This Roku and YouTube TV breakup is an absolute mess


Shawn Farner

Writer and Storywriter


Both Roku and YouTube TV are still in business. At the moment, however, they’re clearly trying to steer clear of one another. The YouTube app was dropped from Roku. It’s nowhere to be found. It’s like when you and your ex delete each other from Facebook. You both aren’t ceasing to exist — you’re just trying to pretend the other isn’t around anymore. You don’t want to see them or know what they’re up to. They feel the same about you.

This Roku and YouTube TV breakup is an absolute mess

Of course, it’s never that easy. A failed relationship comes with complications — the shared friends, the potential to run into one another at your favorite bar, and so on. In the case of Roku and YouTube TV, those “complications” are customers who just want to watch the TV service they pay for on the device they purchased. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for! “Just hold up your end of the agreed-to bargain with me, the customer.” But when companies and money are involved? Of course it is. Of course it is.

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Now Roku users are trying to reckon with the fact that the silly little TV stick they bought can’t do what it said it could. YouTube TV customers are confused about why they can’t watch the 97th season of NCIS. On Twitter, users are complaining pretty loudly about the whole situation. It’s driving some to drop Roku. It’s leading some to abandon YouTube TV. It’s just really not good for anybody.

It’s not clear who is entirely to blame for this in the end. Is Google being greedy? Is Roku being pushy? You could save yourself a whole lot of trouble and just blame both. Both opened the door for demands to be made that neither one likes. Both had a hand in making the world of streaming entertainment far more complicated than it has to be.

For now, I’m browsing through the “Add Channels” section on my Roku TV, and YouTube TV straight up missing as though it was never there. If this is what the future of cord cutting looks like — where customers have to navigate the spats between platforms and services — there are some dark, dark days ahead.

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