Roku

Chris Nuttall

Two Silicon Valley companies delivering thousands of entertainment channels over the internet have announced significant funding rounds and milestones for their services.

Roku, whose set-top box delivers more than 700 channels of movies, TV, music, radio and web content, has received $60m in a Series F round, while TuneIn, which gives access to more than 70,000 radio stations, has bagged $25m in Series C funding. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Small, square, sub-$100 black boxes dominate streaming internet-television devices in the US, in the shape of Apple TV and Roku’s LT, XS, XD and HD boxes.

There’s no shame then in Western Digital imitating this successful formula in launching today the WD TV Play - the latest variation of its WD TV lineup of content-streaming set-top boxes. Read more

Chris Nuttall

We pick our highlights of the product unveilings, bringing you the essential news from the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas (January 6 -11).

What it is: Roku has added six new TV partners that will use its streaming stick with their sets and announced new content, bringing its internet-streaming offering to more than 700 channels.

Key points: Coby Electronics, Harman Kardon, HiSense, TCL, Voxx and Westinghouse join eight other “Roku-ready” partners that will integrate its streaming service through the stick that fits in an MHL-enabled HDMI port. Fourteen new channel apps are being announced including Blockbuster on Demand movies and live TV channels Fox Now and Time Warner Cable TV, the latter offering up to 300 live TV channels Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku has announced pricing and availability for its Streaming Stick device that plugs into an HDTV to serve on-demand channels over the internet, without the need for a separate Roku set-top box.

The stick, about the size of a packet of chewing gum, will be available in the US in October for $100. It plugs into an HDMI port that is enabled for MHL technology – many new TVs and other devices are beginning to feature such ports – and does not need a separate power supply. Simple.TV followed up on Thursday with its own shipping announcement for its Broadcast TV -streaming box. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku and Vizio are the battling underdogs of the US TV industry, surviving and even prospering against bigger players thanks to their aggressive pricing strategies and rapid innovations.

Roku’s set-top box for streaming internet content has held its own against Apple TV, while Vizio has duelled effectively with Samsung over TV sales leadership. Now Roku has earned fresh legitimacy with a $45m investment led by News Corporation and its part-owned broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku, which shares more than 90 per cent of the US market for internet media player set-top boxes with Apple TV, according to estimates, has come up with a model half the price of its bigger rival and is adding HBO Go as a channel.

Roku set a benchmark price of $100 for its original box that was later matched by Apple and others, but its newest model - the LT – announced on Tuesday, costs $50. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Western Digital this week made its WD TV Live internet media player more competitive with the likes of Apple TV, Roku and the Logitech Revue, adding more hardware features, new content channels including the Spotify music service and pitching it at a lower price.

This category of small set-top boxes seems up against it compared to the more integrated efforts of internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles, but they keep fighting back with lower prices, improved interfaces and imaginative additions to their services. Read more

Roku, a tiny company next to its Silicon Valley neighbour Apple, has had to move fast to stay ahead and survive in the face of Apple TV – a set-top box that was revamped last year to challenge its own established product.

Where Roku had led with Netflix streaming and other internet content channels, competitors followed, and this makes the Roku 2, just announced, an interesting product in terms of showing where Apple and Roku’s other bigger rivals are likely to go in future.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku, a tiny company next to its Silicon Valley neighbour Apple, has had to move fast to stay ahead and survive in the face of Apple TV – a set-top box that was revamped last year to challenge Roku’s own established product.

Where Roku had led with Netflix streaming and other internet content channels, competitors followed, and this makes the Roku 2, just announced, an interesting product in terms of showing where Apple and Roku’s other bigger rivals are likely to go in future. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The second-generation Apple TV looks like being a bigger hit than the original, judging by a report that it is selling out across the US.

I tested Apple TV and compared it with the Roku XDS and a Western Digital media player in this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. There are also earlier separate reviews of Apple TV, the Roku box and WD TV Live Plus HD on this blog. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku is a feisty and fleet-footed Silicon Valley company that has been running ahead of a flood of internet-connected devices threatening to engulf its tiny set-top box.

With its new lineup just launched, Roku stays out in front on price and content and gets in just ahead of its biggest challenger to date – Apple TV, which is due to go on sale by the end of the month. Read more

Paul Taylor

With Google TV coming to screens near you in the autumn, internet-enabled television is set to attract a lot  of eyeballs.

For those that cannot wait for the Google/Sony/Logitech/Intel product, there are already plenty of set-top box options for streaming movies and adding internet content channels to your TV. We explore some of these in the Personal Technology column in Friday’s Business Life section of the FT. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Seagate Technology and Western Digital are two Californian companies that dominate the global hard drive market and are in constant, close competition with one another.

Western Digital overtook Seagate in the first three months of 2010 in hard drive shipments for the very first time on a quarterly basis, according to a recent iSuppli report. On Wednesday, it unveiled its latest attempt to challenge it in the media player category, with the WD TV Live Plus HD. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku added a mixed martial arts channel to its lineup on MondayWith Google, Intel, Logitech and Sony expected to announce a new internet TV platform on Thursday at Google’s annual developer conference, the latest View from the Valley column in the FT’s Digital Business section looks at how companies are fighting over the keys to the digital home:

“You can seal up the letterbox and lock all the doors, but it won’t help you resist the next digital revolution invading your home. Technology companies, retailers, content makers and service providers are fighting over the digital keys to the house, but their mode of entry will be subtle and largely invisible to the consumer.” Read more

Chris Nuttall

Pure, the market leader in internet radios in the UK, has just announced its British invasion of the US will begin with the launch of three models on July 1.

The subsidiary of chipmaker Imagination Technologies, in which Apple and Intel have a combined 27 per cent stake, gave me the US version of its Evoke Flow model to try out and its performance and features suggest Pure can give established players Logitech, Roku, Livio and Grace a run for their money in America. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Internet content will be arriving on televisions in a multitude of ways at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with the Popbox getting out ahead of the field as a smarter than average set-top box.

Announced today by Syabas, maker of thePopcorn Hour  streaming device for enthusiasts, the Popbox has more mainstream appeal in its looks and features and introduces the concept of internet apps for the TV. Read more

Chris Nuttall

With streaming Netflix movies now available on TV screens through the Xbox, PlayStation 3, Tivo, several Blu-ray players and LG HDTVs, the little Roku set-top box, which became one of the first Netflix streamers 18 months ago, is in need of some differentiation.

That came today with the launch of 10 free channels on the box, which sells for as little as $80.
Pandora radio, Facebook and Flickr photos, FrameChannel feeds, MobileTribe social networking and video from Blip.TV, Mediafly, Motionbox, Revision 3 and TWiT make up the lineup.

(This review was first published on November 23 2009) Read more

Chris Nuttall

Another day, another internet box bringing content to the television.

A day after Roku announced it was adding Amazon’s Video on Demand to its $99 box, another Silicon Valley company, ZillionTV,  has unveiled its own device and content partners including the big five Hollywood studios.

(This post was first published on March 5 2009) Read more

Chris Nuttall

Despite being invited, there was no one from the cable industry represented on the TV of Tomorrow Show’s Over The Top panel this week – probably because they were outside guarding their lunch, which the panelists seemed bent on eating.

Over The Top refers to a new range of internet-based entertainment and information services being fed into televisions that vault over the top of services being provided by the established cable and satellite players in the US. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Amazon has found itself another route to the television and Roku another use for its set-top box under a partnership announced today.

The internet retailer has been exploring ways to widen access to its Video on Demand service beyond the computer and has already made it available through Tivo digital video recorders and Sony Bravia TVs. Read more