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.