Roku Confirms Official YouTube Channel Under Development


While many of us continue to enjoy the rogue Roku YouTube channel that Google asked to be removed, we finally have word of official support that would enable new customers to partake:

We are working on the channel and know just how much our customers want it. Hopefully, I’ll have a date for launch soon, but it’s on the calendar for this year.

Compared to the competition (Apple TV, Netgear, WDTV, Sony, etc) Roku has been sorely lacking in the YouTube department. Not sure if the hold up has been related to licensing fees, technological issues, or disinterest, but it’s good to see a blessed YouTube offering on the horizon.

45 thoughts on “Roku Confirms Official YouTube Channel Under Development”

  1. I must be in the minority because I have never quite understood the appeal of YouTube. Do people really just sit back, kick up their feet and watch YouTube videos? While we watch YouTube, the Chinese are producing more graduates with science and engineering degrees….

  2. “I must be in the minority because I have never quite understood the appeal of YouTube. Do people really just sit back, kick up their feet and watch YouTube videos?”

    No. Of course not. It just sounds good in the store and helps sell gizmos.

    (OTOH, I actually download selected YouTube videos on my general-purpose computer, toss ’em into my Plex Media Server, and then have pre-selected YouTube videos available for lean-back access. That, I like.)

  3. Here’s my use case (Apple TV), which mind you I’ve only used maybe 5 times in 4 years:

    You have people over. You remember this cool thing you saw on TV and you want to share it. You bring it up on the TV and everybody watches it. The “Evolution of Dance” video. That crazy “Big Dog” army pack mule robot that freaks my wife out. The crazy Teahupoo big wave surfers:

    (available in 720p, download and keep a copy). Baman/Piderman Season 1. That sort of thing. Works best if you have these videos tagged so you don’t have to sit there “typing” with the cursor keys.

    I certainly never attempt to “discover” stuff on YouTube on my TV.

    And its still not worth much.

  4. I think this is a cool feature. I use YouTube on my Tivo quite a bit. I have lots of live sessions of my favorite bands saved in YouTube and watch them from time-to-time through my Tivo. As long as it’s recorded at a decent quality, it’ll look pretty nice on my 42″ TV.

  5. This must be a generational thing. The only time that I “use” YouTube is when the video is embedded in a web page, like when I google “how to teach overhead volleyball serves”. Sometimes the kids (ages 9, 10) come home and tell us about a cool YouTube video that the teacher showed them.

    Then again, I can see @gachevsky’s point.

    Add Vudu and local and I’m in for 2 new Rokus, and one more to replace the gen 1 Roku.

  6. Based on forum chatter, Facebook feedback, and incoming search requests I’d say YouTube on Roku is highly desired by many. I don’t watch videos hours on end or daily, but when there’s something I want to see on the large screen lean back YT is very nice. Backing the generational thing, my niece is always watching and sharing silly stuff on YouTube. And, to reassure jcm, I do expect she’ll go on to become an engineer or scientist – no worries there. I have a buddy who strings together music (videos) to make extensive playlists – I suspect he’d dig this.

  7. It appears that the link from the text “have word of” is supposed to take us to Roku’s quote that is posted in this article. However, that link goes to an Aug 31 post that has no response at all from Roku. I can’t find the quote in this article anywhere else on Roku’s FB page.

    Is this link in error, or did Roku delete the comment after it was posted? Or am I blind?

  8. The discussion was indeed on Roku’s Facebook wall and the first reply, that I cited, was by a Roku rep. But, yeah, looks like they deleted it. Good thing I always take screenshots. ;)

  9. After posting the last comment I looked closer at the screenshot that Dave posted. He did indeed use the correct link, but Roku apparently deleted the comment. Either it’s no longer on the calendar for this year, or they don’t want anyone to know that it is.

  10. I don’t think most people randomly browse YouTube using 10-foot interface but I imagine playback of easier accessible videos (playlists, favorites, etc.) would work, e.g. music video playlists.

  11. Dave, I have no doubt your niece will be a fine engineer or scientist – like a lot of younger folks that appreciate YouTube. I was being just a little facetious. While I appreciate that YouTube can serve some purposes (e.g. an easy way to share videos among family and friends), the YouTube videos I have viewed are typically pretty low quality and don’t translate well to the 10′ experience. More than anything I have a hard time understanding how having a YouTube app on a device/platform seems to have risen to the same level as a Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon or other video services I would consider top tier. At the end of the day, George is probably right; it must be a generational thing. As a product of the eighties, I guess I will take my Sony Walkman, queue up some Prince, Def Leppard and INXS and revel in the goodness.

  12. I have friends who have learned to knit, woodwork, crochet, spin wool into yarn, make jewelry, get ideas on how to build a green home and a lot more… ALL on youtube. I’ve taught crafting to friends via youtube. I, for one, am extremely disappointed that Roku doesn’t have youtube.

  13. “I think this is a cool feature. I use YouTube on my Tivo quite a bit. I have lots of live sessions of my favorite bands saved in YouTube and watch them from time-to-time through my Tivo.”

