confirmed that the new YouTube TV shortcut is rolling out to Roku devices over the next few days, but YouTube also says it is planning to make the same feature available on other devices in the future as well. In general, this appears to be a major and important move in bringing the two different sides of YouTube closer together. While a platform might make the decision to remove YouTube TV app access for users, as Roku has now done, removing the actual YouTube app is another thing entirely. Something many won’t want to do lightly, considering how popular the standard YouTube app is.
Of course, YouTube had already confirmed that it is in the process of renegotiating terms with Roku over the standard app, with the current deal currently set to expire at the end of this year. If those negotiations don’t go better than the YouTube TV negotiations have so far, there is the possibility that Roku user access to the standard YouTube app could be affected as well. However, YouTube seems to be preparing for all outcomes right now, as the announcement also explained that it is in talks with “other partners” to offer “free streaming devices” to YouTube TV subscribers that can’t access the live TV service on Roku devices.