Business

Roku adds 10 new free content channels for its set-top video players

Roku offers a trio of set-top boxes that can download movies and TV shows from the web and show them on your TV. Now the company is adding 10 new free content channels to its service.

You can use a Roku box with a Netflix subscription or the Amazon Video on Demand service to watch movies or TV shows on your TV. You connect a Roku box to both your TV and the web. Then you can cruise through the Netflix catalog and watch movies instantly as they stream via Wi-Fi or Ethernet to your TV set.

Now Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku is adding access to these sites: Blip.tv, Facebook Photos, Flickr, FrameChannel, Mediafly, MobileTribe, Motionbox, Pandora, Revision3 and TWiT. The sites cover everything from Internet audio to video podcasts to professional web content and photo sharing. You can access all of the sites on the TV using the Roku Channel Store. The aim is the give consumers more choice and control over their Roku player experience, said Anthony Wood, chief executive and founder of Roku.

Roku has opened up its channel store to developers who can add their own content channels in the future. Consumers can access the store by creating a Roku account, which lets them manage their channels and personalize their entertainment options. Roku customers can add or delete channels as they wish, and they can browse through new channels as developers create them.

Roku’s three players are the Roku SD, the Roku HD, and the Roku HD-XR. All are compatible with the Roku Channel Store. The store will be delivered to all existing Roku customers in the next two weeks. The company, founded in 2002, launched its first box in May 2008 and updated the models in October. The Roku SD sells for $80.

Roku has 50 employees. It competes with Apple TV, Vudu, Tivo, and connected Blu-ray movie players, not to mention cable TV services. The company’s investors include Wood, Netflix and Menlo Ventures. The company says it has sold hundreds of thousands of units.


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