Roku to open its Netflix set-top box

Roku is once again talking up plans to open its Netflix-only set-top box to other online video providers. Talking at the Streaming Media West conference, Roku CEO Anthony Wood was quoted as saying:

“We’re going to release the software developer kit [SDK], so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs.”

Of course, just releasing an official SDK won’t lead to the Internet TV set-top box nirvana that we, and Roku, are seeking. For that to happen, Netflix’s competitors will need to be persuaded that it’s worth their while to actually build something using Roku’s SDK, otherwise poular services such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer or YouTube, for example, may never make it onto the set-top box.

As Dave Zatz advises: Roku needs to “continue working the phones” in order to build the kind of partnerships that will lead to more quality content. Because its content that will ultimately lead to more hardware sales, which is of course where Roku makes its money. “There’s a much larger audience of potential Hulu and YouTube viewers than there are Netflix subscribers”, notes Zatz.

One potential sticking point: Earlier this year Netflix made a small investment in Roku, which could make things awkward as Roku attempts to woo competing content partners.


last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Roku to open its Netflix set-top box”

  1. Nate says:

    Roku is a nice addition for users who want easy access to Netflix movies with the click of a remote. But when the gadgets and gizmos start piling up, you will notice your media center is starting to get way too cluttered. Xbox360 has plugin support despite being forced to have to utilize Windows Vista to get Netflix.

    I just found out a few days ago that Netflix support is finally available for PS3 users.

    I was able to contact the CTO of the company to get some thoughts on the general direction that PlayOn will be taking. I believe they have corned a niche market for PS3 users by having Hulu and Netflix support. They are looking to expand into other parts of the video streaming market which would put it in there with the likes of Tversity, Twonkymedia, and Medialink. But none of those programs offer Netflix support.

    So if you are a PS3 user, and feel left out of this Netflix hype, your dream has finally come true.

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