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grobl
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YouTube Kids

Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:08 am

Every other mainstream streaming device now has YouTube Kids.  Why is it not yet on Roku? 
 
trekkeriii
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Re: YouTube Kids

Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:11 am

Ask Google. They are responsible for development of the channel
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ShapeUp
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Re: YouTube Kids

Tue May 01, 2018 1:10 pm

With Roku being one of the most sold streaming boxes and even on tv''s themselves, on the market today, I would think Roku has something to do with not having an app for YouTube Kids at this point. I believe they have enough clout to get Google Play Store to get an app for them as they have for android tv.
 
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Basil
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Re: YouTube Kids

Tue May 01, 2018 2:09 pm

Roku doesn't run on Android. 

Google owns Android. Android TV is a competitor of Roku that runs on Google's operating system. And YouTube is owned by Google.

So, no, none of what you said.
Basil
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AndyCalling
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Re: YouTube Kids

Wed May 02, 2018 3:05 am

ShapeUp wrote:
With Roku being one of the most sold streaming boxes and even on tv''s themselves, on the market today, I would think Roku has something to do with not having an app for YouTube Kids at this point. I believe they have enough clout to get Google Play Store to get an app for them as they have for android tv.

Even Microsoft and Amazon can't get Google to co-operate, so Roku is not going to even be able to get Google to pick up the phone let alone help. I use no Google sevices because they are so awful to deal with, except Youtube (and an old Gmail account for the sole purpose of logging in to Youtube) as really there's no comparable alternative. Even at that level of involvement Google is a bind.
 
Macleon85
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Re: YouTube Kids

Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:30 pm

I have Sharp Roku TVs in my kids rooms because they are a great buy and I can control there content and control them from my phone. I can’t be the only one, However my kids love kids YouTube, my wife and I love it because we feel peace of mind that they will only have kids content. This is very disappointing that Roku does not have this app. My kids watch this as they fall asleep I would rather have them watch it on tv then an iPod or iPad. I don’t care who’s job it is to make the apps weather it’s roku or google both company’s want that content in front of kids it’s safe yes there is a a lot of advertisements but it’s what we used to see as kids ads for toys I at 33 years old I love seeing toy ads roku and google need to get there stuff together personally I’m disappointed in both company’s they could charge a monthly fee for the content they have my business I hope these company’s make it right soon I’m not impressed with the LG TVs as far as controlling the tv functions and content from my phone however I have LG TVs in our great room and my bedroom
 
TeeCee
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Re: YouTube Kids

Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:44 pm

Yes i do agree that roku should have youtube kids on it even lg smart tv has it get it together roku
 
fluke
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Re: YouTube Kids

Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:25 am

YouTube's Terms of Service does not allow any other developer to create a YouTube based channel for Roku other than YouTube themselves.

There have been third-party YouTube clients for the Roku in the past and Google/YouTube has demanded that the third-party channel be removed.

Also, the concept of YouTube Kids is not part of the YouTube API.  There an API search option to restrict it to "safesearch" mode but that is not really the same.  YouTube has no intention of helping third-parties create alternative YouTube Kids applications.

If you are willing to live with the limitation just having a "safe-search," you should be able to do that in the existing YouTube channel for Roku by going to Settings (the gear in the lower-left) and then choosing Restricted Mode.

That all having been said, I find the following statement really alarming:
"However my kids love kids YouTube, my wife and I love it because we feel peace of mind that they will only have kids content."

That is not my understanding of what YouTube Kids actually is.  Several of the videos seem to be added to the Kids app using an automated system.  If a cartoon looking video includes instructions on how to commit suicide in the middle then YouTube Kids will be "quick" to act on it being reported for abuse.  However, a reactionary system is not the same as having *only* kids content.

For more information, read carefully what YouTube Kids has to say themselves about the level of safety at:
https://www.youtube.com/kids/safer-experience/

Notice that they themselves indicate the following:
"But not all videos have been manually reviewed. If you find something inappropriate that we missed, you can flag it for fast review. This makes the app better for everyone."

WHAT?!  *IF*?  How inappropriate can something be and still get missed?!

The YouTube Kids reactionary after the fact method is not nearly the same as something like HBO Go or HBO Now's Kids section of manually curated content.

Roku's Kids & Family section of the Roku streaming channel store also have other apps that I feel are better curated content that YouTube Kids automated filter such as PBS Kids.  There is no *IF* you find something then flag it that is part of the PBS Kids system of doing things.

