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Roku vs Youtube TV: What’s The Difference? (Updated 2023)

Roku VS YouTube TV

Roku and Youtube TV had a massive conflict in 2021. 

And when their drama hit the global headlines…

People begin to wonder how the 2 are different.

And since I’m an avid user of both of these platforms…  

Let me point out the key differences between Roku and Youtube TV.

Continue reading to discover:

  • 9 easy steps to subscribe to Youtube TV.
  • How you can watch Youtube TV on Roku.
  • 3 crucial differences between Roku and Youtube TV.
  • And a lot more… 

Differences between Roku and Youtube TV

Roku and Youtube TV are entirely different platforms.

With that said, naturally, they have many differences. 

But to quickly grasp how the 2 are different, here are… 

3 key differences between Roku and Youtube TV

#1: Type of platform

This is the main difference between the 2.

See, Roku is a streaming device. While Youtube TV is a streaming service.  

In other words, the Roku is an example of hardware or a physical gadget.  

While Youtube TV is part of the software. Meaning it’s similar to the apps on your phone. 

That said, Roku is similar to streaming devices like:

  • Apple TV.
  • Amazon Firestick.
  • Chromecast with Google TV.

While on the other hand…

Youtube TV is similar to streaming services like:

  • Hulu.
  • Netflix. 
  • HBO Max. 

As you can see, the 2 aren’t direct competitors.

And instead, they work hand-in-hand to serve consumers.

Now, don’t confuse Youtube TV with the free streaming service: Youtube.

Because while both have similar names and are made by the same company: Google… 

Their contents don’t overlap with each other. 

See, Youtube (free or premium) allows you to watch original Youtube videos. In other words, content specifically uploaded to the Youtube app…

From independent individuals and groups. Or formal companies or organizations. 

That said, on the flipside…

Youtube TV gives you access to over 90 cable channels and networks.

And this includes the major US networks like: 

  • ABC.
  • NBA TV.
  • BBC America.

So really, you can compare Youtube TV to a wireless cable box. 

While Youtube is a social media platform. 

#2: Price

Both Roku and Youtube TV aren’t free.

But in comparison…

Youtube TV is more expensive than Roku. 

That’s because you only need to buy a Roku once.

But you need to pay monthly for Youtube TV. 

Now, if you’re wondering how much a Roku is…

It depends on what type of Roku you want. 

With that said… 

Here’s how much the different types of Roku cost
Roku Express$17.99
Roku Express 4K+$24.99
Roku Streaming Stick 4K$29.99
Roku Ultra 4K$79.99
Roku Streambar 4K$89.00

And now that you know the price of Roku, let’s talk about Youtube TV. 

As mentioned, it’s more expensive than Roku. 

And to be specific, you need to pay $62.99 monthly to subscribe to Youtube TV.

However, it’s worth noting that Youtube TV gives a 7-day free trial to all new users.

So even if you’re unsure of committing to the streaming service yet… 

You might as well give it a try. Because you can always cancel your subscription before the free trial. 

#3: Popularity

Now, this might come as a surprise. 

But although Youtube has over 2.6 billion active followers…

Youtube TV only has 5 million subscribers. 

And that’s why the 3rd key difference between Roku and Youtube TV is their popularity.

See, the Roku streaming device has more than 50 million users globally.

And that’s 10x the number of people using the Youtube TV platform. 

So no doubt, Roku is more popular than the streaming service: Youtube TV. 

Bonus: Conflict between Roku and Youtube TV

Since we’re talking about differences…

It’s worth mentioning that Roku and Youtube TV had a major conflict way back in 2021. 

See, Roku even removed Youtube TV from their system for months. 

That’s because according to Roku…

Google was demanding special treatment regarding their apps in the Roku system.

To be specific, Google allegedly wanted:

  • More data about Roku customers. 
  • Youtube Music to be the default music provider of all Roku models. 
  • Their apps, including Youtube TV, to appear before other streaming apps. 

However, Google consistently refused the allegations. And stated that it never made such requests to Roku. 

Fortunately, though, the 2 companies were able to settle. 

And both agreed to a multi-year contract extension.

