Media

Roku raises $60M to battle Xbox One, Apple TV, & others vying for the living room

Set-top box maker Roku has just closed a $60 million round of funding, the company announced today during AllThingD’s D11 event.

Roku’s line of streaming devices, which range in price from $50 to $100, have proved quite popular, selling over 5 million units. Roku’s platform has hundreds of applications for third-party services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Vevo, Spotify, Amazon Prime, and many more. More recently it began adding apps for broadcast networks like PBS as well as an app for cable TV provider Time Warner Cable. (Personally, I prefer the Roku to the majority of streaming media boxes out there.)

But the number of streaming device competitors is only growing, as will competition from the likes of Microsoft, which just announced its new Xbox One entertainment console that could change the way you watch TV. And while pretty boring, the Apple TV streaming box is also a main contender, having sold 13 million devices according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Yet Roku’s new capital should allow the company to remain competitive while branching out beyond its set-top boxes.

Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood told AllThingD that the company wants to forge new partnerships that will make Roku’s platform the default operating system for smart TVs. And unlike Google’s attempt at making this happen with its integrated Google TV smart televisions, Roku actually has the popularity among consumers to make a Roku-powered TV set much more appealing.

The new funding was led by Fidelity, with participation from media companies Hearst Corp., BSkyB, and News Corp. Roku has now raised a total of $130 million in funding to date.