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Roku and Google hug it out; YouTube app stays and YouTube TV app returns

That was a close one.
By
December 8, 2021
roku youtube tv home
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Roku and Google have announced a new agreement to keep the Roku YouTube app on current and new devices.
  • The new agreement also restores the Roku YouTube TV app which was pulled for new customers on April 30.
  • The new agreement comes one day before the YouTube Roku app was scheduled to be pulled.

Update, December 8, 2021: 9:15 AM ET: The crisis for Roku devices users and TV owners has been averted. In a Twitter post, Roku has confirmed that the company has entered into “a multi-year extension with Google.” This will keep the current Roku YouTube app for all users and will restore the previously pulled Roku YouTube TV app, which was no longer available for new customers after April 30. Details about the new agreement were not revealed.


Original story, December 8, 2021: 8:00 AM ET: Starting December 9, 2021, one of the most popular streaming video apps will no longer be available to download for the tens of millions of Roku streaming devices. Unless something changes, the Roku YouTube app will be removed from the Roku Channel Store starting on Thursday.

This comes several months after the Roku YouTube TV app was also removed from the Channel Store. As with that takedown, Roku and YouTube’s owner Google were unable to come to an agreement for a new contract to continue supporting the main YouTube app. In a blog post in October, Roku accused Google of requiring the company to give “preference to YouTube over other content providers” while also “demanding search, voice, and data features that they do not insist on from other streaming platforms.”

Google later sent out its own statement, claiming that “Roku has once again chosen to make unproductive and baseless claims rather than try to work constructively with us.” However, they did state that the Roku YouTube app will continue to work for users who download it before December 9.

How to download the Roku YouTube app before December 9

roku youtube tv search results
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you have a Roku streaming device or a smart television with Roku OS installed it’s important that you download the YouTube app now or sometime before Thursday, December 9, 2021. It’s pretty simple to snap it up:

  1. Fire up your Roku device and head to the Roku home page.
  2. Scroll to the Search portion of the menu and select it.
  3. Type in “YouTube”.
  4. Select the YouTube app from the search options and click Add Channel.
  5. The app should then download to your Roku home screen. Select it to launch the app.

Perhaps more importantly, for anyone who has the app downloaded and installed, don’t delete it! Starting December 9, the app won’t be available to download. If you delete it, you may not be able to redownload it again.

Alternatives for after December 9

roku streaming stick 4k on remote
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Obviously, people who buy a Roku device or smart TV after December 9 will be out of luck when it comes to downloading both the official YouTube and YouTube TV apps (assuming no resolution is made between the two companies). However, you do have some options if you use your iOS or Android mobile device, or even your Windows desktop or laptop. You can either cast your YouTube apps from those platforms onto your Roku device or mirror your screen. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

Read more: Best screen mirroring apps

Google Chromecast with Google TV on table style photo
David Imel / Android Authority

Another alternative for people who own a Roku smart TV is simply to get another HDMI-connected streaming stick with the YouTube app. They include the many Amazon Fire TV sticks, the Chromecast with Google TV, or if you have some extra money in your pocket, the Apple TV streaming box.