YouTube on Roku

Update: YouTube is now an official channel on Roku! Click here to learn more and how to add it to your channel listings.

While I believe Roku is the best streaming player you can buy, and there are hundreds of channels available, YouTube on Roku is not an official channel. However, keep reading to learn more and how easy it is to get YouTube on Roku.

I don’t believe the lack of YouTube on Roku is entirely Roku’s fault, however. YouTube is owned by Google and a couple of years ago Roku offered users a private channel to offer YouTube while they were working an official channel. This worked great for a little while and Roku was actually advising users how to add this private YouTube channel via its FAQ. They apparently even hired a consultant to help maintain the private channel. However, it is speculated that Roku wasn’t able to meet Google’s technical specifications to add it to Roku’s official guide.

As a result, YouTube requested that Roku take down the private channel. Roku changed its FAQ to state this in response to a question about having YouTube on Roku: “Roku does not have a YouTube channel. At the request of YouTube, the previously available private YouTube channel is no longer available on Roku.”

However, I read just recently that Roku sent out a survey to users quizzing them how frequently they use YouTube. I also read that with the newer and faster processor the Roku 3 provides, it may overcome some of the technical issues Google requires.

Hopefully these are positive signs that they will be able to bring YouTube on Roku to their devices soon. I would think Google would be eager to get YouTube (and its advertising) on any device,  including Roku’s models. I will be monitoring and let you know when this is available.

Is there any way to get YouTube on Roku?

But never fear, there is a workaround to get YouTube on Roku if you are a fan. What I found on CNET.com is that you need to use a private channel named Twonky. This app will allow you browse and view YouTube videos on your smart phone and then essentially “beam” them to your television via your Roku device and the app on your phone or tablet.

To access this channel, go to http://owner.roku.com/add/ and login to your Roku account. There you will need to enter the channel access code “mytwonky” and click “Add” to confirm.

Next go back to your Roku. Go to Settings > Player Info > Check for Update and this will get the Twonky channel to show up in your channel list.

Now make sure your smart phone and Roku are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Once that is done download and install the Twonky Beam app on your iPhone or Android device.

After launching the Beam application you will see a list of apps that offer video services, YouTube being one of them. If you go to the “home” screen of the Twonky app swipe to the left and select “Display Device”. Then select “Roku Video Player”.

Going back to the home screen select YouTube. By clicking this you will go to the YouTube site where you can search for a video. Once you find your video click the “Beam” button and then play the YouTube video. Soon your video will begin to play your selected video directly on your TV. You are now watching YouTube videos on your TV.

Check out the CNET video below to learn more about using this application with your Roku.

Yet another way: VideoBuzz

I recently learned of another way to get YouTube on Roku. While it is a bit trickier to install, it very useful, especially if you don’t have a free smartphone available.

So here are the steps to install VideoBuzz, which are somewhat complicated compared to Twonky:

First, go to your Roku and get your Roku’s IP address. You can get this by going to the Settings then About menus.

Next, go to your computer, open your browser and go to the MyVideoBuzz install page. Make sure the browser you use is either Google Chrome or Firefox as it appears to be finicky. Follow the instructions after the pop-up box appears. On the third step of these instructions enter your Roku’s IP address.

Now go to your remote and press these keys in this sequence to get to the Roku’s developer mode, which can be tricky:

  • Home button three times
  • Up button two times
  • Then Right, Left, Right, Left, Right

From here, follow the instructions agreeing to enable the developer mode. Your Roku will then reboot.

Finally go back to your browser and finish the installation there. Now you should have the YouTube channel on your list, which allows you to log in to your YouTube subscription and search for YouTube videos. Enjoy!

Some final thoughts

In conclusion, while using the Twonky app is pretty straight-forward, and VideoBuzz a bit trickier but more like a real channel, I sure do hope they add YouTube on Roku as an official channel soon. It really needs it.

If you have any other suggestions on how to access YouTube on Roku please contact me.

Thanks-
Aaron