(Update: Roku Responds) As Talks With Roku Continue, Google Adds YouTube TV Workaround to YouTube App

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(Editor’s Note: Updated post with official statement from Roku)

The latest move in the ongoing fight between Roku and Google sees the latter adding a workaround of sorts to allow YouTube TV access through the standard YouTube app.

In a blog post titled “Next steps for YouTube TV members on Roku,” Google announced a new feature coming to its YouTube app that will allow access to its YouTube TV live TV streaming service.

“Existing members can easily access YouTube TV by clicking on ‘Go to YouTube TV’ in the main YouTube app,” the blog post stated. “This update will be available to all YouTube TV members on Roku over the next few days, and we will expand to as many devices as we can over time.”

The addition comes not long after Roku dropped the dedicated YouTube TV app from its lineup amid an ongoing dispute. Roku had threatened to drop the app if a new deal couldn’t be reached. And while users still can’t access the app on Roku platforms, this new feature should provide access for those who weren’t able to download YouTube TV before it was removed.

A screenshot of a new YouTube feature that allows access to YouTube TV
Image: YouTube

Elsewhere in the post, Google says the YouTube team is still working to reach a new agreement with Roku. Still, it also says it’s working with other companies to “secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku.”

So if you’re a Roku user who’s also a YouTube TV subscriber, and you couldn’t grab the app before it disappeared, you should soon be able to fire up the regular YouTube app and see a new button marked “Go to YouTube TV.” The first time you do this, you might have to sign in, but it should give you access to the live TV streaming service while the two sides hash out a new deal.

We reached out to Roku for their response to the move and the company sent over an official statement, which we’ve included in full below:

“Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice,” a Roku spokesperson said. “The bundling announcement by YouTube highlights the kind of predatory business practices used by Google that Congress, Attorneys General and regulatory bodies around the world are investigating. 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.”

And, of course, we’ll continue to monitor talks between the two companies as negotiations continue.

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