700 channels and counting
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
Roku has no new hardware here at CES 2013, but that’s not stopping the company from building on its success: content, content, content. The company just crossed the 700-channel benchmark for its line of smart TV boxes, and it’s got even more new services on deck for 2013.
Among the new channels that Roku is planning to add (in the territories indicated) in the first quarter of 2013:
- TWC TV: This app adds upwards of 300 live streaming TV channels for existing Time Warner Cable subscribers at no additional charge. (U.S. only)
- Fox Now: This is Fox’s answer to Hulu — full episodes of many Fox network TV shows. Sorry, cable cutters — this is only available to customers who subscribe to a “participating TV provider.” (U.S. only)
- PBS: According to Roku, this new channel will include “hundreds of full-length videos from local PBS stations, including episodes from new programs as well as the PBS archives, with new national and local content updated daily.” (U.S. only)
- PBS Kids: The kid-friendly version of the above, with “more than 1,000 videos” including content such as Curious George and Sesame Street. (U.S. only)
- Blockbuster On Demand: Dish’s pay-per-view movie service — yet another alternative to Amazon, Vudu, and the like. (U.S. only)
- Dailymotion: The YouTube competitor comes to Roku. (U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland)
- iHeartRadio: The ClearChannel audio service will add to Roku’s now-comprehensive audio roster. (U.S. only)
- Flingo: Roku says: “More than 70 new channels, including brands like TMZ, A&E, History Channel, Lifetime, Transworld, Warren Miller, Fitness Magazine, and CollegeHumor. Select channels are available now. New channels will launch every month.” But it’s unclear exactly what content will be available, and how Flingo plays a role.
Those new offerings will join Roku’s already category-leading lineup, which includes Netflix, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Crackle, HBO Go, MLB TV, Pandora, Dish World (live international programming), as well as the recently added Amazon Cloud Player, Spotify, and Vevo channels.
Still notably, frustratingly, curiously absent: YouTube.
Aside from that and Apple’s iTunes, though, Roku has nearly every major video and audio service out there (including, for the record, our own CNET channel).
More Roku Ready hardware partners
Separately, Roku also announced that it’s expanding the list of “Roku Ready” hardware partners — those companies that ship TVs and other AV products that include or are designed to work with the Roku Streaming Stick. Add Coby, Harman Kardon, Hisense, TCL, Voxx (which sells under RCA and other brands), and Westinghouse to the Roku Ready roster. They join 3M — maker of the cool Streaming Projector — Element, Haier America, Hitachi, Insignia, Oppo, and Apex.
Of course, that list leaves out every top tier TV manufacturer — Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Vizio and the like — all of which prefer to build their own smart TV suites and platforms. The irony is that Roku offers a far more extensive content selection than all of them, and it tends to upgrade and expand its offerings more frequently than the mainstream manufacturers.
But competition is amping up — streaming video is arguably the hot topic here at CES 2013. Expect a slew of announcements from the majors in next few days as they pronounce their plans to out-Roku Roku in 2013 and beyond.