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Roku is one of the best-known names in the increasingly crowded streaming business. The company has flourished in recent years, selling hundreds of thousands of set-top boxes and enjoying 220% year-over-year unit shipment increases. Home Media Magazine recently sat down with Roku’s founder and president, Anthony Wood, for a discussion on Roku’s past, current business and where he thinks video streaming is heading. Here are some highlights:

Wood on how Roku plans to remain competitive in the streaming market
“When we released our first box, it cost $115 with shipping and had one channel, and that was Netflix movie streaming in standard-definition. Then we added, via free software updates to our customers, Netflix in high-def, Amazon VOD in HD, and now a channel store with about 15 [free and premium] channels.

What’s going to happen in the next couple of years is more of that, and we expect to have hundreds of content channels by the end of this year. The trend in our industry is that hardware prices continue to drop and content becomes key. Content per dollar spent is becoming very important to us.”

Wood on the evolution of Roku’s business model
“We are pretty clear about our business model, putting together a complete solution and making sure all the pieces [hardware and software] work well together. . . We sell many hundreds of thousands of units. So our model works well for us. It’s a little bit like Apple in a sense that it’s an open app store. So we are moving up the value chain from being just a reseller of boxes to being more like a virtual MSO [multiservice operator]. That’s how we see our business evolving.”

Wood on the probability of Hollywood new releases becoming available on Roku’s devices
“Five years from now you will be able to get everything you can get on the Internet plus everything you can get on cable and satellite through Internet-connected TV devices. [Pay-per-view, video-on-demand  and ad-supported content] will be available over the Internet over devices such as ours. Today we have subscription, pay-per-view and ad-supported free content. We just don’t have or Hulu. I can’t say when we will have [network] content [and if it will] be just through Hulu or individual channels. Free ad-supported TV is a big part of the market, and their online channels are going to come at some point.”

Wood on the future of 3D TV
“DirecTV first introduced HD content in 1997. Then three years ago they went from one HD channel to a bunch of HD channels. And now it is really mainstream. So if you look at HD adoption as an example, it took a really long time. And I think 3D could have the same timeline. But it will come — there will be 3D movies released later this year on Blu-ray Disc, and ESPN announced a 3D channel. It’s definitely coming. It just reminds me of the early days of HD.”

[via Home Media Magazine]

7 Responses to “Roku Founder: We will have Hundreds of Channels by End of 2010”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Drew [visitor]


  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Drew [visitor]

    I’m interested to see what the future does hold for 3D TV. Do the insiders think that it will be embraced or will it fall by the wayside?

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Paul [visitor]

    What’s different about 3D-TV is that manufacturers are banking on the fact that consumers actually want 3D-TV and I don’t think that is correct. Consumers always drive demand and so far they have been ho-hum on 3D TVs.

    I’ve also heard that the movie companies are pushing manufacturers to make 3D TVs because it is a technology that is immune to piracy. Personally, I think they are foolish if they really believe that pirates won’t figure out a way to illegally copy 3D content. If there’s a will there’s a way.

    Personally, I’m more excited about some of the other features coming such as wifi, apps, streaming, OLED, etc.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    Do anyone have any new codes for atl, ga none of them works :-(

  5. Member [Join Now]

    With the new TVs being released with internet widgets it won’t be long before you won’t need a Roku box to stream what you want off the internet.