Roku and Google have reached a multi-year deal that will keep the YouTube and YouTube TV apps available on Roku’s devices, Roku announced on Twitter this morning† The deal comes months after the YouTube TV app was pulled from the Roku Channel Store and just a day before the regular YouTube app was said to have been removed from the store.
Specific terms of the deal have not been announced, including how many years “perennial” means and whether Roku will begin adding decoding support for the AV1 video codec to its hardware. We also don’t know if the $65-a-month YouTube TV service will return to the Roku store as its own dedicated app or if it will continue to be rolled out in the main YouTube app, as it has been since Google added it there. to get around Roku’s restrictions in May.
Support for the AV1 codec was one of the main bottlenecks between the two companies. The YouTube and YouTube TV apps use AV1 (which is supported by Google, among others) to deliver compressed 4K and 8K video streams. But because streaming devices typically use slower, cheaper processors, they rely on special video decoding hardware to actually decompress and display those video files, and while most of these devices support the widely used H.265/HEVC codec for high-resolution video streams , less support the royalty-free AV1 codec.
Roku has said that adding AV1 support to its devices would “increase consumer costs”, and requiring support for YouTube and YouTube TV would effectively allow Google to dictate which chips Roku uses in its own products. Google has also accused Roku of using its position in the streaming device market to gain more favorable terms (Roku’s devices account for a large number of all streaming in North America, although its market share is lower in other regions). The YouTube and YouTube TV apps may not be able to stream high-resolution video on devices without AV1 support, though it’s probably better for both companies to have those apps available on the Roku store in whatever capacity than they are completely. to pull.