While you can access Netflix movies and Major League Baseball video from your Roku box, you can’t get the expansive content catalogs of a cable-TV provider. Today, Roku and video-delivery startup Clearleap announced a partnership to bring cable video-on-demand content to Roku boxes by the end of this year.
Roku is a set-top box that allows you to play Web video content on your television, so anything you can stream on a PC, you can also watch on that big flat-screen in your living room. Clearleap allows cable, satellite, and telephone companies with video services to deliver content to Roku boxes.
At least in theory: Clearleap and Roku haven’t announced any actual deals with traditional video providers. If and when they materialize, users will download an app. And here’s the really interesting part: Users will be able to pay for the content on their current cable or satellite bills.
This is a big win for Roku, with increased content options making their product more enticing to consumers, especially the 20 million American homes that don’t have cable video on-demand services but do have high-speed Internet.
The sector is ripe for a technological overhaul, according to Clearleap CEO Braxton Jarratt.
“[Cable and satellite companies] are using a technology that’s 10 to 15 years old and require two to four times more bandwidth than current technology (to deliver video on demand services),” he explained.
Clearleap’s infrastructure will allow cable companies and telecoms to deliver and charge for on-demand content without additional capital expenditure.
The company’s technology allows providers to customize each box’s access to content. This gives the providers more leeway as they strike new licensing deals with content producers.
It will also allow them to eventually outsource set-top box development to companies like Roku and Boxee, as well as companies using Google TV. Jarratt claimed Clearleap would be announcing multiple partnerships in the near future.
Clearleap is also in the process of raising a second institutional round of funding to support the company’s expansion. Jarratt confirmed to VentureBeat that Clearleap had already secured the participation of current investors Trinity Ventures and Noro-Moseley Partners. The company is looking for an outside investor to complete the round.