    OK. Now I see the use-case scenario.

    I don’t have a YouTube account, so I never considered the possibility of “saving” videos to an account, which would automatically show up in your YouTube lean-back experience once you had entered your YouTube account into the lean-back device.

    I still prefer my “download and Plex Media Server” workflow, since I’m not too enthusiastic about cloud “saving”, but I do see the potential use-case for the other workflow.

  14. Chucky, just curious what you use to download YouTube videos and what your Plex set-up is? There are a ton of services that seem to download these videos, but it’s hard to trust some random site and I never know which ones are going to deliver the best quality. And, Plex seems very appealing and am trying to figure out the best way to implement this. Thanks!

  15. “Chucky, just curious what you use to download YouTube videos and what your Plex set-up is?”

    I’m on OS X, so obviously your mileage will vary on Windows.

    But on OS X, the easiest way to is to use the most excellent ClickToPlugin Safari extension. You’re a contextual menu away from downloading what you’re looking at.

    In the past, I’ve also used the free ClipGrab app, which you can find through Google. They have distros for OS X, Windows, and Linux, so that should cover the bases.

    As far as Plex Media Server goes, just download it and start pointing it to your local media. At least on OS X, it’s pretty simple to figure out. (Dunno how good or bad the implementation on Windows is.) For a Plex lean-back client to display the server’s content, you’ll need a dedicated OS X box, an LG smart TV, or a Roku.

    Personally, I have the Plex Media Server running on the same Mac Mini that connects to my lean-back via HDMI.

  16. I really miss not having YouTube across from the couch. I was learning to play songs on my guitar with tutorials. Plus subscribing to shows like EpicMealTime, RT or Annoying Orange were awesome.

  17. @ JCM. People watch youtube for different reasons. It’s a great way to learn things, like recipes, without going out and purchasing a whole book. Basically you can share information with the masses for seemingly low cost. Now is the video quality great, nope, it’s free. But I for one am happy that youtube will be available at some point on Roku.

  18. Youtube has several hundred full length movies and movies on demand, there are some really creative types that have shows with some actual substance to them, there are lots of useful DIY channels that have tutorials that would be nice to get on the TV, etc. There’s a lot more than just viral videos and morons talking into a camera on there.

  19. @jcm Youtube is a giant waste of time. Chinese win on this one. Reading and commenting on Youtube blog articles, however, well…+1 USA.

  20. I have You tube on my Roku using the unauthorized version. I also have a legit version on my blu ray player and I rarely use it either way. I don’t see the fascination to this web site.

  21. I love YouTube on my Roku. I watch it all the time including recaps from American Idol, entire ITV and BBC broadcasts, etc. I have the original “nowhereman” version (private channel). Roku needs to get on the ball and get YouTube back in their offerings. I have several friends who have reluctantly opted for alternative “set top” streaming devices since YouTube was dropped. I, myself, would not buy another Roku (for my other TV sets) unless or until they resolve this dispute. They need to add YouTube and to their channel line-up.

  22. I would really like Roku to bring it back. My teen children really only watch videos on Hulu and YouTube. They have specific channels they watch on YouTube everyday. In the main room of my house I have removed the DISH and have Roku and all are happy, well except for the football fan.

  23. For all the intellectually arrogant who look down on YouTube with disdain, I would point out that YouTube is just like TheTube, you know…the one you were watching with cable or satellite before you got your Roku box and ended up here…there is quality programming and there is crap. Please don’t assume that everyone who wants YouTube is a braindead couch potato thriving on pseudo reality and sitcoms.

    There is much of value there but if you’ve never been there or never spent any time finding out what the resources are, you wouldn’t know that. When you walk around with your nose in the air, you miss the gold lying on the ground. Just sayin…

  24. Pamela, the problem of Youtube is that it does not promote the good videos, it promotes the crap ones. Vimeo on the other hand, via its two main channels, “Staff Picks” and “HD Channel”, promotes the best of the best in art. Youtube does carry the same videos as Vimeo is, but there’s no easy way to find them.

  25. Youtube is one of the only ways I stay updated on British shows such as QI that haven’t even made it onto DVD yet. Having youtube on my roku would be a major help!

  26. Google answer to “Don’t be Evil” is now “Don’t be Evil but it really depends on how you define “Evil.”

  27. I must be in the minority because I have never quite understood the appeal of YouTube. Do people really just sit back, kick up their feet and watch YouTube videos? While we watch YouTube, the Chinese are producing more graduates with science and engineering degrees….

    Yeah, we do.

    The Chinese are also making more wonton soup than we are. Its not related to wanting to watch videos or not wanting to watch videos.

    And visit China, they are doing academics and nuts for chatting and internet of all kinds.

    It is not either/or. But if it makes you feel better to make people wrong and come to that conclusion… its an ocuring world!

