Google foils Roku’s YouTube TV ban, adds service to the main YouTube app

Google tells users where they can find YouTube TV now: inside the regular YouTube app.
Enlarge / Google tells customers the place they will discover YouTube TV now: contained in the common YouTube app.


Beforehand on Google versus Roku: Roku and Google wanted to resume the contract for YouTube TV, Google’s $65-per-month cable TV substitute, on Roku’s TV platform. The 2 firms weren’t capable of come to an settlement on the brand new contract, leading to YouTube TV being pulled from the Roku retailer. Oh no! Whereas current clients may nonetheless use the YouTube TV app that they had already put in, new customers could not enroll. Will the 2 firms ever be capable to settle their variations, or is their friendship ruined ceaselessly?

The following thrilling episode on this saga aired on Friday, when Google introduced in a blog post that it was simply going to run an end-around on Roku and stick the YouTube TV app in the YouTube app. YouTube and YouTube TV exist as separate apps, and whereas the YouTube TV contract expired and the app was taken off the Roku retailer, the YouTube contract doesn’t expire till December.

For the reason that YouTube app remains to be working, Google was capable of shortly shove YouTube TV performance into it. On the facet navigation menu, the final hyperlink within the listing reads, “Go to YouTube TV.” This isn’t unprecedented—it is truly the way in which YouTube Music works, too, with a form of app-within-an-app interface.

Google says it’s “nonetheless working to return to an settlement with Roku to make sure continued entry to YouTube TV for our mutual clients.” However Google threatened Roku with one other escalation, saying, “We’re additionally in discussions with different companions to safe free streaming units in case YouTube TV members face any entry points on Roku.”

A number of weeks in the past, Google provided to “renew the YouTube TV deal below the present cheap phrases” with Roku, so Roku appears to be the present aggressor. In response to this newest transfer, Roku despatched the next assertion to The Verge.

Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing truthful competitors and harming client selection. The bundling announcement by YouTube highlights the sort of predatory enterprise practices utilized by Google that Congress, Legal professional Generals and regulatory our bodies around the globe are investigating. Roku has not requested for one extra greenback in monetary worth from YouTubeTV. We’ve got merely requested Google to cease their anticompetitive conduct of manipulating consumer search outcomes to their distinctive monetary profit and to cease demanding entry to delicate information that no different companion on our platform receives in the present day. In response, Google has continued its observe of blatantly leveraging its YouTube monopoly to pressure an impartial firm into an settlement that’s each unhealthy for shoppers and unhealthy for truthful competitors.

These are the identical claims Roku has made earlier than, and Google has already responded to them, saying, “To be clear, we have now by no means, as they’ve alleged, made any requests to entry consumer information or intervene with search outcomes. This declare is baseless and false.”

The true purpose for the rift between the 2 firms appears to be over Google’s AV1 video codec necessities for YouTube (presumably just for new units), and it appears these necessities would begin in December, when the mainline YouTube app contract expires.

AV1 is a cutting-edge, royalty-free video codec that can probably be the subsequent de facto video customary, because it’s backed by Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, Fb, Arm, Hulu, and a ton of other companies. AV1 would save on bandwidth for streaming firms and clients, however it requires hardware decode assist on cheaper units like a Roku field. Google desires to make AV1 a requirement for YouTube, however that requires new chips, that are in all probability costlier than the older chips Roku would favor to make use of.

Google says, “Individually, we’re additionally in ongoing, long-term conversations with Roku to certify that new units meet our technical necessities. This certification course of exists to make sure a constant and high-quality YouTube expertise throughout completely different units, together with Google’s personal—so you know the way to navigate the app and what to anticipate. We’ll proceed our conversations with Roku on certification, in good religion, with the purpose of advocating for our mutual clients.”