EDITOR’S NOTE: The dispute between Roku and YouTube TV has been resolved. This article has an updated listing and prices of alternative live TV streaming services to YouTube TV.
What’s happening with the YouTube TV app on Roku?
Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its channel store because the company’s distribution agreement expired.
The removal means YouTube TV customers won’t be able to add the app to their Roku and watch live TV. But if you already have the YouTube TV app on your Roku, don’t sweat it. You can keep watching live TV like you were before.
Why did this happen?
Roku is blaming Google for the breakdown in talks, claiming the company is seeking “unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users.” Google says in response, “We are disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.”
Will YouTube TV stop working on my Roku?
No. If you already have the YouTube TV app downloaded and working on your Roku, it won’t be impacted by the latest decision to remove it from the apps store. Roku announced it will maintain the existing YouTube apps so customers aren’t impacted by the ongoing dispute.
This isn’t the first time a hardware company and streaming service were at odds. When HBO Max launched last May 27, it did so without app support from Roku or Amazon. NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service launched without Roku and Fire TV apps as well.
These kinds of strained relationships can be confusing for new or would-be cord cutters looking to break away from cable TV. Eventually the two sides will work out a deal, even if it takes months.
6 YouTube TV alternatives
fuboTV has 120+ live TV channels, including many in YouTube TV’s lineup. ESPN, local ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX are on fubo. There are popular regional sports networks such as NESN and Marquee Sports Network. You’ll also find entertainment networks such as A&E and History. Subscribers get 250 hours of Cloud DVR and can stream on two screens at once. It’s easy to find your local channel lineup on fuboTV’s home page. A subscription costs $69.99 per month.
Hulu + Live TV carries 75+ live TV channels, including locals and cable-TV staples such as A&E, ESPN and TNT. Subscribers get unlimited Cloud DVR, and unlimited access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu’s on-demand library. A subscription costs $69.99 per month. Hulu also lets you see what local channels are available in your area.
Philo carries 64 live TV channels, but only has entertainment networks such as A&E, History and Discovery. So there are no locals and no sports. That said, it’s a pretty compelling alternative to cable for $25 per month. Subscribers get unlimited Cloud DVR for recordings and a vast library of on-demand movies and TV shows. There is a channel list on Philo’s home page.
Sling TV has two main channel bundles to choose from. The Orange plan has about 34 channels. The Blue plan has about 47 channels. A subscription costs $35 per month for one of the main channel bundles.
Vidgo carries 100+ channels, including ESPN, NFL RedZone, FS1, A&E and Hallmark Channel. A subscription costs $55 per month. Subscribers can stream on three screens at once. There are no contracts or obligation to keep your subscription.
DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) got a lot of attention from MLB fans earlier this year. It remains the only streaming service that carries Bally Sports networks. It also has Marquee Sports Network, MASN and NESN. That package, the Choice bundle, costs $89.99 per month. DIRECTV STREAM has a free 5-day trial. Subscribers get unlimited Cloud DVR, and 40,000 on-demand shows and movies. You can look over the Choice bundle and other channel lineups for DIRECTV STREAM.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble