Roku could lose YouTube this week — so now’s a good time to download the app

A growing dispute that has pitted YouTube, one of the world’s most popular streaming apps, against Roku, a leader in TV streaming devices, could be about to erupt. Both companies have said that unless they can reach a new distribution deal in the coming days, the YouTube app will be removed from Roku’s channel store for new users on December 9.

The further development would follow months of stalled negotiations, and there have already been consequences for consumers caught in the middle: The YouTube TV app was pulled from Roku’s channel store earlier this year, though customers who already downloaded it can still. access it. Now the much more popular YouTube app, a portal to the world’s largest video-sharing platform, faces the same store cut-and-go.

With the deadline for a new YouTube deal looming, Google and Roku have continued to publicly argue and express their frustration for the past few months. Roku has accused Google of anti-competitive behavior and says the company’s terms and requests go beyond requests from other major streaming services, while Google has argued that Roku’s claims are unfounded and criticized the company for trying. negotiating new deals for YouTube TV and YouTube simultaneously rather than handling them separately. Google also added a YouTube TV backdoor directly to the regular YouTube app to preserve access to live TV for subscribers to the $ 65-per-month service; Roku responded by calling this the behavior of an “uncontrolled monopolist”.

Losing YouTube would be a significant blow to the Roku platform, although it is one that others have faced. Amazon’s Fire TV devices were without an official YouTube app for more than a year before the two parties reached a settlement in that case and the app returned. Apple has managed to keep YouTube on its Apple TV set-top boxes from the start, although its own differences with Google have sometimes delayed features like 4K playback.

Still, one of the main draws to the Roku is its simplicity and wide selection of apps. Having a YouTube-sized hole in your app catalog would ruin that reputation. This type of situation always comes down to cable, as it happened recently when YouTube TV and NBCUniversal managed to resolve tense conversations without any channels being lost. So stay tuned, and it would be a good idea to download YouTube to your Roku devices now in case things go wrong.

Update December 8, 9:45 am ET: Roku and Google have reached a new multi-year agreement to keep YouTube on the platform and bring YouTube TV back. You can read more about the resolution here.

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