Roku removes YouTube TV from app store amid contract dispute; existing users will still have access

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FILE – This Aug. 13, 2020 file photo shows a logo for Roku on a remote control in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

PROVIDENCE (WPRI) ─ Roku has removed YouTube TV from its channel store amid a contract dispute with Google.

The distribution agreement between the two companies expired Friday, and both have yet to reach a deal on the matter.

In an email to customers, Roku said Google “chose to let the YouTube TV contract expire,” but emphasized that they “are taking an extra step to ensure existing Roku users retain access to YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement.”

Roku said customers who use YouTube TV will still have access to the app unless Google forces them to remove it altogether. The streaming service urged those who use YouTube TV through any of their devices not to delete the app because they won’t be able to redownload it, at least for now.

“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,” Roku said.

In response, YouTube TV shot back at Roku on Twitter: “We continue to offer Roku the opportunity to renew the YouTube TV contract under the existing reasonable terms.”

YouTube TV said they don’t plan on requesting Roku remove their app, and are encouraging Roku to continue providing services “to our mutual users.”

“We are committed to ensuring our members continue to have access to YouTube TV and will continue advocating on behalf of our members,” YouTube TV said.

In the event Roku does remove their app, YouTube TV provided guidance on how to cast their service using a computer or mobile device.

YouTube said in a statement that it had only sought to renew the same contract terms, but that Roku wanted to negotiate a larger contract that includes YouTube’s main channel. That contract does not expire until December.

YouTube also cited Roku’s unwillingness to support open-source video codecs that would enable 4K HDR or 8K YouTube TV streaming.

Roku said in the letter that such requests would mean changes to Roku’s hardware, which would raise the cost for consumers. The Verge points out that, despite Google pushing the AV1 codec, its not something Google’s own $50 Chromecast can decode.

Roku also accused the Silicon Valley giant of trying to access more customer data than other companies can see, something Google has denied.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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