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If You Use a Roku, You May Not Be Able to Watch This Soon

A brewing argument with a tech giant could leave subscribers in the dark.

Streaming services have completely changed the way we watch our favorite shows and movies. This is especially true amid the pandemic, which saw an additional 6 million customers cut off their cable in favor of on-demand viewing, according to research from eMarketer. If you're one of the millions who use a Roku to stream, you may want to push back plans for that next weekend binge session you had planned: a brewing dispute may mean you won't be able to watch one particularly popular channel soon. Read on to see which service could go dark on your Roku, and for more important updates on your tech, If You See This Message on Your Roku, Report It Immediately, Experts Say.

Roku may soon cut YouTubeTV from its channel lineup due to a dispute.

The YouTubeTV logo on a screen

In an email sent to customers, Roku has warned that "Google may remove your access to YouTube TV" within the next few days, Deadline reports. The potential blackout of the channel comes as the two companies have reached an impasse in contract renewal negotiations.

According to Roku, the dispute stems from the tech giant's attempts to force search results on the service in Google's favor. They also claim Google is attempting to strong-arm the streaming box company to spend money on microchip upgrades to continue to carry YouTubeTV. "Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive, and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users," a Roku spokesperson said in a statement on Apr. 26.

Google's response to Roku's comments shows there may still be a long way to go in the negotiations.

Google headquarters - google tricks

While the two companies may be striving to find a solution, a statement released by Google in response to Roku's incendiary statements showed that there was still a long way to go in negotiations to keep the app up and streaming on Roku. "Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations," reads Google's statement, via Axios.

"We're disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations. All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high-quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users." And for more on how to avoid major tech mistakes, If You're Charging Your iPhone Like This, Apple Says Stop Immediately.

YouTubeTV could go dark on Roku within days.


Although neither company has specified when YouTubeTV could be removed from Roku, the current agreement between the companies is set to expire in the next few days. This could mean that the calendar change over from April to May this week might bring about the app's shutdown, Deadline reports.

YouTubeTV has managed to rack up 3 million subscribers since launching in 2017 as a live streaming alternative to traditional cable, offering channels such as CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network. But even as a smaller company overall, Roku has significant influence in the streaming world as the top-performing hardware, controlling 45 percent of the market ahead of competitors such as Amazon, Samsung, and Google's own Chromecast, The Verge reports.

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This isn't the first carrier dispute Roku has fought.


This isn't the first time Roku has been involved in difficult negotiations with streaming providers. The company notoriously held out on adding HBO Max to its offerings after it failed to secure a deal with the company leading up to its launch in 2020.

But those who subscribe might be able to avoid losing access to their favorite live channels. According to Ars Technica, previous disputes typically involved the offending service being removed from Roku's channel store. They suggest downloading the YouTubeTV channel before it disappears just in case the app remains usable as negotiations rage on. And for more important tech updates, Apple Just Released This Warning About the Latest iPhones.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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