Positions Itself as Apple Store For Content Owners with Upcoming SDK
Roku looks to rid the Netflix Player typecast unveiling Roku Channel Store, bringing your HDTV web videos, music, and photos. This signifies a major step towards Roku competing with other set-top-box (STB) manufacturers in the ever crowding space to deliver digital content the last ten feet, from HDTV display to consumer’s eyeballs.
Roku’s set-top boxes, which already allow Amazon Video On Demand and Netflix customers to play digitally delivered movie and TV titles on their TV sets, will distribute content from 10 new providers, including Web-TV site Blip.tv, photo-sharing sites such as Flckr and Internet-audio service Pandora.
This marks the first new content source since Roku added MLB.com back in August. Clearly Roku has been busy all this time. First was the introduction of two new models, one adding wireless capability to the original HD version and a value SD-only version. Suddenly the Roku-SD makes a lot more sense, and ideal if you only have a low-speed internet connection or will limit yourself to stream Flickr and Facebook photos with it, for example.
And Roku doesn’t plan on stopping with the current line-up. Fancying itself a store front for any and all content owners, Roku plans on providing the community with tools to build channels on their own, similar to Apple’s iPhone model.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood said the Channel Store strategy “will open new customer-acquisition avenues” with a wider array of content offerings. “Because we have created an open platform for development, customers can expect even more new content channels in the near future,” he added.
The company in the next six weeks will publish a Web-based software development kit (SDK) for any content provider to create a Roku “channel,” according to director of corporate communications Brian Jaquet. He said there isn’t a fee to add a channel to the Roku service but added that the company reserves the right to approve all channels (the way Apple does for its App Store).
Today, Roku provides a combination of free and premium channels. The Premium list, while not as extensive as some would like, looks the same as it has since the summer:
Add to that the new Roku Channel Store and family of devices at modest price points. What started out as a simple STB for streaming Netflix, met that goal and is now a balanced product line meeting most needs of any Home Theater or multi-room environment.
And in six weeks, the content delivery platform is opened up to the online community. Six weeks is very close to CES. Content aggregator Boxee is set to unveil its new STB and hardware partner at CES. Wouldn’t it be funny if Roku’s Channel Store SDK came from Boxee?
In the meantime, here’s a video from new Roku Channel Store partner Revision3’s archive. Happy viewing.
Tags: Amazon Video on Demand, Apple, Blip.tv, Boxee, Channel Store, Facebook, Flickr, HDTV, Home Theater, Internet, Internet music, Internet radio, Movie, Movies, Netflix, OTT, Pandora, photo, photos, Premium Content, Roku