Roku wants to stream everyone's content

Maker of the Netflix Player is working to enable its set-top box to stream video from any content provider to consumers' TVs, Roku's CEO says.

Netflix Player by Roku
The Netflix Player by Roku CNET Networks

It's been known for a while that Netflix and Roku's four-month-old relationship isn't exactly a monogamous one . But it looks like Roku is hoping to play the video-streaming field even more than we initially thought.

Roku makes the $100 Netflix Player, which enables customers to stream movies from the Netflix site to their TVs. It's a product that could be a hit, if only Netflix could secure partnerships with more of the major movie houses and seriously beef up its "Watch it Now" library.

But Roku isn't waiting around for Netflix to make those deals.

CEO Anthony Wood told an audience Wednesday at the Streaming Media West conference in San Jose, Calif., that his company is focused on enabling its set-top box to stream video from any content provider, according to Wired.com.

"We're opening up the platform to anyone who wants to put their video service on this box," Wired cites Wood as saying. "We're going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access Web content on their TVs."

Will Netflix feel jilted by the move? Woods says no, that both companies intended to work with others all along.

"They made a small investment in us...and they knew from the beginning that we were interested in working with other (content providers), just like they're interested in partnering with other boxes," he said.

For its part, Netflix announced deals Monday with CBS and the Disney Channel that will allow the movie rental service to stream episodes from current seasons of shows. In July, Microsoft said it would allow Xbox 360 owners with Netflix accounts to stream "Watch Now" movies and TV shows through their game console, without any extra hardware or software.

So who's next, I wonder? Hulu? YouTube? Amazon ? I guess Roku figures if there are lots of fish in the sea, why not swim with them all?

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About the author

Jennifer Guevin is managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages, and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitates toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots, and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.

 

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