If having delicate minds view videos on a iPad using YouTube Kids were the video was selected through a flawed automated filter has worked well for you so far, I'm happy for you.  I personally don't play Russian roulette regardless of if the gun has 6 chambers or 100 chambers.  YouTube Kids doesn't promise the accuracy of their filter is completely 100%.  They just claim they work to keep the amount of content that sneaks through to be a low percentage.  To me, that low percentage is still a bullet in a gun with a lot of chambers.  I would personally get as much peace of mind from YouTube Kids as I would get from watching The Deer Hunter (a movie I also would not recommend for kids).
 
Yogi76
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Re: YouTube Kids

Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:46 am

@fluke [Content edited per Roku Forum Guidelines] YouTube Kids does a pretty good job at filtering content and it also provides other parental control features that the regular YouTube app doesn't. For instance, it allows "children" Google Accounts that were created in Google Family Link to login. The "children" accounts can be monitored by the adults in the family to see what the children have been watching. The "regular" YouTube app doesn't let these "children" Google Accounts login. The YouTube Kids app also has an option to set a time limit. Yes, the YouTube Kids content filter isn't perfect, but you are letting perfect be the enemy of the good. You know what else isn't perfect... seat belts. But I don't make my kids never ride in a car, I make them where their seat belts.

Back to the topic, getting YouTube Kids on Roku. I know that Google has used its near monopoly of user created video in the form of YouTube to starve competing platforms to Android of content (i.e. their refusal to create or even allow Microsoft to create a YouTube app for Windows Phone). Some would even say their anti-competitive tactics even rise to the level of an antitrust lawsuit. However, be that as it may, it was announced back in July (https://www.blog.google/products/chrome ... e-fire-tv/) that Amazon and Google have worked together to allow Amazon Prime Video on Android TV devices and YouTube, YouTube TV, and YouTube Kids on Amazon Fire devices (with YouTube available immediately and YouTube TV and YouTube Kids "later this year").

I know that Roku doesn't have near the clout or bargaining chips that Amazon does. However, as a consumer that simply wants the apps and content that my children want in the format that I need to allow better parental control, it's hard for me to stay with Roku when other platforms have those content and apps. I'm hoping that Roku can convince Google to release a YouTube Kids app and at least announce as such by the time the YouTube Kids app is released for Fire devices. If not, I'll be forced to re-evaluate the streaming platform that my family uses. I'd be looking at moving to Fire devices or even maybe Android TV using something like the Mi Box S.
 
fluke
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Re: YouTube Kids

Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:34 pm

Yogi76 wrote:
Yes, the YouTube Kids content filter isn't perfect, but you are letting perfect be the enemy of the good. You know what else isn't perfect... seat belts.

Seat belts are the result of a collaborative effort to make things better.  I can check with the NHTSA on what their findings are about the success and failure rates of seat belts.  I can read NHTSA reports about what went wrong when seat belts fail.  There is transparency and multiple vendors involved in the process.

Google has a similar concept.  They are the owners of a website called VirusTotal which is a collaborative effort across some 50+ different third-parties.  You can upload to the site a known malware file and see that not every automated filter catches everything.  However, across 50+ third-parties a great deal gets caught that would slip through the cracks of just any one single virus scanner.

YouTube Kids is a huge regression from the collaborative efforts of seat belts and VirusTotal.  There is no government agency tracking the success or failure rates.  There is also no government agency writing detail reports about what took place when the filter fails.  Google does not even publicly release statics on the failure rate of their automated filter.  So, unlike VirusTotal, you are being asked to entrust a filter from only one single vendor despite proof that automated heuristic filters from a single vendor do not work as well as a multi-vendor solution.  There has been no attempt by Google to provide an API that encourages other third-party filters to get involved in analysis of YouTube Kids.  The system for reporting videos as a third party is strictly manual.


Yogi76 wrote:
Amazon and Google have worked together to allow YouTube Kids on Amazon Fire devices

Fire OS version 6 is mostly just Android version 7.  YouTube Kids for Android TV makes use of some Google Play Services API that don't exist in Fire OS, but that part of the YouTube Kids application can easily be removed.  There is not much effort involved in supporting Fire, Google's fight with Amazon was more about policies to get corporate leverage over the other than anything technical.  Coding YouTube Kids to Roku Brightscript shouldn't be difficult but is still going to be more involved that just taking the existing Android code and stripping out function calls to Play.  I really do hope Roku is able to convince Google that they should be supplying more of their services to Roku.  However, I don't have much faith in Google doing so.

