Roku and Google jobs have agreed to a multi-year agreement that will keep the YouTube and YouTube TV apps available on Roku devices, according to a tweet from Roku this morning.
The agreement comes months after the YouTube TV app was removed from the Roku Channel Store and just one day before the regular YouTube app was set to be removed.
The deal’s specific terms have not been disclosed, such as how many years “multi-year” 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-per-month YouTube TV service will return to the Roku store as its own dedicated app or if it will remain rolled into the main YouTube jobs app, as it has been since Google added it there in May to circumvent Roku’s restrictions.
Support for the AV1 codec has been a major point of contention between the two companies. To deliver compressed 4K and 8K video streams, the YouTube and YouTube TV apps use AV1, which is supported by Google and other companies.
However, because streaming devices typically use slower, cheaper processors, they rely on dedicated video decoding hardware to decompress and display video files. While most of these devices support the widely used H.265/HEVC codec for high-resolution video streams, fewer support the royalty-free AV1 codec.
Roku has stated that AV1 support would “increase consumer costs,” and requiring it for YouTube and YouTube TV support would effectively allow Google to dictate which chips Roku uses in its own products.
Google has also accused Roku of abusing its position in the streaming-device market to obtain better terms. In North America, Roku’s devices account for the majority of all streaming, though its market share is lower in other regions.
Although the YouTube and YouTube TV apps may not be able to stream high-resolution video on devices lacking AV1 support, having those apps available in any capacity in Roku’s store is probably better for both companies than allowing them to be pulled entirely.
Source: Ars Technica