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Roku lands $45M in funding, plans hardware, media expansion

The maker of content streaming devices has raised $45 million from News Corp, BSkyB and others.

Roku, the maker of a popular player for streaming Web content to TV sets, has closed a new round of funding.

The company has landed a $45 million investment from companies including News Corp. and British Sky Broadcasting, it announced today.

Set-top box maker Roku has closed a round of Series E funding. Roku

Also participating in the round were prior Roku venture investors Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, as well as an unnamed strategic investor. In addition to the cash injection, News Corp's chief digital officer, Jon Miller, has joined the Roku board of directors, while Roku CEO Anthony Wood remains chairman.

"Our philosophy is to give consumers the best streaming TV experience, with the most content and at the best value in the market; and it has served us well as millions of consumers have brought Roku into their homes," said Wood. "With the News Corporation and Sky strategic relationships, we are poised to further grow our leadership position and to become the TV distribution platform of the future."

Roku will use the funding to promote brand awareness, launch new advertising campaigns and enter new markets. It also plans to increase engineering and production to support the growth of both its hardware and the digital media services available on the Roku platform, including advertising, games, transactional and pay-per-view video, and content.

The company is set to release the Roku Streaming Stick this fall. The wireless, dongle-sized steaming device will be compatible with the latest television sets and consumer electronics, according to Roku, and will be the first step in breaking away from simply producing steaming players, and into connecting its platform to smart TVs and related hardware.

Wood told Venturebeat:

We've had two great quarters this year. Toward the beginning of the year, we passed 3 million boxes sold. Q1 and Q2, we beat our internal budgets quite handily. The streaming stick will start to ship this December.

Earlier this year, Roku and Dish Network announced a partnership to bring satellite TV international shows to Roku customers without the need to purchase a dish. Users have the option of signing up for the DishWorld service for $19.99 per month.