Roku looks outside the box as funds are pushed towards TV integration

Roku is a high-selling little set top box that brings a variety of content platforms, such as Netflix and Vudu, to its users' televisions, giving them smart TV-like functionality sans actually being a smart TV. On April 10, Roku announced that it had sold 5 million players, and now the company's CEO has spoken with The Hollywood Reporter, sharing his vision of the company's future.

In the future, we could be seeing Roku-branded televisions, according to a statement made by Anthony Wood, Roku's CEO. "We see a huge opportunity to be an operating system for televisions and that's what we're focused on right now." Roku is reportedly in talks with more than 24 OEMs for certifying its device/software for TVs.

One particular area of focus is the Streaming Stick, which is a device about the size of your standard thumb drive that can be plugged into a TV. By the end of 2013, Roku expects to see 3.5 million "devices" that are Roku-certified, though it didn't go into any more detail about those devices. In addition to that, Roku also wants to see its software integrated in TV sets.

The company is said to be in talks with "about two dozen" television makers, looking at having the software built into the devices at some point in the future, although such plans weren't included in the end-of-2013 timeline it specified for having Roku-certified devices on the market. Although not all the brands were listed, the majority are said to be so-called "house brands," such as Best Buy's Insignia.

The idea behind such a business shift is two-fold: on one hand, companies will benefit from having the Roku branding on a television – in theory, at least – and perhaps especially by offering a television that has the software integrated into the set, no secondary device necessary. And by more heavily pushing its software, Roku will spread its proliferation. The company has received a $60 million investment from several companies, which is going towards this goal.

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter