Roku Drops YouTube TV App From Channel Store as Agreement Expires

A few days after Roku and YouTube TV made headlines for arguing over terms, the agreement between YouTube TV and Roku has expired, Roku confirmed to PopCulture.com. As a result, new YouTube TV customers will be unable to install the streaming service on Roku streaming devices and Roku TV. The silver lining here — for existing customers, that is — is that Roku says existing users will continue to have access to YouTube TV "unless Google ties actions that require the full removal of the channel." Users should also know that if they delete the YouTube TV app, they will not be able to re-install it.

In a statement to PopCulture, a Roku spokesperson expressed "disappointment" that "Google has allowed our agreement for the distribution of YouTube TV to expire." The spokesperson repeated Roku's claims made earlier this week that the company has not "asked for one dollar of additional financial consideration from Google to renew YouTube TV." They said that Roku has "removed YouTube TV from our channel store" because the contract has expired and is "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."

The statement makes it clear that Roku blames Google, which owns YouTube, for cutting off new subscriptions to the live TV streaming service. "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," the statement continued. "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."

The dispute centers around Roku's claim that Google has asked the company to give it special treatment, like creating a dedicated search results row for YouTube TV within the Roku smart TV interface and giving YouTube search results more prominent placement. Roku also says that Google is asking them to block search results from other streaming providers when users perform a voice search while the YouTube app is open.

The company also alleges that Google might force the company to upgrade its equipment to Google's specs for YouTube TV, which would force Roku to increase the price of its products — which directly compete with Google's Chromecast.

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"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," Roku said. "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."

Google isn't the only company that Roku has feuded with in recent months. In December, Roku dropped Spectrum's TV app from the platform; it has yet to return. Roku has also seen disputes with NBCU, which was avoided at the last minute but would have seen all of their TV Everywhere apps removed. They also nearly saw the Fox app removed from the platform ahead of last year's Super Bowl.