Roku sent out an email to customers on Thursday night, saying that “all standalone FOX channels will no longer be available on Roku streaming devices” beginning Jan. 31.
This came out of nowhere, and is pretty brutal timing, seeing as how *the Super Bowl* is on Fox on Feb. 2.
Here’s the email Roku customers received:
Dear Roku Customer,
On January 31, 2020, all standalone FOX channels will no longer be available on Roku streaming devices.
You can still watch FOX channels through these services: FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, SlingTV, YouTube TV and other live TV services, many of which offer free trials. We also have thousands of other great channels in the Roku Channel Store. We’ve got you covered!
If you have a Roku TV, you may be able to receive FOX over the air with an antenna.
A Twitter user asked if Fox Sports channels are going away too, and the Roku Support Twitter account sent the following response:
Our distribution contract with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31 so FOX channels were removed from the Roku Channel Store. You can view FOX programming including the big game through Fubo, Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and other ways. Many of these services offer a free trial.
— Roku Support (@RokuSupport) January 31, 2020
“Our distribution contract with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31 so FOX channels were removed from the Roku Channel Store. You can view FOX programming including the big game through Fubo, Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and other ways. Many of these services offer a free trial.”
Janko Roettgers, a reporter for Protocol, was told in a statement from a Roku spokesperson that Roku “offered Fox an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to Fox,” and, “If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove Fox channels from the Roku platform.”
The spokesperson added, “Our discussions with Fox will continue and we hope that Fox will work to reach an agreement soon.”
Get ready for carriage disputes to arrive on your streaming services. Case in point: Fox channels are disappearing from Roku tomorrow.
Roku spokesperson sent me this statement. pic.twitter.com/Ef9WJHRyKu
— Janko Roettgers (@jank0) January 31, 2020
So, we have a carriage dispute, three days before the Super Bowl.
Hopefully an agreement is reached before the Super Bowl so that Roku users don’t have to find an alternate way to watch the Chiefs-49ers game on such short notice (however, free trials are an option — Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV, Fubo, etc — as Roku is reminding in their statements). And even if the situation is resolved, it won’t be before pissing off a lot of Roku users (with some users threatening to trash or stop buying Roku devices).
— Jordan McEntaffer (@jordiemac3) January 31, 2020
— Manny Vargas (@Manny_Vargas93) January 31, 2020
A 1 day notice from @Roku that they are getting rid of Fox. My Roku in the living room, bedroom, and basement are all going in the dumpster tonight
— Tom in Vegas (@bettinman01) January 31, 2020
— Jonathan Blackard (@JBlackard59) January 31, 2020
— dwchief (@dwchiefLIVE) January 31, 2020
— Shaker Samman (@ShakerSamman) January 31, 2020
— SlaweyOne Ⓥ (@psalwey) January 31, 2020
— ZEROICS (@sciorez) January 31, 2020
— Abhay Shah ?@ ? (@_abhayshah) January 31, 2020
Earlier on Thursday, a Fox Sports spokesperson told The Verge that Fox was hoping to have the Super Bowl available in 4K HDR on Roku by kickoff time. So, just hours ago, a Fox Sports spokesperson was operating under the assumption that the game would be shown on Roku.
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube are confirmed to get the 4K HDR (HDR10, specifically) feed via Fox Sports’ app. At the time of publishing, Fox Sports’ website says the Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Ultra, and all 4K HDR TVs with Roku’s operating system built-in will get it, too. However, a Fox Sports spokesperson tells The Verge that those Roku devices aren’t yet working with the high fidelity stream. If you have a Roku device, or you were planning to buy one for the game, the lack of assurance that you’ll get 4K HDR is worrying, though the broadcaster is pushing for them to work by kickoff time.
We’ll keep you updated on any changes here, but for now, Roku users may want to consider other ways to watch the Super Bowl in case an agreement isn’t reached between Roku and Fox before kickoff.
UPDATE: Roku tweeted on Friday night that they have reached an agreement with Fox “to distribute Fox channels on the Roku platform.”
We are delighted that we reached an agreement with FOX to distribute FOX channels on the Roku platform.
Roku customers can stream the Super Bowl through FOX Now, Fox Sports and NFL in addition to other ways.
— Roku (@Roku) February 1, 2020
“We are delighted that we reached an agreement with FOX to distribute FOX channels on the Roku platform.
Roku customers can stream the Super Bowl through FOX Now, Fox Sports and NFL in addition to other ways.”