What the Tech? Negotiations Between Google and Roku Could Affect YouTube TV


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Hold the remote: YouTube TV customers could soon not be able to watch on a Roku device.

On Monday, Roku customers should have received a notification from the streaming device maker that it is involved in negotiations with Google and that as of the time of the email, the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement to continue offering YouTubeTV on Roku devices.

YouTube TV is either the #1 or #2 live TV streaming service in the United States.

Roku maintains about 44% of the streaming device market share, competing with the Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and Apple TV. Should the two companies not come to an agreement, it would be detrimental to millions of cord-cutters in the U.S. alone.

In its email to customers, Roku warned that Google is “attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to forced Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users,” it said.

Roku alleges that Google wants Roku to upgrade its microchips in the devices to accommodate YouTube TV. That upgrade will cost money which will most likely be passed on to consumers, raising the cost of the devices. Roku claims it’s an effort to bring the lower-priced Roku devices more in line with the cost of Google’s Chromecast devices.

This is just the latest in a number of changes facing cord-cutters. Subscriptions costs to the most popular streaming services have spiked $15 in recent months, raising the cost of YouTube TV and Hulu plus live TV to $65 plus taxes and fees.

YouTube released a statement rejecting Roku’s claims saying, “We have been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers. Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations.”

Neither Roku nor Google stated a deadline for their renegotiations.





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