That said, rest assured that you can still enjoy watching Youtube TV on any Roku platform.

Do I need Roku for Youtube TV?

You don’t need Roku for Youtube TV.

See, Roku is just 1 of the many devices that Youtube TV is compatible with.

That said, even if you don’t have a Roku device…

You can still watch and enjoy Youtube TV through devices like your:

  • Smart TV.
  • Smartphones. 
  • Game consoles.

However, it’s worth mentioning that since Roku is 1 of the easiest ways to turn regular TVs into Smart TVs

I recommend getting it if you want to enjoy Youtube TV on a bigger screen. But don’t have a Smart TV yet. 

Interested in the idea? Then…

Here’s how you can use Roku to watch Youtube TV on any regular TV

Step 1: Prepare your items

For this setup, you’ll need a:

  • Roku device.
  • Roku remote. 
  • Batteries (AA or AAA). 
  • High-quality HDMI cable. 
  • Regular TV with an HDMI port. 

Now, except for the TV…

You’d see all of these items in your new Roku box. 

So simply ensure that all of them are in good condition and proceed to… 

Step 2: Plug your Roku into its power source

  1. Find your Roku’s power cable.
  2. Insert the connector of the cord to your Roku.
  3. Plug the adapter into a wall outlet.

Now, wait for the LED light on your Roku to turn ON then…

Step 3: Connect your Roku to the TV

Grab the HDMI cable you prepared.

And plug 1 of its connector into the HDMI port on your Roku device.

After doing so, connect the other end to 1 of your TV’s HDMI Iportsrt. 

Note: If you have a Roku streaming stick, simply connect your device directly to the TV’s HDMI port. Because you don’t need an HDMI cable for this model. 

Pro tip: Remember the name of the HDMI port you plugged the cable into. Because you’ll need this for step 5. 

Step 4: Turn ON your TV

Turn On TV Using Roku

Ensure that your TV is plugged into a wall outlet.

And turn it ON using its physical button or remote. 

After that…  

Step 5: Change your TV’s input source

Do you see the welcome screen of Roku?

If yes, proceed to the next step.

But if you’re seeing another input or a black and gray screen…

Change the input of your TV:
  1. Click Input/Source on your TV’s remote.
  2. The list of your input sources will appear on your screen.
  3. Select the HDMI port you plugged your Roku into. 

Note: If these steps don’t apply to your TV, check its user manual. And find out how you can change the input on your device. 

Now, once you see the Roku logo on your screen…  

Step 6: Insert the batteries into your Roku’s remote

Take off the battery compartment cover of your Roku’s controller.

And position the batteries correctly inside. 

After doing so, return the remote cover again and proceed to… 

Step 7: Set up your Roku device

Select your preferred language on the screen. 

And connect the Roku to your Wifi network. 

Note: Ensure that your Roku remote has a clear line of sight of your Roku player. Or else the TV won’t detect the inputs from your remote. 

After that, select OK if an update for your device is available. And follow further on-screen instructions. 

Step 8: Sign in to your Roku account

You’ll see instructions on your TV screen to sign in or sign up. 

So simply follow along with the process and… 

Step 9: Use Youtube TV on your Roku

You can now use your TV like any other Smart TV.

That said, if you want to add the Youtube TV app to your Roku, just follow these steps: 

  1. Head to Roku’s home screen by clicking the Home icon on your remote. 
  2. Scroll down to Streaming Channels.
  3. Click Search Channels.
  4. Type in “Youtube TV.”
  5. Select the Youtube TV channel from the results.
  6. Click Add channel.
  7. Tap OK on the confirmation window. 
  8. On the same page, click “Go to channel.” 
  9. Sign in or sign up for Youtube TV.

If you want a visual guide for this whole process, watch this video: 

And just like that, you can now use Youtube TV on your Roku.

You might also want to know: (9 Fixes) YouTube TV Not Working On Roku

How does Roku TV work?

Roku works as a streaming media for your TV or any monitor.

That said, all you need to do is plug your Roku into an HDMI port. And you’ll easily turn your TV into a Smart TV. 

