Although smart boxes and other devices connected to your television have been providing access to YouTube for sometime, the same can’t be said of Roku’s streaming-only setup. A private channel created by an end user seemed to be the solution – until this week, when Google caught wind and shut it all down.
Known as TheNowhereman, the developer has created a number of so-called “private channels” for customers who purchase a Roku media streamer. These private channels are simply channels not available publicly in the channel lineup for anyone to install; rather, you go to a website and get a code, which is then typed into Roku’s selection screen. Roku was so impressed with his efforts that they eventually hired him on staff.
It’s a clever way of managing content and in fact, companies such as RE/MAX are using it to securely provide access to learning content for their employees. Some people have taken advantage of the infrastructure to provide access for users to play local files stored on USB sticks, like with the WD TV Live Hub. That functionality has yet to make it into Roku’s official products in any meaningful way.
Roku received a takedown notice from the YouTube legal team on the matter, asking for the channel to be removed from the service. Users who already installed and activated the plug-in can still access YouTube’s content, but slower users are out of luck at this point. The company said that they were in negotiations with the online video juggernaut, which makes it sound like hope is still alive. Although neither company mentioned what the specific issue at hand was, it was likely due to unofficial use of YouTube’s API by a commercial entity.
Still, Roku customers shouldn’t have to wait too long before a proper, official solution is in place. After all, YouTube wants users to watch their content, and Roku wants to make their users happy. At this point, YouTube is still too important a property to let the issue lie.