News

Full Stream Ahead For Roku CEO Wood

1/03/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Will cable operators
try to kill online
video by eliminating
all-you-can-eat pricing
plans?

Roku CEO Anthony
Wood, for one, isn’t
concerned that broadband-
service providers
will introduce usage-based pricing or
unreasonable bandwidth caps that might
discourage people from buying his company’s
Internet set-tops.

“What we see from a practical point
of view in the marketplace is that there’s
enough competition from cable, telcos
and wireless so that in every market
there’s an unlimited option — and the
price is competitive,” he said in an interview
with Multichannel News.

“We don’t see a future where consumers
will not be able to stream video over
the Internet,” Wood added.

The Federal Communications Commission
in December voted to adopt “network-
neutrality” rules that, while they
prohibit Internet-service providers from
blocking or degrading access to specific
content or applications, leave the door
open for usage-based pricing.

Wood maintained that he doesn’t anticipate
broadband providers moving to
pricing plans that could make it more expensive
for Roku’s users to watch Internet
video. He noted that DVD-quality
streaming video consumes less than 1
Gigabyte per hour.

“Unlimited [broadband] sells,” he said.
“It’s just a good marketing strategy.”

Roku sold the first devices that let Netflix subscribers stream video directly to
their TV sets. The company’s set-tops,
priced between $80 and $100, now offer
access to HD content from more than
100 partners, including Hulu Plus, Major
League Baseball, the National Hockey
League, Amazon and Pandora.

To date, privately held Roku has sold
about 1 million set-tops, with 2010 revenue
of more than $50 million. “Our sales
[for 2010] are probably double last year,
and we expect that to continue next year,”
Wood said.