The Roku set-top box is closely associated with Netflix, but during a speech at Streaming Media West this morning, company CEO Anthony Wood said that it will open up the little box to any content provider over the next few months. Wired reports:
“We’re opening up the platform to anyone who wants to put their video service on this box,” says Wood. “We’re going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs.”
This news isn’t surprising. The company has spoken before about adding additional partners to its content offerings. The more content available through the box, the more attractive the device’s $99 price tag.
The question becomes how users will navigate through their options if a lot of companies jump on the Roku bandwagon. Right now, the only option for users is Netflix, so it will be interesting to see how Roku creates an experience that is simple enough for its minimally-buttoned remote.
This also sets up the battle of the li’l $99 boxes between Roku and Verismo box (which looks like it has changed its name from the PoD to the VuNow), which partnered with VTap to allow users to search and access web video.
Wood told Contentinople after his talk that Roku owners are clamoring for HD, a feat that will be tricky to pull off, considering current bandwidth limitations. But earlier this month, the company told us that codecs are getting better as bit rates are dropping, so the quality will continue to improve.