As to the Xiaomi Mi Box S, I would try talking to someone that owns a Xiaomi product first.  My co-worker has one of their phones and the quality just is not that great even against other similarly priced phones.  The battery seems to be warping and damaging a spot on the screen.  Tom's hardware guide Mi Box S review summary is: "There's no compelling reason to get a Xiaomi Mi Box S, due to troublesome issues with its picture quality, sound levels and interface."  If this is just to get YT Kids then the issues in the review might not be a show stopper for you.  If you are looking to use it for more than that, then the Nvidia Shield TV has continued to get the best reviews of any Android TV device (while also being able to retain it's $200 price tag as a result).  Roku and Nvidia have also been providing a much longer update life cycle for their devices.  It isn't clear when Android 9 will ever be available for the Mi Box S while it is already available for the Nvidia Shield.

I also still strongly recommend looking at the large number of Roku channels already available with carefully curated kids content were everything on the channel intended for children was selected manually by a human.  While it is fair to ask that YouTube Kids be added, it may be a while before that request can be acted on.  There is plenty already on Roku which is truly safe for children instead of merely Google sometimes recommends suicide to children level safe.[1][2][3]  [font=-apple-system, Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, sans-serif]There is a 0.0% chance PBS KIds has instructions on how to die.  
[/font]


[1] https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/25/tech/youtube-suicide-videos-trnd/index.html
[2] https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/02/youtube-kids-cartoons-include-tips-for-committing-suicide-docs-warn/
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/02/24/pediatrician-exposes-suicide-tips-children-hidden-videos-youtube-youtube-kids/
 
Yogi76
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Re: YouTube Kids

Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:18 am

@fluke, I see that you conveniently ignored where I discussed the other benefits of the YouTube Kids app, such as better monitoring through allowing Google Family Link "children" accounts and time limits. I would never suggest that any parent rely 100% on any technology, including the YouTube Kids content filter, but should only use technology to help improve traditional parenting techniques such as monitoring their children's activities, talking with them about what they have seen, and limiting their time in certain activities and entertainment. The YouTube Kids app and it's features (yes, including the content filter) are a tool to help parents achieve these.

Yes, the Fire OS is based on Android, so you are correct that it is easier for Google to port their Android apps to Fire devices. However, I still contend that is not the main reason that Google hasn't released YouTube Kids for Roku. I think it's a business decision, much like not allowing a proper YouTube app on Windows Phone was a business decision. As proof, I submit that Google not only didn't create a YouTube app themselves for Windows Phone, which would have taken time and money on their part, they also blocked the YouTube app which Microsoft developed themselves (https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mic ... s-openness), which was developed with no investment from Google. This was a purely anti-competitive move by Google and I believe the same forces withing Google are probably preventing the YouTube Kids app from being released on competing platforms to Android TV. However, sometimes anti-competitive moves work, which is one of the reasons why Windows Phone failed. I would love to be able to stand on principle and refuse to cave to such tactics, but I ended up ditching Windows Phone and I very well could end up ditching Roku.

As far as which device I would buy if I do leave Roku, I will further evaluate the decision then. I agree Nvidia Shield is the best rated Android TV device on the market, but it is also currently cost prohibitive to have on all my TVs. I helped a friend setup a Mi Box S and I was actually pleasantly surprised with its features and functionality. I do agree that its delayed (and possibly missed) availability of updates is problematic. Timely updates is one of the reasons I currently use a Pixel for my Android phone. However, for a television streaming box, as long as it runs the handful of apps that we need, it doesn't bother me as much that it is using an older OS. The apps we want it to have are YouTube TV, Philo, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Plex, ESPN, HBO GO, PBS, Disney NOW, PBS Kids, and, yes, YouTube Kids.
 
fluke
Posts: 121
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Re: YouTube Kids

Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:49 pm

Yogi76 wrote:
@fluke, I see that you conveniently ignored where I discussed the other benefits of the YouTube Kids app, such as better monitoring through allowing Google Family Link "children" accounts and time limits. I would never suggest that any parent rely 100% on any technology, including the YouTube Kids content filter, but should only use technology to help improve traditional parenting techniques such as monitoring their children's activities, talking with them about what they have seen, and limiting their time in certain activities and entertainment. The YouTube Kids app and it's features (yes, including the content filter) are a tool to help parents achieve these.

Yes, I did.  For me YouTube poor response that they now expedite report handling after someone has already been exposed is a show stopper issue.  My position remains that other features of the platform do not justify them failing to provide hard numbers on the percentage of content that gets reported and requires manual action.

But I do see your point that monitoring and tracking are important tools.  I would prefer to see these at the platform level such as Roku OS instead of just an individual app.  Tracking usage seems to be gaining importance not just for children but also adults.  Apple introduced Screen Time to iOS and Google followed with Digital Wellbeing for Android.  I think it would give Roku an competitive edge to have such a feature in Roku OS 10.  Roku should also expand on the concept of "guest mode" to allow enabling multiple user profiles at the Roku OS layer.

