YouTube says it is launching a new feature that will let users access to YouTube TV from within the YouTube app, starting with Roku devices. The move comes after Roku last week removed the YouTube TV app from the Roku channel store over a dispute on distribution terms for the core YouTube app.
According to YouTube, existing YouTube TV members will be able to access the live-TV service by clicking on “Go to YouTube TV” in the main YouTube app. It will be available to all YouTube TV members on Roku “over the next few days,” YouTube said, adding that it plans to expand the feature to more devices over time.
“On a parallel path, we’re working with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement.
Last week, the standoff between Roku and Google escalated into public view. Roku pulled YouTube TV from its channel store on April 30, alleging that Google was making anticompetitive demands for Roku to continue distribution of the core YouTube app. Google denied it was seeking any preferential treatment and claimed it was Roku that tied discussions over YouTube TV distribution with the deal to carry YouTube. For now, Roku users who have already installed YouTube TV continue to have access from the app (as long as they don’t remove it from their devices).
On Friday, YouTube provided an update on its talks with Roku.
“We’re still working to come to an agreement with Roku to ensure continued access to YouTube TV for our mutual customers,” the video giant said. “As of right now, existing YouTube TV members still have access to the app on Roku devices.”
Separately, YouTube said it is also in ongoing, long-term conversations with Roku “to certify that new devices meet our technical requirements. This certification process exists to ensure a consistent and high-quality YouTube experience across different devices, including Google’s own — so you know how to navigate the app and what to expect.”
Asked for comment, a Roku spokesperson said the latest move by Google shows that it continues to “blatantly leverage its YouTube monopoly” to try got extract unfair terms from Roku.
“Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice,” the Roku rep said. “Roku has not asked for one additional dollar in financial value from YouTube TV. We have simply asked Google to stop their anticompetitive behavior of manipulating user search results to their unique financial benefit and to stop demanding access to sensitive data that no other partner on our platform receives today. In response, Google has continued its practice of blatantly leveraging its YouTube monopoly to force an independent company into an agreement that is both bad for consumers and bad for fair competition.”