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Summary:

Roku quizzed some of its users about their YouTube video viewing habits this week. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company is about to launch its own YouTube app.

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Roku sent out an interesting survey to some of its users this week, asking them what kind of content they watch on YouTube and how often they use the Google-owned video service. That’s notable, because Roku is the only major smart TV platform that doesn’t have an official YouTube app.

roku survey youtube questions

Roku users were for some time able to access YouTube through a third-party channel — as apps are called in the Roku ecosystem — but the company was forced to shut these down on YouTube’s request. One example: VideoBuzz, which offered access to YouTube videos was kicked off the platform earlier this year. But with this week’s survey, Roku specifically targeted former VideoBuzz users to find out how they used the channel, and what kind of YouTube content they accessed with it.

roku survey videobuzz

I asked a Roku spokesperson whether this means that the company is close to launching a YouTube channel. Her response was more or less the same that Roku has given people over the last few years whenever the subject came up:

“We are (…) talking to YouTube to bring a YouTube channel to Roku but have not reached business terms yet.”

In the absence of a deal with YouTube, Roku is now apparently looking to get some of the content that’s popular on YouTube without all those other strings attached. Roku team members had a booth at Vidcon, the yearly gathering of YouTube creators and their fans, in Southern California this week. Their goal: Get more YouTube publishers to launch their own channels on Roku. “We actually have many YouTube channels already on Roku,” the company spokesperson told me, citing Vevo, Machinima, CollegeHumor and IGN as examples.

YouTube has for some time been looking to empower professional content producers and put a bigger emphasis on channels with serialized content, as opposed to those random viral cat video that used to be the site’s biggest fare back in the days. Of course, without any official agreement with YouTube, there would be another option for Roku: Get as many of these professional YouTube channels as possible, and then bundle them in one or more YouTube-like packages, possibly organized around topics.

roku survey similar to youtube

One of the slides suggested as much, but Roku’s spokesperson denied that the company is looking to build something that looks like YouTube, but isn’t actually YouTube. Via email, she said:

“We are working with channels already on YouTube to bring them as individual channels on Roku… Separate from that we are still exploring a YouTube channel on Roku. These would co-exist.”

  1. A Roku YouTube channel makes about as much sense as my LG TV having its own YouTube channel.

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  2. I was a fairly early adopter of Roku but then attached a small media PC which does everything to the same TV. I warned Roku to move the proliferating rinky-dink “religious” channels out of or to the bottom of the mainstream Channel Store. Not to mention the rinky-dink movie “channels” with 20 movies cross-referenced into 8 categories or the crummy-deal pay “channels”. Not only did I get no response from Roku, but now they have brought out more generations of hardware (I bought the best of the previous), thinking Angry Birds (which I play new levels of weekly for free on Facebook) was going to powerhouse their business model. However, Roku’s new PBS channel isn’t even available on my XD/S, even though there is no reason for that, except to leverage the US taxpayers’ support of PBS to sell “new” Roku hardware. I used to be able to watch YouTube videos on some 3rd party channel, but I did so so seldom that I did not even notice if it was missing. But why in Hell would Google/YouTube not keep that “goodie” for its own set-top box in the works?

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    1. This is the same model that killed the early Atari game system. (Yes I am that old)
      Atari would let anyone create game and the results were crappy Atari game. Chuck Wagon Dog Food even had their own Atari game! Of course there were good ones to but there were just too many crappy ones. I understand what they are trying to do but in the end it just hurt them.

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    2. Hi.. Well.. I don’t know about all that first stuff you were talking about.. But I do watch PBS on my Roku device.. and am thrilled with it..

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  3. I am so glad to see this article on here. I did not know Roku was surveying some customers about Youtube. Bottom line is, YouTube is one the biggest sites on the net and has so much on it. It is not for everyone.

    I love browsing YouTube and I have said it before; if Roku does not work this out by the first of 2014 I will sell my Roku and buy a box that can give me YouTube and NetFlix as well as a USB port for my external hard drive for my movie files. Several that I know personally have gotten rid of their Roku boxes to get YouTube and they warn others before they buy a Roku. I do not know if what their problem is but Roku needs to fix the issue with Google.

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  4. ROKU HAS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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  5. I got the survey also. With the launch of Google Chromecast, which I have, Roku is going to get @sswhipped if they don’t offer a YouTube channel.

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  6. A Youtube channel is now available on roku. I just finished downloading it and it works fantastic. Thank you Roku.

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    1. No. Not true…

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  7. WD Live. And it puts the money in the pocket of Western Digital. I see Roku boxes being laughed at in a few years while people see them at flea markets and say,” …Hey..remember those?” Yea, they would not get a Youtube channel and they went belly up…”

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  8. Not having a YouTube channel is what’s making me not buy a Roku. I’m probably going to go with AppleTV.

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  9. Several different versions of the Youtube App are available for various devices however they are far from worth looking at. Samsungs app for Youtube leaves a shade of “data gathering crap” blocking out the sun of what would be a good experience. It doesn’t offer anything more than being able to search. No subscription viewing unless you use a PC and mark video as a favorite will it be easy to access. Crap like this pisses me off and designs like this is garbage. If you are going to offer an ap, make it work. When I read about another company talking about making an ap to work for their device that doesn’t have the same the functionality of Youtube like on a mobile device, It’s a total waste and your shit is garbage. I am grading devices on the ability to actually run apps anymore, just like you grade a computer. The rest of you should start.

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  10. The lack of a YouTube app is seriously annoying to me. I used the VideoBuzz app but recently the 5.1 update broke it. grrrrrrrr.

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