Given this isn't a feature Roku provides today, the best I have found for getting these tools at a reasonable price has been Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.  A free year comes bundled with the kids edition version of the Fire tablet which tends to get heavily discounted on Prime day and black friday.  I also strong *NOT* recommend getting the Fire 7 as they cut way too many corners in the design to reach their target price point.  The Fire 8 is the cheapest tablet worth getting.  Also, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited content is manually curated.


Yogi76 wrote:
Yes, the Fire OS is based on Android, so you are correct that it is easier for Google to port their Android apps to Fire devices. However, I still contend that is not the main reason that Google hasn't released YouTube Kids for Roku. I think it's a business decision, much like not allowing a proper YouTube app on Windows Phone was a business decision. As proof, I submit that Google not only didn't create a YouTube app themselves for Windows Phone, which would have taken time and money on their part, they also blocked the YouTube app which Microsoft developed themselves (https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/mic ... s-openness), which was developed with no investment from Google. This was a purely anti-competitive move by Google and I believe the same forces withing Google are probably preventing the YouTube Kids app from being released on competing platforms to Android TV. However, sometimes anti-competitive moves work, which is one of the reasons why Windows Phone failed. I would love to be able to stand on principle and refuse to cave to such tactics, but I ended up ditching Windows Phone and I very well could end up ditching Roku.

Microsoft initially created their own YouTube client which avoiding playing ads and allow downloading videos which was already stated to be a violation of the terms of service.  They had to see push back coming from 1.6 kilometers away!  While I agree with the majority of what Microsoft was saying at the time, I found it ironic to hear complaints of openness coming from Microsoft at the time.  Around the same time Gabe Newell was publicly pointing out that Microsoft Windows 8.0 locked access to games coded in UWP to only running if bought from the Microsoft Appstore thus locking out Valve's Steam from selling the same games.  I believe Microsoft partly addressed this a couple months later but at the time of "The limits of Google's openness" article it seemed the UWP API lock was still in place.

Yogi76 wrote:
As far as which device I would buy if I do leave Roku, I will further evaluate the decision then. I agree Nvidia Shield is the best rated Android TV device on the market, but it is also currently cost prohibitive to have on all my TVs. I helped a friend setup a Mi Box S and I was actually pleasantly surprised with its features and functionality. I do agree that its delayed (and possibly missed) availability of updates is problematic. Timely updates is one of the reasons I currently use a Pixel for my Android phone. However, for a television streaming box, as long as it runs the handful of apps that we need, it doesn't bother me as much that it is using an older OS. The apps we want it to have are YouTube TV, Philo, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Plex, ESPN, HBO GO, PBS, Disney NOW, PBS Kids, and, yes, YouTube Kids.

My biggest problem with investing in any Android TV is Google seems to have made it clear they see Chromecast as a reasonable replacement.  There is even indications that Google Stadia will never work with Android TV.  At some point I envision a day that Google shutdown access to Google Play to Android TV devices because they no longer see it being in their interest to keep maintaining the separate section.  If that ever happens, I also think it will be just a matter of time that an out of date YouTube Kids app that can no longer be updated also stops working.  Google previously promoted cloud services for people to get expensive Google PowerMeter hardware installed and then just shut down those service reducing all the smart meters to being dumb again.  They repeated this methodology with the $300 Revolv hub.  At each Google I/O they keep talking about new services available to improve our daily lives.  Then for the niche group that buys into the spiel, they just take it back away.  
I believe Roku to be much much more committed to providing a channel store to update apps for their media players.
 
Yogi76
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Re: YouTube Kids

Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:28 pm

fluke wrote:
Yes, I did.  For me YouTube poor response that they now expedite report handling after someone has already been exposed is a show stopper issue.  My position remains that other features of the platform do not justify them failing to provide hard numbers on the percentage of content that gets reported and requires manual action.

I just double checked and YouTube Kids does indeed offer an "Approved content only" setting which allows the parents to choose the content that they allow.prior to viewing. "In this setting, your child will only be able to watch videos, channels, and collections that you’ve handpicked." (https://support.google.com/youtubekids/ ... 2308?hl=en).

The long and the short of it is that YouTube Kids is an app that many parents want. Roku doesn't have it and other platforms do or will be getting it soon. Only Google knows the true reason it isn't available for Roku, so anything we say about that is just speculation. Hopefully, Roku can manage to negotiate to get YouTube Kids on their platform in the near future, although I'm not holding my breath.

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