WealthTV Picks Level 3 For Streaming To Roku Set-Tops


Level 3 Communications will deliver the live feed of WealthTV's specialty lifestyle channel over the Internet to Roku's Internet set-top boxes -- and not incidentally, both Level 3 and WealthTV have been foes of Comcast.

Last fall, Netflix picked Level 3 as one of its primary content delivery networks. As a result, Level 3 requested significant more capacity to Comcast's network.

The MSO responded that, like other CDNs, it would need to pay for the asymmetric traffic load. That led Level 3 to charge that Comcast is violating network neutrality rules by setting up a "toll booth" to deliver content to consumers.

WealthTV, meanwhile, previously filed a program carriage complaint against Comcast and other big MSOs, but a Federal Communications Commission administrative law judge ruled WealthTV did not demonstrate any of them had discriminated against it. Last year, WealthTV also filed a petition asking the FCC to block Comcast's deal for NBC Universal.

WealthTV, by working with Level 3 to stream its content to connected devices, "is able to expand its audience by offering a viable alternative to consumers otherwise unable to receive WealthTV via their cable provider," the companies said in a statement.

Roku last week announced a deal to offer WealthTV to users for $2.99 per month.

The amount of traffic generated by Roku users who bite on the WealthTV a la carte subscription offer certainly will not be anywhere near what Level 3 delivers on behalf of Netflix. According to one estimate, Netflix accounts for more than 20% of bandwidth usage during peak times in the U.S.

Roku has sold more than 1 million boxes and now offers more than 135 channels of streaming content.

Through its CDN services unit, Level 3 will deliver WealthTV's content to Roku users in high-definition using HTTP adaptive-bit-rate streaming. WealthTV also is using Level 3's token authentication and geo-intelligence to ensure the protection of content rights holders and delivery to authorized regions.

"When we looked at our options for live, broadcast-quality content delivery, Level 3's depth of experience and technical expertise in delivering high-quality, 24/7 content over the Internet were major differentiating factors," WealthTV president Charles Herring said in a statement. "Level 3 ramped up our streaming quickly and efficiently, allowing us to better reach viewers when, where and how they choose."