  28. Hey- to each his own!re YOUTUBE — to all ye naysayers- There is great content for any hobbyist, scientist, teacher, student, music fan, animal lover, etc. I personally have collected plenty for later re-viewing over the “years”….. I too wish Roku would stream my favs etc- the RateRix work around is painfully involved and a bit limited etc..but works. Nothing like big screen up close and personal with knitting machine videos,spining, tsunami recaps, etc etc. Guyrss I’ll have to buy a player or other to do it more efficiently. Beats paying for cable TV!!! We are sooo lucky to have content access of media by peers and experts at our fingertips! And yes, I work, read books, swim, hike, have guilds to go to for my crafting etc..I have a life too! Just sayin’ don’t dis others who enrich their life – it’s a good choice!

  29. Another use case: I have two toddlers. Finding stuff for them to watch that is Mom and Dad approved is a chore. YouTube has lots of clips of stuff from the 70’s and 80’s which you just cannot find anymore. Modern Sesame street gives me the willies. So we make up a queue of vintage clips and songs the kids can watch and Mom and Dad don’t have to worry about. It is also great for Christmas time, when you want to have a bunch of Christmas songs/videos for them to watch or listen to in the background. I can also get them stuff in French and German. Diego and Dora are great for Spanish, but try finding stuff for kids in German or French on normal US TV… YouTube makes it accessible.

  30. Once again, “In the works” becomes “Don’t see it in the future” Granted I can watch YouTube on my PC. But I don’t have my PC connected to my TV. Two different rooms. I enjoy watching YouTube and really wish they would put it back. My brother has an older Roku that has the channel and it’s his second watched channel next to Netflix. come on YouTube. You seem to be on every device but the Roku.

  31. Add the youtube link to your Facebook my videos and share it with “only me” option. Go to Roku Facebook app and watch…ulallaa… problem solved.

  32. When I bought my Roku in December the saleperson told me, “Oh sure, you can get Youtube. All these systems have Youtube.” Well, he was almost right. All but one. We do get a lot of little “niche channel” additions like the Slovakian channel now and then. Roku also was supposed to be adding the very nifty Spotify website — month’s ago! Personally I am suffering from “buyers remorse”. In the meantime I refuse to add games or channels with a cost in case I decide to ditch this thing and buy a real system.

  33. I still keep my PlayOn basic license and run their service on my PC. Add the Roku Channel for PlayOn. That is how I watch YouTube on my Roku. If I upgrade my license to Premium for PlayOn I can also watch regular Hulu.

  34. There’s YouTube content in the Disney channel on Roku. It looks like it’s filtered for being kid safe or whatnot, dog and cat stuff of course, and some stuff like how to paint your nails.

  35. I like to look at 1960s tv shows like get smart and the mothers in law, that you cant see anywhere else, inane yes, better than whats on, you bet.

  36. I absolutely love YouTube. @jvm, with all due respect there is a whole other side to YouTube and had you explored it you would understand. I AM an engineering student, I watch not only my professors videos on YouTube but others as well. Instead of going to the Khan academy website, or others similar to it, I save all related playlists in my YouTube account. I subscribe to universities all across the country and watch recorded lectures on anything from world history to quantum mechanics. I have acquired 3 Microsoft certifications just by watching IT instructional playlists. YouTube, just like any other social media site is what you make it. It can be fun and meaningless or it can also be away to absorb massive amounts of information. Much props to Google for taking it to another level too. The interface has improved 110% since they acquired. I am really looking forward to having this app on Roku.

  37. YouTube is the reason why I almost bought an AppleTV instead of Roku. But I read somwhere that it was coming and sadly decided to buy Roku for the games. Now I am stuck with a promise and not the video website with the most content in the whole world. I do think it is time to dump Roku. This lack is unforgivable and degrades the device by leaps and bounds. Have a nice life Roku, I can still sell it on the internet and compensate some for my loss. And the games are not even great at all.

  38. So, yeah, salesperson told me the Roku has YouTube too. I could still take it back, but I like the the damned thing. Hate not having YouTube on it, though. Whose fault that is, well, seems dependent on which company you dislike more.

    My Xbox is red-ringed, computers are doa. Anyone know a way (an application would be good) to stream YouTube through Verizon boxes or the Roku from an Android and Wi-Fi? I know I could get a Google TV thing cheap, but that’s what Google WANTS me to do, right? Not happening.

    It would be corporate suicide for Roku to have just lied about a non-existent YouTube on the horizon…

  39. 2013 and still no Youtube. I love my Roku, and recommend to everyone, but this is a bit of a disappointment.

    From what I understand though, Google is dragging its feet more on this, which only makes me hate the Youtube/Google merger even more. The other reason is Google’s insistence on synching every single email account to your YT username. I have these accounts separate for a reason Google!

  40. While youtube isnt the best for movies and tv quality or lack of it a lot of people use it to get their name out there for acting, music making ect. I know a lot of artists that have put their music on youtube to end up getting signed to a label. Lot of gamers use it to post tips/tricks, ect or reviews. Lots of vloggers out there use it for this or that. As for the remark about sitting around watching youtube all day, beats watching tv or playing games all day. I for one welcome youtube on roku. Not everyone has a computer or game console to watch stuff on some ppl just have a roku.

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