Like many Roku owners, you may have found that YouTube TV is no longer available in the Roku Channel Store due to an ongoing contract dispute between Google and Roku.
The good news is there‘s a quick and easy workaround that gives you back access to YouTube TV on any Roku device using the YouTube app already installed on your system.
By opening the YouTube app and selecting the "Go to YouTube TV" option, you can sign in and stream live TV just like before in a few simple steps. Keep reading as I walk you through exactly how to get YouTube TV working again on your Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Ultra, Roku Express, or any other Roku model.
Why YouTube TV Vanished from Roku
First, let‘s quickly cover what led to YouTube TV‘s removal in the first place. Roku and Google failed to reach a distribution agreement renewing YouTube TV‘s place in the Roku Channel Store prior to expiration on April 30th, 2021. This stemmed from disputes over user data sharing and revenue splits.
Roku claims Google is demanding special treatment compared to other channels in terms of gaining more customer information and controlling advertising sales. Google asserts Roku is trying to extract an unfair cut of YouTube TV subscription revenue that would drive up costs for consumers.
With both sides at a stalemate, Roku pulled YouTube TV from the Channel Store. However, the main YouTube app is still available, allowing the workarounds listed here.
Approximately 5 million Roku users have accessed YouTube TV, making Roku the most popular way to stream the service. But Google is also in a position of strength as the owner of YouTube and the #1 most installed channel on Roku.
This fight is likely just the start of distribution battles as media giants consolidate control over streaming content and platforms. However, this guide focuses on practical solutions to keep your access to YouTube TV and other services uninterrupted amidst the corporate disputes.
Step-by-Step: How to Get YouTube TV on Roku
Let‘s get right to it – here are the detailed steps to start streaming YouTube TV again using the default YouTube app already installed on your Roku:
1. Download YouTube
- Search for "YouTube" in Roku Channel Store
- Select app published by Google
- Choose InstallChannel and accept terms
(YouTube comes preloaded on many Roku devices)
2. Open YouTube App & Find YouTube TV
- From Roku home screen select YouTube app tile
- In side menu, scroll down to "Go to YouTube TV"
3. Sign in to YouTube TV
- Sign in with your YouTube TV username and password
- Select your profile picture on following screen
4. Enjoy YouTube TV!
- Browse the guide, watch live TV, view recordings, etc.
- Access all features and channels just like before
And that‘s it! Within a minute or two you‘ll be streaming live sports, news, shows, movies and more from YouTube TV on your Roku once again.
I recommend bookmarking the YouTube app on your home screen for quick access anytime. While not as convenient as the dedicated app, this provides a reliable way to use YouTube TV on Roku until an agreement can be reached.
If you run into any issues getting YouTube TV working on your Roku using the YouTube app, here are some troubleshooting tips:
- Update the YouTube app to latest version
- Re-link YouTube TV subscription in YouTube settings
- Check YouTube TV subscription is active
- Retry Roku and YouTube TV sign in
- Re-install YouTube app if needed
- Power cycle Roku and router if trouble persists
With over 100 channels plus unlimited DVR, YouTube TV delivers one of the best channel lineups in streaming TV. Don‘t let this distribution dispute stop you from accessing the service you‘re paying for. This simple workaround keeps your subscription going strong on Roku.
Weighing Roku vs. Firestick in the Streaming TV Era
While convenient, this YouTube TV workaround may have some Roku owners considering alternatives like the Amazon Firestick. Let‘s compare the key pros and cons of using Roku vs Firestick for streaming:
|Authorized Apps||Over 10,000 channels||Compatible with most major apps|
|Navigation||Very intuitive, simple for beginners||Slight learning curve but easy to master|
|Flexibility||Limited ability to customize||Easy "jailbreaking" options for more control|
|Availability||Buy at most major retailers||Available exclusively on Amazon|
|Price||$25 to $100 range||$20 to $50 range|
Roku still rules when it comes to simplicity and breadth of streaming options. However, Firestick provides more flexibility if you‘re willing to explore "jailbreaking" with tools like FireDL Codes for unlocking free movies, shows, and live TV.
