YouTube was due to leave Roku devices tomorrow, on 9 December 2021. However, at the eleventh hour, both Roku and Google struck a long-term deal to keep YouTube on Roku streaming sticks and boxes for at least a few more years. The deal also reinstates YouTube TV on Roku devices.
YouTube TV is a streaming service for live sports, news and shows. It hasn’t been on Roku since April of this year when Roku’s deal to distribute YouTube TV expired. Roku made the disagreement public, accusing Google of unfairly using Roku users' data, among other points of contention.
In retaliation, Google said that the accusations were “unproductive and baseless”. Things escalated when it was announced that the main YouTube app would leave the platform in December 2021.
The exact terms of the new deal are not currently known. On the subject of app renewals, a spokesperson for Roku said the following:
“This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform.”
There were also reports from 9to5Google that Amazon Prime Video would be leaving Roku. However, Roku has refuted these claims in the following statement to Tech Advisor: "Our Amazon agreement is not up for renewal at this time and there are currently no negotiations underway."
Roku devices have in the past been considered some of the best value streaming sticks on the market. However, there's been mounting pressure from rivals such as Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and the latest generation of Apple TV. The loss of YouTube would have been a major blow for Roku.
The long and the short of this means that if you want (or currently own) a Roku device, then the majority of the main streaming apps will be available to you, except for Amazon-owned Twitch. You'll still get YouTube and Prime Video, as well as other streaming juggernauts like Netflix and Disney+.
If you’d like to know how other products compare to Roku devices, take a look at our chart of the best streaming sticks and boxes.