CES: Roku Rounds Up TWC, Fox and Other Partners

Dish’s Blockbuster, PBS, Syfy Also Added to Lineup; Roku Signs Six More CE Deals
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Las Vegas -- Time Warner Cable will deliver 300 channels of live TV through Roku’s Internet streaming media devices to subscribers, one of a cluster of new Roku content partners including Fox’s TV Everywhere service, Dish Network’s Blockbuster, PBS, NBCUniversal’s Syfy and Vevo.

Roku also has added six consumer-electronics manufacturer partners for its set-top-on-a-stick device, which bring its streaming media service to TVs and other CE products.

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For Time Warner Cable, the Roku deal represents the first connected TV deal for its TWC TV service. It’s expected to launch this quarter, available on all Roku 2 players, Roku HD (model 2500R) and Roku LT players as well as the Roku Streaming Stick. The operator’s IPTV service, available to cable TV and Internet customers inside their home, has been available for Apple iOS and Android devices and on PCs and Macs.

“We’re pleased that our customers will soon be able to access TWC TV via Roku,” Mike Angus, Time Warner Cable’s senior vice president and general manager of video, said in a statement. “This agreement will allow our customers to enjoy their Time Warner Cable service through their own Roku box connected to their television set.”

Roku’s new content deals bring it to more than 700 channels of video, music and games available over the Internet. The startup’s other content partners include Netflix, HBO Go, Disney, Fox News Channel, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Pandora, UFC and Walmart’s Vudu.

“When we launched the first Roku player in 2008, it was the very first device to stream Netflix to the TV and offered just that one channel,” Roku general manager of content and services Steve Shannon said. “Today, the content universe is vastly different with many content producers and owners embracing delivery over the Internet and recognizing the broad appeal and strength of the Roku platform.”

Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku, whose investors include News Corp. and BSkyB, has sold nearly 5 million set-top boxes since first introducing them in 2008. Its primary competitor is Apple’s $99 set-top box, which provides access to services including Netflix, YouTube and iTunes.

The Fox Now channel on Roku will be available to subscribers of participating TV distributors later in the first quarter. It will provide all-new full-length episodes of shows including New Girl, Family Guy, Glee and Bones, as well as bonus features and content including behind-the-scenes interviews and episode descriptions. Fox currently has TV Everywhere deals with Dish, Verizon FiOS and Cable One.

PBS will provide more than 1,000 videos, including full-length episodes from American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Masterpiece, Nature, Nova and Secrets of the Dead, while PBS Kids also will feature 1,000-plus videos including episodes of Curious George, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train, Super Why, Wild Kratts and Sesame Street. Both are expected to be available in the U.S. in the first quarter.

Dish’s Blockbuster On Demand, which offers thousands of movies and new releases to rent, is expected to be available in the U.S. in Q1 2013 on Roku.

The Syfy channel on Roku provides access to all episodes of the digital series Riese: Kingdom of Falling and Nuclear Family as well as webisodes, clips and behind-the-scenes videos from shows including Warehouse 13, Being Human and Face Off.

Roku also is adding: Dailymotion, the video website that hosts more than 30 million videos, expected to be available in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Republic of Ireland in Q1 2013; Flingo, which is providing more than 70 new channels, including those for TMZ, A&E, History Channel, Lifetime, Transworld, Warren Miller, Fitness Magazine and CollegeHumor; and Vevo, which features more than 50,000 HD music videos, select live performances and other programming.

Meanwhile, DishWorld -- Roku’s the exclusive International TV content partner to Roku -- recently launched programming in three new East Asian languages: Cantonese, Filipino, and Vietnamese.

On the music front, Roku has added Amazon Cloud Player, which provides access to music purchased from Amazon’s library of more than 22 million audio tracks; Spotify, available with a premium subscription; and Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio radio service with more than 1,500 radio stations (to launch in Q1 2013).

New casual games, available only on Roku 2 XS and the Roku Streaming Stick, include Big Fish Unlimited, Danger Derby and Family Solitaire.

In addition, Roku is announcing six new Roku Ready partners -- Coby Electronics; Harman Kardon; Hisense; TCL; Voxx Accessories; and Westinghouse Digital -- that are introducing CE products compatible with the $100 Roku Streaming Stick, a flash-drive-sized Wi-Fi device.

Those join existing Roku Ready partners: 3M; Element Electronics; Haier America; Hitachi America; Best Buy’s Insignia brand; Oppo; Sumar International, and TMAX Digital (Apex Digital TVs). According to Roku, most consumers keep their TVs for six to eight years; the Roku Streaming Stick provides new Internet-connected features without requiring a brand-new TV.

Roku players start at $49.99 and the Roku Streaming Stick is $99.99. Both can be purchased from Roku.com as well as from major retailers. The Roku Streaming Stick is also bundled with some products including the 3M Streaming Projector and select smart TVs.