Yet streaming freedom comes at the cost of some complexity. Roku‘s interface remains easier to use for absolute beginners, with a simpler initial setup and more intuitive navigation.
Both platforms now face risks from distribution disputes as streaming continues to consolidate. Google-owned YouTube is already barred on Firestick devices. Amazon Prime Video conversely is restricted on Chromecast and Android. This ongoing fragmentation across streaming devices is likely to frustrate consumers.
Yet alternatives exist whichever platform you choose. Keep reading to discover other live TV options beyond YouTube TV for Roku, Firestick, and other streaming devices.
Top 5 Alternatives to YouTube TV for Live TV Streaming
If you find YouTube TV to be unreliable using the Roku workaround, consider one of these leading alternatives:
1. Hulu + Live TV
- 75+ live channels and Hulu on-demand library
- Access on Roku, Firestick, mobile & more
- 120+ channels with excellent sports coverage
- $69.99/month after 7-day free trial
- Stream on Roku, Firestick, iOS, Android
3. Sling TV
- 30+ channels from $35/month
- Compatible with Roku, Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast
- Easily customize channel add-ons
4. AT&T TV Now
- 45+ channels from $69.99/month
- 500 hour DVR included
- Stream on Roku, Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast
- 60+ channels for just $25/month
- Popular for entertainment without sports
- Works on Roku, Fire TV, mobile
Be sure to take advantage of the free trials available from most providers before committing. Check out our full breakdown of live TV streaming services for more details on channel lineups, pricing, and device support.
An antenna is also an option for accessing local broadcast stations for news and some sports without any monthly fees.
Unlocking More Features on Your Roku or Firestick
Looking to expand the capabilities of your streaming device beyond just installing channels from the official app stores? You can unlock much greater control through "jailbreaking" processes such as:
- Install unofficial private channels
- Factory reset keeps Roku warranty intact
- Fewer options than Firestick jailbreaking
- Sideload any Android APK apps
- Customize interface with third-party launchers
- Access shows and movies not on Prime/Netflix
Jailbreaking opens up a world of possibilities for cord-cutters. Check out my beginners guides covering how to jailbreak Roku and Firestick if you‘re feeling adventurous.
But keep in mind – streaming piracy and copyright rules still apply. I recommend exploring free/legal apps and additions that enrich your viewing experience without violating terms of service.
Protecting Your Privacy as a Streamer
Data sharing and advertising mediate most disputes between streaming platforms and content providers. As evidenced in the ongoing Roku and Google feud, companies want more access to customer information while guarding their own technology and intellectual property.
This raises valid privacy concerns around how much of your viewing behavior is being monitored, especially when linked to personal profiles.
One way to take back control of your data is using a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs encrypt all traffic leaving your devices, hiding your IP address and online activities from snooping by your internet service provider, app/channel developers, government agencies, and others.
Top-rated VPNs like Surfshark and NordVPN cost just a few dollars per month. Install one directly on your router for full home coverage across Roku, Firestick, mobile, and more. Many leading VPNs even come with handy ad blocking features now as a bonus.
I always run Surfshark VPN on my home network to keep our streaming habits protected and anonymous. See my guides on how to set up a VPN with Roku and Firestick for step-by-step instructions tailored to each platform.
The Future of Streaming TV
Disputes like Roku vs. Google over YouTube TV are just the beginning as the streaming landscape continues to evolve. Expect more fracturing of content across competing platforms and devices as media giants consolidate control.
Roku now faces an uphill battle competing directly with new streamers by Amazon, Google and others leveraging cheaper access to hardware and massive content libraries.
Yet diversity of options remains the best solution for now. Viewers are wise to diversify across 2-3 streaming platforms while implementing tools like VPNs and antennas.
Agility to shift between authorized apps, unofficial channels, and jailbroken configurations maximizes access amidst the ongoing turf wars. Services will come and go, but consumers ultimately hold the power if willing to explore all available options.
The truce between Roku and Google remains uneasy. But whatever happens, this guide will help keep your access to YouTube TV and other streaming services uninterrupted.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions on getting YouTube TV or other channels running smoothly on your Roku, Firestick, Apple TV, or other streaming device!