As the spat between Google and Roku over the YouTube TV app continues, Google is making good on a promise to hand out free 4K streaming video players to some YouTube TV subscribers.
9to5Google reports that a number of YouTube TV users are receiving offers from Google for a free TiVo Stream 4K or a Chromecast with Google TV. The giveaway is so popular that the TiVo store (where users must go to redeem the emailed offer for a TiVo Stream 4K) is apparently buckling under the load.
The TiVo Stream 4K player and the Chromecast with Google TV, which both came out last year, normally cost $50 each.
The move comes about six weeks after Roku, which is embroiled in an ugly contract dispute with Google over YouTube TV, abruptly pulled the YouTube TV app from its channel store. YouTube TV users who already had the app installed on their Roku devices have been allowed to continue streaming, at least for now.
9to5Google notes that Google has previously given away Chomecast with Google TV players to YouTube TV subscribers, including during a promotion last winter. However, in an early May post on the YouTube blog about the Roku standoff, Google said it was “in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku.”
The feud between Google and Roku erupted nearly two months ago, when Roku accused Google of “discriminatory and anticompetitive behavior” in its contract negotiations with the streaming device manufacturer.
Specifically, Roku claims Google wants to “manipulate your search results” while demanding devices use pricier chipsets—most likely those that support the open-source AV1 video codec—that would boost the cost of its streaming players.
Google has denied the charges, adding that it is having “ongoing, long-term conversations with Roku” to “ensure a consistent and high-quality YouTube experience across different devices.”
Besides giving away free TiVo Stream 4K and Chromecast with Google TV players to at least some YouTube TV subscribers, Google also built a back door for YouTube TV into the main YouTube app.