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Roku no longer allowing new YouTube TV downloads, but current users are OK

YouTube TV on Roku
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

Roku today sent another email to customers regarding its ongoing feud with Google over YouTube TV, noting that "Google has chosen to let the YouTube TV contact expire."

But, Roku said it is "taking an extra step to ensure existing Roku users like yourself retain access to YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement." It is not, however, allowing new downloads of the YouTube TV channel.

In other worse, they've agreed on some sort of short-term extension that keeps YouTube TV on Roku, for now. And that's good, seeing as how Roku is the largest streaming platform in the United States, and YouTube TV is the second-largest live TV streaming service in the U.S.

Google, for its part, previously called Roku's accusations "baseless."

The gist, for those who missed it this week, is that Roku fired the first shot with an initial email to customers warning that they could lose access to YouTube TV because the two companies couldn't come to a new agreement. Roku said it "cannot accept Google's unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more."

While neither Roku nor Google has specifically said what the breakdown is over, at the end of the day it's almost certainly about money. (Though a report in Axios said there were other demands from Google, including requirements for the YouTube app on Roku.)

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In addition to the email to customers, Roku sent an additional statement to journalists this morning:

“We are disappointed that Google has allowed our agreement for the distribution of YouTube TV to expire. Roku has not asked for one dollar of additional financial consideration from Google to renew YouTube TV.  

We have only asked Google for four simple commitments. First, not to manipulate consumer search results. Second, not to require access to data not available to anyone else. Third, not to leverage their YouTube monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs. Fourth, not to act in a discriminatory and anticompetitive manner against Roku. 

Because our contract has expired, we have removed YouTube TV from our channel store. To continue to provide our users with a great streaming experience, we are taking the extra step to continue to offer existing subscribers access to YouTube TV on the Roku platform unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel. Because of Google's conduct, new subscriptions will not be available going forward until an agreement is reached.   

It is well past time for Google to embrace the principles that have made streaming so popular for millions of users by giving consumers control of their streaming experience, by embracing fair competition and by ceasing anticompetitive practices. We believe consumers stand to benefit from Google and Roku reaching a fair agreement that preserves these principles and we remain committed to trying to achieve that goal.” 

That brings us to today, the last day of the month and apparently the end of the current deal between Roku and YouTube TV.

The YouTube TV channel still appears in the web version of the Roku Channel store, but clicking it just takes you back to the main listings. 

Here's the full text of the email:

Dear Roku Customer, 

We are disappointed to share the news that Google has chosen to let the YouTube TV contract expire.

While this news is unfortunate, we wanted to let you know that we are taking an extra step to ensure existing Roku users like yourself retain access to YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement.  

We will always stand up for our users, which is why we cannot accept Google's unfair and anticompetitive requirements that would allow for the manipulation of your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more.

Our commitment is to always put your interests first and therefore we will continue to offer existing users access to YouTube TV unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel. New subscribers will not be allowed at this time. It is also important that you do not delete the YouTube TV channel as it will not be available for download to Roku devices.

We remain committed to reaching a good-faith agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, honors your desired search preferences and protects your data. We hope to update you soon.

Thank you,

Roku