Last week I had a chance to talk to Roku CEO Anthony Wood about his company, the DVR in the age of streaming, the company’s new Streaming Stick, and when, if at all, Roku boxes will finally get an official YouTube channel.
The last question about YouTube brought an interesting response from Wood. He indicated that the reason that YouTube is not on Roku players is that the Google HTML implementation would tax the current generation processors too much and that he and his team don’t want a suboptimal experience on their devices. He then went on to suggest that he didn’t think that YouTube on Roku was far away.
Another interesting part of the conversation centered on the company’s new Streaming Stick, which Wood suggests is the first step toward pushing Roku technology into the embedded-TV business. Wood recognizes that discrete boxes such as his will ultimately become a smaller part of the overall streaming installed base, and his company is actively pursuing more of this business, including working with connected-TV manufacturers.
My feeling is that these platform providers have to pursue the embedded business. While connected-TV connection rates are not nearly as high as discrete boxes’ (after all, not every consumer buys a connected TV for the connectivity), it is increasing. That trend is something that Roku, and others like Boxee, are looking to get ahead of.