How would you fancy a sub-$100 set-top box that plays all manner of Web video on your home television? That is exactly what Roku is aiming to do with its (former) Netflix player.
Roku Netflix Player
The Roku Netflix player, a cheap set-top box that enables owners to stream movies and TV content from Netflix to their home TV, was launched in May 2008 to a mixed response.
The First Of Many Netflix Partners
While the Roku box has some problems, particularly its lack of HD options, it’s still a good addition to the set-top box line-up that, through its cheap price point, brings the technology to the masses.
Roku was the first Netflix-partnered box to come to market, but since then, the video download company has added many new partners. These include the Xbox 360 and a new LG Blu-ray/streaming hybrid player we looked at in July.
Expanding The Content
Clearly, Roku cannot limit itself to being purely a box for Netflix to hawk its wares, and so there have been rumblings of an increase in the amount of content soon to be available through the Roku set-top box.
In July, Roku’s vice president of consumer products, Tim Twerdahl, hinted that new partners were on the way, but didn’t drop any names. Rumours suggested Amazon, YouTube, and Hulu were amongst the partners being sought. Then the lead went cold.
Roku Founder Lays Out Plans
Until this week when Roku founder and CEO, Anthony Wood, told a packed audience at the Streaming Media West conference all about his companies plans to expand onwards and upwards.
Wired reports that Wood announced:
“We’re opening up the platform to anyone who wants to put their video service on this box,”
“We’re going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs.”
Wood, speaking during his keynote to the conference, refused to give a time line for this new strategy, but he did state that the company wouldn’t be changing its business model (making money from the hardware), or altering its relationship with Netflix.
This is brilliant news for existing Roku owners as well as mainstream consumers who are looking in to buying an Internet streaming set-top box.
It will be interesting to see which content providers Roku can now sign up, with the three companies already mentioned surely the natural primary targets.
- Roku Netflix Player Review
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