YouTube TV’s app arrives on Roku

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The YouTube TV app is at last available on Roku devices, starting today. Google had announced earlier that YouTube’s live TV service would be coming to Roku and Apple TV in the first quarter of 2018, following a delay that saw it pushing the launch date back from year-end 2017.

Until now, YouTube TV has been fairly limited in its support of living room devices compared with rivals, only offering support for select smart TVs (LG and Samsung models), Android TV, Chromecast, and Xbox One devices.

Roku is a major platform a TV app like YouTube TV needs to address, given Roku’s status as the top streaming platform in the U.S., according to multiple market research reports. However, it’s often one of the latter platforms to get a new app, as is the case with YouTube TV.

The Roku app will work on most, but not all, Roku devices including:  all Roku TVs, Roku Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Streaming Stick (3800x, 3600x), Roku Express/Express+ (3910x, 3900x, 3710x, 3700x), Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere, Roku 4, Roku 3 (4200x, 4230x), and Roku 2 (4210x).

Users can opt to start a free trial of YouTube TV, then choose to cancel or be billed the $35 per month to continue.

One of the advantages of YouTube TV is that it put a heavier focus on including broadcast networks in markets where it’s live, instead of launching nationwide then adding on networks like ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox when deals are later ironed out. That means most YouTube TV subscribers will have access to the major channels, as well as other popular networks like CW, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, Telemundo, and more.

You can also choose to add on premium networks like Showtime, Shudder, Sundance Now, and Fox Soccer Plus for an additional charge.

The app includes a feature set that’s fairly in line with competitors, too. It offers a cloud DVR, personalized recommendations, a live TV guide, background play, and support for up to five other viewers who each get their own login, recommendations, and DVR.

The service is today available in 80 metro areas across the U.S. Specifically, the company announced in December it was in 83 markets thanks to a big rollout that included 34 new metros, like New Orleans, Green Bay, Tucson, Tulsa, San Diego and San Antonio.

That said, YouTube TV is not the largest in terms of users. A recent CNBC report found that YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV had each added hundreds of thousands of subscribers in less than a year’s time, with the former at just over 300,000 subscribers, and the latter with 450,000. But both still trail others like Sling TV (2 million+ users) and AT&T’s DirecTV Now (1 million), it said.

YouTube’s rollout to Roku could help it gain more traction as the streaming TV race continues to heat up, however.

As for the Apple TV app? That will be coming “very soon,” says Google.

* P.S. I will DM you back to discuss “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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