Roku drops YouTube TV from app store

The logo of YouTube TV. (Logo: Google/Image: The Desk)

Streaming platform Roku has removed the premium television app YouTube TV from its app store days after warning of an impending carriage dispute over the service.

The channel disappeared early Friday morning after Roku’s agreement with YouTube TV’s operator Google expired without a new deal in place.

The app remains available to existing YouTube TV customers who still have the service installed on their Roku devices, but new downloads of the app from Roku’s Channel Store are unavailable.

“We are disappointed that Google has allowed our agreement for the distribution of YouTube TV to expire,” a Roku spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. “Roku has not asked for one dollar of additional financial consideration from Google to renew YouTube TV.”

Earlier in the week, Roku complained that Google had demanded unreasonable terms to continue making its YouTube TV app available for the streaming hardware maker’s customers, including a term that Roku update certain components of its devices to meet Google’s standards.

In a competing statement, Google said Roku’s claims were meritless, and that the companies had been negotiating in good faith over an extension.

“We have been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers,” a Google spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations. We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.”

On Friday, a Google spokesperson said it continued to offer Roku “the opportunity to renew the YouTube TV deal under the existing, reasonable terms.”

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reach an agreement with Roku,” the spokesperson said.

YouTube TV is a streaming service that offers access to more than 80 live cable television networks over the Internet starting at $65 a month. The service has carriage agreements with Comcast (NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA), the Walt Disney Company (ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Freeform), Fox Corporation (Fox News, Fox Business, FS1), Discovery Communications, AMC Networks and ViacomCBS (Comedy Central, MTV, VH1), among others.

Roku users who are looking for a live TV alternative have a few other choices to consider, including Hulu with Live TV ($65 a month), Sling TV ($35 a month) and Philo ($20 a month).

Those who want continued, uninterrupted access to YouTube TV have a few options as well, mainly in the form of alternate streaming TV hardware. Those options include the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite ($30 at Amazon, $30 at Best Buy), the TiVo Stream 4K ($36 at Amazon), the old-school Chromecast dongle ($30 at Best Buy) and the next-generation Chromecast with Google TV ($50 at Best Buy), all of which support YouTube TV.

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