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Roku Wants To Start Streaming To Third-Party Devices (variety.com) 25

According to Variety, Roku is looking to start streaming videos on devices made or controlled by competitors like Apple and Google. The company's first foray into streaming on third-party hardware will likely involve mobile devices. From the report: The move could further accelerate Roku's efforts to transition from a hardware-revenue-based to a services-based business model -- a transition that has been in progress for years. Now, it plans to also stream some content on devices that don't run its operating system, with mobile being a likely first step. Key to Roku's expansion into mobile video is going to be the company's existing mobile app, which has already been downloaded tens of millions of times on iOS and Android. The app's current primary function is remote control, as it allows owners of Roku streaming devices and Roku-powered TVs to control these devices directly from their phones. In fact, the app can't currently be operated if there is not a Roku device available on the same Wifi network. This could change soon, as Roku is looking to integrate video playback directly into its mobile app. A first step is likely going to be the integration of the Roku Channel, an ad-supported channel that the company launched last month. The Roku Channel currently offers free, ad-supported access to several hundred movies from major studios like Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. as well as smaller publishers like American Classics, Fandor, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. However, Roku has been asking publishers to also grant the company the rights to stream their titles on mobile devices, according to a source familiar with these stipulations.
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Roku Wants To Start Streaming To Third-Party Devices

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  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @02:53AM (#55435099)
    Since when does Roku stream? Roku provides a client device that streams from services other than Roku.

    The be part of someone elses device, Roku has to add some value or it will ultimately fail.
    • Roku has its own Roku channel which shows movies and TV shows, and has done so now for at least a few months. They've been advertising it heavily on their screensaver. Which, come to think of it, feels like a really odd sentence to write.
    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      I checked the streaming channels that could be added to my Roku last week, and there was a new channel called "The Roku Channel". I wonder if this is part of the plan, or just something else. The channel in question is like most of the other free movie channel options (TubiTV, Crackle, Vudu free, etc.) even having many of the same movies I've seen on the others in recent months.

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      They have their own streaming software that runs on their Roku boxes and provide an interface to all the streams that the box is taking. Presumably they are looking to turn that into a service like Netflix.

      I can see why you might not have noticed it. My wife likes to use it for her HGTV shows, but I never used it after the first day. I just install the streaming software for each service/channel I want on the main page, and surf to them from there.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      If I could get everything available to Roku to cast to my Chromecast, that'd be value enough.

      Amazon and Google being pissy at each other is preventing this.

  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Thursday October 26, 2017 @03:53AM (#55435205)
    IMO Roku makes the best hardware box specifically because they have no significant streaming service, so it's in their best interest to ensure it works well (or at least acceptably) with all the streaming services that matter.

    I can see why Roku themselves might want to ruin it all (for their customers) by becoming a big streaming player, which they could leverage to get onto other platforms and stop doing all that hard work of making their own good hardware (Hell, maybe even sabotage Rokus for competing services or stop supporting them). But in the long run wouldn't that inevitably devalue their most valuable business segment (hardware), and probably leave them in a much worse position as "just another streaming service" on platforms owned by someone else (Google/Apple/etc.)?

    P.S. When I set up my Roku 3, it demanded I give it a pointless Roku user/pass and credit card number. There's an alternate activation URL that bypasses the CC# requirement, but you'd only learn it if you were pissed off enough to call Roku tech support (or simply google for it, as I did). So at the moment Roku's ambitions are merely a temporary annoyance, but that sounds likely to change for the worse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "The move could further accelerate Roku's efforts to transition from a hardware-revenue-based to a services-based business model -- a transition that has been in progress for years."
      The Razor Blade/Heroin Model. (Note that both were invented at about the same time.)

      I don't lease, I don't stream, I don't subscribe, except for the most basic of Basic Internet. I buy something, it's mine. But that's just me. I no longer have a damn Credit Card.
      "The Roku Channel currently offers free, ad-supported access to..."

    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      I've added and removed my credit card from my Roku account multiple times in the last few years.

    • This x 1000. This is primary the reason why I don't recommend a Fire Stick, Chromecast, or Apple TV to any of my customers - this is why it works with almost everything. The UI and remote is the other.

    • IMO Roku makes the best hardware box specifically because they have no significant streaming service, so it's in their best interest to ensure it works well (or at least acceptably) with all the streaming services that matter.

      Absolutely agree. Other than an Intel Compute Stick [intel.com] and Kodi [kodi.tv], the Roku is the better/best option as it's cheaper, works really well, comes with a remote and a great interface, and doesn't require your credit card number for roping you into one preferred source of content. Bonus, it is friendly to lots of paid content if you want it, like Sling or HBO. And as the Roku platform becomes more popular, there's more incentive for Roku apps to work well (as opposed, unfortunately, to Kodi apps which are often h

      • by kalpol ( 714519 )
        The only real value of the Roku to me is the remote with the headphone jack. This is pretty ingenious and is the reason I haven't switched to the Raspberry Pi I have running Kodi on the other input with wireless mouse/remote/keyboard/thing. I would have to customize the remote to have the keys work consistently and get some kind of bluetooth headphone setup working to compare to the ease of the Roku.
    • it demanded I give it a pointless Roku user/pass and credit card number.

      The username/password is kinda useful, it allows you to have several boxes and sync them, and means you can use the website to browse channels, which is much more comfortable than the TV UI.

      The credit card... yeah, that's ridiculous. Technically it's optional, there's a way to activate it without it using a hidden webpage, so I never gave them a card. They shouldn't be asking for one at all.

    • IMO Roku makes the best hardware box specifically because they have no significant streaming service, so it's in their best interest to ensure it works well (or at least acceptably) with all the streaming services that matter.

      Nvidia shield tv is way better than Roku.

      Plus, if you live outside of the USA, NVidias support is literally infinitely better than Roku (because Roku doesn't provide any support outside the USA and NVidias support for consumers is enterprise-grade).

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Yeah, I hate these account requirements. Netgear does it too for its security hardware products. :(

  • Once Roku decided that they were disabling 3rd party stream channels, the Roku devices because useless.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/16/roku-cracks-down-on-private-channels/

  • How will it work Gesture Lock Screen [uniqsofts.com]

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