Roku’s Latest Update Reportedly Breaks the YouTube TV App

Roku’s Latest Update Reportedly Breaks the YouTube TV App
Photo: Chris McGrath, Getty Images

A new update to the Roku TV reportedly bricks the YouTube TV app, the latest development in an ongoing saga between the two streaming services that has seen its ripple affects extend to customers in recent weeks.

On Roku’s community issues and questions channel, users have been complaining that a new OS update is creating playback issues for YouTube TV on both Roku players and the Roku TVs made by manufacturers like TCL and Hisense. While the exact root cause of the issue is still unknown, Roku users took to Twitter to bemoan the fact that the glitch seems to be causing the YouTube TV app to freeze.

In response to one such tweet, a YouTube-affiliated account clarified that the platform’s parent company, Google, is already aware of the issue and is currently exploring avenues for a solution to the problem.

“Sorry to hear about this — just to clarify, are you having this issue on Roku? If yes, we’re already aware of this issue, and our team is currently working on a fix,” the tweet read. “We’ll let you know as soon as we receive an update. Let us know if it’s something different.”

As 9to5Google notes, it would be typical under normal circumstances for users to troubleshoot such an issue by uninstalling and reinstalling the YouTube TV app, but that’s not necessarily possible in this case. In October, negotiations over a longstanding distribution deal stalemate between Roku and Google finally broke down, with the former company accusing the latter of making anti-competitive demands regarding search functionality and how YouTube TV is ranked over other content providers.

With negotiations at a standstill, Google announced in an Oct. 21 statement that since the companies had been able to “continue our conversations in good faith, our partnership for all new Roku devices will unfortunately end on Dec. 9.”

Although new Roku users are unable to download the YouTube or YouTube TV apps, Google was careful to note in its statement that existing customers would not have their access interrupted. That promise doesn’t hold up so good when the app is rendered non-functional by a routine OS update, though — and it’s not immediately clear whether it falls to Google or Roku to patch up the issue. Whoever’s job it is, hopefully these two all-powerful streaming entities can make nice for long enough to see that the issue gets sorted.