Netflix box by Roku to get more content providers
Released several months ago as a part of Netflix's increasing emphasis on all-digital content delivery, the Netflix set top box by Roku will soon be streaming content from other providers.
Roku's set-top box definitely hit a sweet spot with consumers, at no additional fee to Netflix Ultimate subscribers other than the $99 cost of the hardware, Roku reportedly sold out of its initial shipment of devices in just three weeks. Though the Roku box delivers sub-DVD picture quality, and only 10% of the Netflix catalog is available for streaming, its popularity appears to follow a common theme in consumer electronics: If a device is cheap enough, people will be willing to sacrifice quality.
However, the low price tag won't be the only thing enticing customers. Vice president of consumer products at Roku Tim Twerdahl recently disclosed that the Roku box will soon support "major content providers" other than Netflix, something none of the other streaming set-top boxes can yet offer. Competing services AppleTV and Vudu still offer content through only a single source.
Forbes cites the size of Netflix's streaming library as "the major hurdle" for the Roku device. Fortunately, this sort of hurdle can be cleared easily with consumer patience, especially with additional content support.
And as far as a shallow pool of content is a problem, it is nothing like the problem D-Link faced with its DivX Connected platform. That particular set top box allows a user to stream full HD DivX and Xvid content from his computer to his TV, and originally offered streaming HD downloads. In its European launch, the device featured a prominent partnership with Stage6, an HD content delivery service which is now heralded as one of the greatest defunct Web sites in recent history. DivX Connected just celebrated its official launch in the US without Stage6, its only content provider. A full BetaNews review of that product will be coming soon.
Though Roku has not yet elucidated who the other providers will be, it is worth noting that certain aspects of the Roku Netflix player's software fall under the open source General Public License (GPL).