Roku Goes YouTubing

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Roku is filling a big gap in its video streaming lineup with the launch of a YouTube channel, though initial access is limited to its Roku 3 player, with promises that support will be extended to additional Roku models next year.

The YouTube channel on the Roku 3 is now offered in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, Roku VP of content acquisition Ed Lee announced Tuesday via the corporate blog.

And, based on the comments there, some users are a bit steamed that the initial rollout isn't across the board, to which Roku responded that the model is its “fastest and most powerful streaming player and as such, from time to time, it will receive new content and features before other players in our line-up.” So, people who have older models (like me) just need to cool their heels.

As for Roku’s implementation, it supports YouTube’s HD fare and supports a “Send to TV” feature that lets users fire up YouTube videos to the device using a smartphone or tablet.

And it’s a good deal for YouTube, as Roku gives it a big screen option for its growing lineup of subscription OTT video channels, which, at last check, is at 93 strong.

Roku has not broken down how many consumers have purchased the new Roku 3 model. In April, Roku announced it had shipped 5 million Roku units in the U.S., but has yet to update that figure. But the Consumer Electronics Show is right around the corner...