Roku's latest channel goes live, literally, with Livestream

Roku has long had live elements among its hundreds of channels, but a new one from Livestream injects the set-top box with its first dedicated wholly to at-that-moment events.

Livestream makes its entry on televisions with a Roku channel, bringing the set-top box its array of producer-created live sports, news, Web chats, red carpets, and concerts. Livestream
Roku's long roster of channels is getting a jolt of live content.

The set-top box maker has added its first all-live-video channel, Livestream, which is designed to let anyone stream live video to the world.

In the online video world, content is bifurcated into live and so-called library.

Library content -- think Netflix as the biggest example -- has long been the easier hill for companies to climb. With the ability to plan, tailor, and manicure content ahead of its debut, purveyors of video libraries have the time to make online distribution watchable. The challenge there is largely in getting the most popular content for the most people.

Live video has long been a trickier proposition, as it must work toward the same content-quality goals while also battling a more challenging technological one: bringing high-definition video -- especially difficult on an unforgiving screen like an HD television -- at an adaptive bitrate that won't look like a pixelated mess on 50-inch plasma.

Roku has had live elements in a smattering of its hundreds of channels, such as the MLS Live channel for soccer games or live church services through StreamingChurch.tv.

Livestream will bring those same kinds of live events and others -- presidential debates, Grammy red carpets, high school football games, citizen journalists streaming live footage of protests -- to one place on Roku, without a subscription.

Plus, Livestream brings Roku a base of 30 million monthly viewers.

For Livestream, this is an entry into televisions for the first time. Max Hoat, Livestream's chief executive and co-founder, called this the company's "first entry into the connected TV world, but it's only the beginning." Hoat told CNET that the company is working to launch on Chromecast, Xbox, Playstation, and on down the line over the coming months into next year.

 

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