The ongoing tit-for-tat spat between Google and Roku just intensified with the former craftily adding its YouTube TV service into the main YouTube app within the Roku OS.
The contractual dispute between the two video streaming titans saw Roku pull the YouTube TV live TV service popular among cord cutters last week.
Google has now managed to get around that by incorporating YouTube TV into the main YouTube app that continues to be available on Roku’s streaming boxes, sticks and smart TVs.
The Verge has spied a new option within the YouTube app that says “Go to YouTube TV” which essentially catapults users into the YouTube TV experience. One can imagine Google is feeling pretty pleased with itself after that stunt.
Despite this, Google says it is “still working to come to an agreement with Roku to ensure continued access to YouTube TV for our mutual customers,” but the new tactic is unlikely to entice Roku back to the negotiating table in a hurry.
Especially with the second part of Google statement, where it says it will be looking to ween YouTube TV users off of Roku completely by offering them free replacement streaming devices. Google told The Verge it is “in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku.”
However, we’d imagine the Chromecast with Google TV might be heading to more YouTube TV subscribers in the comping months.
Google’s move is almost daring Roku to remove the YouTube app completely and continue the fight. However, there’s still a contract between the two sides for that app.
Roku says: “Roku has not asked for one additional dollar in financial value from YouTubeTV. We have simply asked Google to stop their anticompetitive behavior of manipulating user search results to their unique financial benefit and to stop demanding access to sensitive data that no other partner on our platform receives today. In response, Google has continued its practice of blatantly leveraging its YouTube monopoly to force an independent company into an agreement that is both bad for consumers and bad for fair competition.”
However this plays out, we can’t see Roku keeping that dedicated YouTube button on its remotes in the future. Looking for a new media streamer? Here’s our Apple TV 4K (2021) vs Chromecast with Google TV round-up.