(Pocket-lint) – Roku recently removed the YouTube TV channel from its line-up, blocking users from downloading it if they haven’t already. Now, Google has developed a sneaky workaround: It’s adding a shortcut to its YouTube TV service directly from the main YouTube app.
Users of the YouTube app will start seeing a “Go to YouTube TV” option in the main YouTube app sometime within the next few days. When they select it, they will be kicked over to the standard YouTube TV interface. Interestingly, this option is coming to Roku devices first, followed by other platforms.
Note that users cannot signup for YouTube TV through the YouTube app at this time; they can only access the service and watch the content from the app.
Google published a blog post on 7 May 2021 to announce the change and to confirm it’s “still working to come to an agreement with Roku”. It also said it’s trying to get Roku to meet its “technical requirements” – evidence that the company is insisting device manufacturers adopt support for AV1 decoding.
Roku has said it believes Google’s requirements are unreasonable and will lead to higher prices for its streaming media devices.
It told several outlets on Friday that Google is “an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice” and criticised Google’s decision to offer access YouTube TV through the YouTube app. It even said the move is an example of Google’s “predatory business practices”.
YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month and allows up to three simultaneous streams within a household. It is different from YouTube, the free video service with more than two billion users a month. YouTube TV doesn’t offer any add-on channel packages, although it does have a handful of single-channel add-ons like Showtime, Epix, and HBO Max. Apart from Roku, it works with Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and most smart TVs, phones, and tablets.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.