Roku will add support for the DIAL protocol to its devices in the near future, CEO Anthony Wood announced at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco Wednesday. Adding DIAL will allow Roku to offer some Chromecast-like functionality, including expanded second-screen support for Netflix. Wood didn’t offer an exact timeline for the integration of DIAL, but I’ve heard that it is coming to the company’s devices very soon.
DIAL is a multiscreen protocol that was jointly developed by Netflix and YouTube and that has been quickly gaining industry-wide support. Google’s own Chromecast streaming stick is based in part on DIAL, and consumer electronics manufacturers like Sony, Vizio, LG, Panasonic and most recently TiVo have started to add DIAL to their devices as well.
Despite announcing support for DIAL, Wood said that he remained skeptical about the extent to which multiscreen controls are being used by consumers. Taking a stab at Chromecast, he said that for most people, the mobile device isn’t the primary remote control. “That’s the mode that some people will use… but most people will not use it all of the time,” he said.
He added that Chromecast primarily got a lot of attention because of the $35 price tag and the fact that it is made by Google. “We don’t expect these kinds of devices to be in the market for long” as standalone solutions, Wood quipped.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that Google is Roku’s primary competitor in the television space as his company is looking to strike deals with consumer electronics makers to embed Roku’s platform into TV sets. Wood described getting on TVs as the next big step for his company.
“Our goal over time is to be the operating system for televisions,” he said.