See, this is possible because Roku devices have an Operating System (OS).

“What’s that?”

You can think of an OS as the brain for technological gadgets.

That said, all smartphones also have 1.

For example, the OS of Android devices is Android.

And for Apple devices, they have iOS. 

On that note, Roku devices also have the Roku OS. And thanks to this…

A Roku can turn any regular TV smart with its features

Voice assistants

You can choose Alexa or Google assistant as your Roku’s AI. 

And through them, you’ll be able to control your TV by just using your voice.

However, it’s worth noting that not all Roku remotes have a built-in mic button.

So you’ll need to download the Roku mobile app (iOS or Android) to use this feature for some Roku models. 

That said…

Here are the most common actions you can command Roku to do:
  • Open apps or channels. 
  • Cancel previous commands.
  • Access to streaming services.
  • Search for movie or show titles. 

Online games

There are hundreds of games you can play using Roku.

And in fact, the Roku remote doubles as a game controller.

That said, if you’re interested in knowing the different games available on this device…

Head to Roku’s official channel store.

And there, you’ll see many fun and nostalgic games, including:

  • Snake.
  • Text Twist.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe.

Streaming services

If you love watching shows and movies…

Then Roku got you covered.

That’s because you can access dozens of streaming apps with this device. And that includes:

  • Netflix.
  • HBO Max.
  • Youtube TV. 

However, bear in mind that most streaming services require their own subscription.

With that said, although your Roku will let you access these apps…

You still won’t be able to use paid streaming services unless you’re subscribed to their platform. 

Editor’s pick: Do I Need A Roku For Each TV? 3 Answers

How does Youtube TV work?

Youtube TV works like a cable service provider.

See, with this streaming platform… 

You’ll have access to hundreds of TV channels for a monthly subscription. 

However, unlike regular cable services… 

Youtube TV isn’t limited to TV use.

That’s because, as mentioned earlier, you can also use it on other devices like your phone. 

And in fact, you can use the same Youtube TV account on up to 3 devices simultaneously. 

With that said, if you’re interested in subscribing to this streaming service… 

Follow these steps to sign up for Youtube TV

Step 1: Create your account

Using your phone or PC…

Open up a browser and head to

Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page at click the TRY IT FREE button. 

After doing so, sign in using your Google account. And proceed to the next step.

Note: If you don’t have a Google account, go to this website. And you’ll see the necessary steps to create an account. 

Step 2: Confirm your location

Input your home ZIP code. 

And confirm your location using the device location permissions.

Now, if you’re wondering… 

“Why do I have to put my ZIP code?”

That’s because this step ensures you’ll be subscribed to the correct local TV networks.

Note: If it states that you have an incorrect ZIP, click the I don’t live here option. And follow the on-screen instructions. 

Step 3: Customize your Youtube TV membership

While Youtube TV only offers 1 plan for all subscribers…

You have the choice to add some add-ons to your account like:

  • 4K Plus.
  • Sports Plus.
  • Entertainment Plus. 

That said, select the features you’d like to be added to your account, then…

Follow these steps:

  1. Click Next.
  2. Add the Networks you want to add to your Base plan. 
  3. Select Next after you’ve picked all the networks you want. 
  4. Confirm your payment method. 
  5. Click Buy as the last step in the process. 

And just like that, you’ll now be able to enjoy your Youtube TV. 

Note: Your card will only be charged after the 7-day free trial ends. 

Fun fact: Watching Youtube TV with Chromecasts give you extra benefits. And 1 of them is you’ll get personal content recommendations on your Youtube TV home screen. 

Is Roku or Youtube TV better?

There’s no better option between the Roku and Youtube TV. 

That’s because the 2 are in entirely different categories. 

See, similar to how you can’t compare an animal to a plant directly…

You can’t determine which is better between a streaming device and a streaming service.

So there’s no way to compare which is better between Roku and Youtube TV. 

However, it’s worth noting that…

Roku and Youtube TV are part of the top choices in their categories. 

Really, a Roku is 1 of the best streaming devices you can get.

And Youtube TV is also 1 of the best television networks you can subscribe to now.