Whoever said that the Internet was just a luxury definitely didn’t see this global crisis coming. Sent and forced to stay at home to protect their lives, people have become almost completely dependent on the Internet to do work they were told could never be done at home. They also need the Internet to distract them from their urge to run out of their doors. Numerous companies and streaming services have already voiced their support for this period of quarantine and Roku, naturally, won’t be left behind.
One of the oldest names in that market, Roku was already offering digital media players even before video streaming became the hot thing it is today. Now it is using that clout to get its premium partners and content distributors to join its “Home Together” initiative aimed at keeping 100 million people at home informed and entertained.
In a nutshell, it means that is offering a few normally premium channels and shows for free at least for 30 days. Consider it a 30-day free trial period for shows like SHOWTIME, EPIX, and History Vault (also available on other offerings from Verizon and Comcast, for example). Others are only marked with “extended free trials” like CBS All-Access for 30 days or NBA League Pass until April 22.
Roku includes a wide variety of content ranging from entertaining grownups to entertaining kids, including Disney+, which isn’t part of any discount other than the original free trial. It does have free content available which users will see on a new “Home Together” row in the Roku Channel.
While these initiatives are definitely timely, they might also be too quick in trying to take advantage of the situation. In Europe, streaming services are already throttling the quality of their videos because of the danger of straining the region’s Internet system too much while YouTube and Netflix are applying the restrictions worldwide. Hopefully, these companies will also be more aware not just of the needs of the people at home but also of all Internet users.