Roku’s streaming boxes are going to be available to consumers in Germany next year — albeit with slightly different branding than in the U.S.: Roku’s devices will be sold by local pay TV operator Sky Deutschland under the name Sky Online TV Box, both companies announced Thursday.
Sky wants to use the boxes to give people access to its Sky Online service, which launched this week as competitor to Netflix’s German service. Sky Online offers German consumers access to TV shows like the Walking Dead, True Detective and Game of Thrones, as well as movies and even live sports, including games from the Bundesliga soccer league.
Sky Online doesn’t require users to have a pay TV subscription, and includes different tiers, with prices starting at €10 a month (about $12.60). As of now, the service is only available on PCs and mobile devices, as well as on Apple TV via Airplay. However, Sky plans to add it to smart TVs and also make it available through the Sky-branded Roku box next year.
Roku had been eyeing Germany for some time. In mid-2012, it began to localize its website and the actual Roku device firmware in German, but the company never actually followed through on officially entering the German market. Asked about plans to go retail under the Roku brand in Germany, a spokesperson only told me that the company is “not making any product announcements at this time.”
Partnering with Sky Deutschland, whose parent company is an investor in Roku, is an obvious choice for the company: Sky launched a Now TV-branded Roku box in the U.K. a little over a year ago, and Roku revcently announced that it wants to pursue similar white-label relationships with additional pay TV providers.