Roku Plans Video Streaming to Non-Roku Devices, Says Report
Is Roku about to make the leap from a hardware company to a software company? A report in Variety says the leading set-top box maker has plans to stream video to third-party devices. According to unnamed sources, the Roku mobile app, which currently only works as a remote for Roku hardware, will soon gain the ability to stream online content. Naturally, the first supported channel will be Roku's own Roku Channel, which debuted in September and offers ad-supported movies and TV shows.
Roku's move from a hardware business to one supported by services has been underway for years, starting with Roku licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers. The Roku Channel launch gives it a way to sell ads on premium content. With connected TV interfaces getting easier to use and cable boxes regularly including online streaming options, it makes sense for Roku to look for a path away from hardware.
Speaking of licensing, today Roku announced the first 4K UHD HDR hybrid over-the-air streaming player for its Roku Powered partners, with Telstra the first to adopt the device. Essentially a white label Roku Ultra, the box will be available to Telstra customers later this month. On Tuesday, Roku announced that Globe Telecom of the Philippines has licensed the Roku OS for an upcoming version of the Globe Streamwatch player, due to launch next month. Globe will offer Roku Streaming Stick devices to its customers. In its recent IPO filings, Roku said it gets 41 percent of its revenue from its platform business.
Arriving in late October, Roku's speakers offer simple setup and two remotes. But what about the whole home licensing program the company recently announced?
The ad-supported Roku Channel will gain live news feeds in May, as well private listening support for up to four devices per account.
Not content with owning the living room, Roku wants to link smart speakers and soundbars in a home entertainment network.
The leading STB maker quietly drops two models from its hardware line while pushing its devices to support more than just streamed content.
Roku boxes have taken the lead with consumers and the company seems well-poised for an IPO, but financial disclosures show the company has never turned a profit.
Roku and Amazon have had a successful year and increased their share of the U.S. broadband market, while Apple and Google have lost ground.
Ahead of a rumored IPO, Roku is warning those who add private channels to their accounts, and may be banning services with pirated content.
As broadcasters launch OTT apps, they're attracting massive audiences and changing the economics of streaming. Look for targeted ad tech to come to OTT.