Monday, May 10, 2021

Roku vs Google

As I write this, Roku and Google are in a pissing contest with each other. The result is that for now at least, YouTube TV (a Google product) isn't available on the Roku platform.

Well, it is, but it isn't. If you already have the app, you can keep it and use it. Roku warns that if you remove it, you can't get it back.

If you already have YouTube TV installed on your Roku device, you will continue to have access to the channel unless Google requires us to remove it. Note that you should not remove the channel if you plan to use it. New installations and reinstallations will not be possible at this time.

So, what's it all about, Alfie? That depends on who you believe.

If you believe Roku, Google wants changes to force certain Roku searches to limit to Google's apps. If you believe Google, they want things to remain the same and it's Roku that wants to change things.

Who's lying? Neither. Or both. I don't know. I suspect it's one of those "depends on what the definition of 'is' is" type of things. No outright lies, just partial truths on both sides.

Google has emailed people asking them to pressure Roku. Roku has emailed people asking them to pressure Google. I've done neither. Why? Let them fight it out.

Now, why would I take such a stance? Easy. I'm not dependent on YouTube TV, and I'm not dependent on Roku. 

I don't use a live streaming service throughout the year because I can watch what I want without one. Sure, during certain times of the year, I do subscribe to one -- I love college football -- but the rest of the year, it's not important enough to spend the money for something I barely, and rarely, watch. But even if I did, there are other options.

Yes, YouTube TV is one of the best live streaming services. The interface it top notch, the selection of channels is superb, and it's very reliable. But it's not the only one there is. If I want to keep using Roku, and if I want a live streaming service, I can easily do just that. There are plenty of other options than YouTube TV. 

Likewise, if I decide I want to watch YouTube TV, I can do that. I have more than just Roku devices. I can use Apple TV, I can use Amazon Fire TV (once I get it out of that drawer I put it in), and I can use Google's own Chromecast With Google TV. I don't need Roku.

Neither of the parties in this fight own me, or my loyalty. My preference for a streaming device is Roku. But if that was suddenly untenable, I'd be just fine with another device. And I agree that YouTube TV is the best live streaming service, but I certainly don't need it.

I expect they'll eventually work it all out. Maybe today. Maybe next week. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. 

And maybe never, but if that's the case, I'm good no matter what. 

The moral to this is don't lock yourself in to any company. Keep your options open, and keep control of your Streaming Life.

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