Roku Removes YouTube TV Following 'Anti-Competitive Demands' From Google

Roku Removes YouTube TV Following 'Anti-Competitive Demands' From Google

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Roku has removed the YouTube TV app from its popular streaming devices due to failed negotiations with Google over the renewal of its distribution agreement.

The company says Google is making 'anti-competitive demands' including preferential treatment of YouTube TV and YouTube on the Roku platform.

Roku Removes YouTube TV Following 'Anti-Competitive Demands' From Google

Some of the demands allegedly made by Google include...

● Creating a dedicated search results row for YouTube within Roku's interface and giving YouTube search results more prominent placement.
● Blocking search results from other streaming content providers while using YouTube
● Favoring YouTube music results from voice commands on the Roku remote while YouTube is open, even if users have another provider set as default.
● Supporting the AV1 codec which would require additional hardware and affect the price of Roku products.

In an email, Roku told customers "While we are deeply disappointed in Googles decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects your data and ensure a level playing field for companies to compete. We encourage you to contact Google and urge them to reach an agreement to continue offering YouTube TV on Roku and to follow standard industry practices pledging not to require access to sensitive search data or to manipulate your search results."

Google has responded to the accusation, declaring them to be false.

"We can’t give Roku special treatment at the expense of users. To be clear, we have never, as they have alleged, made any requests to access user data or interfere with search results. This claim is baseless and false."

Google also claims that Roku's unwillingness to implement AV1 would break the YouTube experience. This despite selling its own Chromecast with Google TV without hardware-based AV1 decoding.

Our agreements with partners have technical requirements to ensure a high quality experience on YouTube. Roku requested exceptions that would break the YouTube experience and limit our ability to update YouTube in order to fix issues or add new features. For example, by not supporting open-source video codecs, you wouldn’t be able to watch YouTube in 4K HDR or 8K even if you bought a Roku device that supports that resolution.

For now, customers are advised not to delete the YouTube TV app as it cannot be reinstalled from the Roku Store. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved soon.

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Roku Removes YouTube TV Following 'Anti-Competitive Demands' From Google

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