Roku today announced a new initiative for a “hybrid set-top box” that combines linear TV channels with the world of streaming and apps. Like other Roku boxes and TVs, it is built on the Roku OS. The first partner is Sky UK.
Roku box for linear TV & streaming
Roku has been selling its popular streaming media boxes for several years now, and recently launched an initiative to integrate its operating system, Roku OS, into Smart TVs. The next step is a hybrid set-top box for TV operators.
The new box is built on the Roku OS and will allow users to combine linear TV channels with streaming services. It will also offer access to apps such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube.
- “With the new Roku Powered hybrid set top box we are enabling operators to bridge the gap between linear broadcast and streaming TV services,” said Andrew Ferrone, vice president pay TV at Roku. “Many consumers have a hybrid viewing pattern and leverage both traditional broadcast and on demand or catch-up services.”
Roku, not TV operators, will be responsible for providing software updates. In many ways the box is Roku as you know it with the added possibility of watching TV channels. However, Roku will allow operators to customize the home screen in some way, enabling them to “surface content directly on the home screen or give recommendations to their customers”.
Sky UK is first partner
Sky UK will be the first partner to launch a box based on Roku’s new initiative with the “Now TV Smart Box“. It is rumored to support 4K but none of the parties openly talk about. Sky’s box will be available “later this year”.
The “Roku Powered” program is available for operators in the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Australia, and we should probably expect to see more partners announced in the near future.