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Roku Yanks Charter Spectrum App in Carriage Dispute Switcheroo

Roku
(Image credit: Roku)

Ah, the hunter has become the hunted! The blackout-er has become the blackout-ed! (Yeah, we’re playing up the irony here.)

Cable company Charter Communications has informed its customers that its Spectrum TV app is no longer available for download on Roku, with the cable operator's distribution deal with the OTT company expired. 

The “blackout” of the cable company’s OTT app on the No. 1 connected TV device platform was first discovered by TV Answer Man analyst Phillip Swann. A Charter rep told him that the Spectrum TV app, which lets Charter pay TV subscribers watch their service without a traditional set-top box, can still be used if the customer already has it downloaded on their Roku device.

UPDATED 12/14/2020: In a Monday morning email, a Roku press rep said, "This is not a carriage dispute as noted." Spectrum TV app downloads, he said, were disabled because Roku's deal with Charter expired. But the app has not been blocked--those who already have it can still use it. Roku and Charter are working on a renewal.

"Importantly, all current users still have access to the app," the rep added. 

The Spectrum TV app had been available on Roku since 2015. 

This isn’t the first time Roku has pulled download access to a pay TV operator’s app—the AT&T TV app was removed from the platform a year ago over fees and advertising issues, but was restored earlier this year

The Spectrum TV app can still be accessed on Apple TV and iOS devices, as well as on Samsung smart TVs and Microsoft Xbox consoles