& cplSiteName &

Roku Sticks It to Google

Mari Silbey
3/5/2014
50%
50%

Although Roku's second-generation streaming stick will not officially launch until April, the company is already taking pre-orders, as it prepares to take on Google's popular Chromecast device.

Ringing in at $50 at retail, the new HDMI adapter from Roku Inc. doesn't beat or even match Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s $35 streaming stick on price. But the new Roku entry does come with a slew of content options that Chromecast can't match, including ESPN, Showtime, and Amazon Instant Video. It also comes with a remote, which means that users can access apps on their TVs without needing a smartphone or tablet nearby.

Retail companies have released a flood of media-streaming boxes over the last few years, but it looks as if 2014 will be the year when streaming sticks take over the market. Aside from Google and Roku, several companies have indicated (or flatly announced) near-term plans to launch their own tiny TV hardware. Plus, MobiTV Inc. has partnered with Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL) to create a white-label HDMI dongle that it says will be deployed by a wireless carrier sometime this year. (See MobiTV Takes Aim at the… TV.)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), meanwhile, has new gear from the acquisition of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s OnCue service that it's readying for launch. At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, & Telecom conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam indicated that the OnCue hardware is closer to the size of a streaming stick than to a traditional set-top. "The set-top box in an OnCue environment is a little bit bigger than the end of my thumb, so it's very easy to tie into the LTE as well as the WiFi network," McAdam said. (See Why Did Verizon Buy OnCue?)

The one area where streaming sticks may not gain ground in 2014 is the cable sector. Despite wanting to spend less on set-tops, cable operators have to deliver more features and better-quality service than most consumers expect to get with over-the-top video. So they're feeling a bit hamstrung right now. (See Can Cable Stick One on Chromecast?)

Even with cable companies sitting on the sidelines, though, the market for HDMI adapters is heating up. Roku and Google are in the lead, but there are more streaming sticks on the way.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/8/2014 | 4:17:59 PM
Google vs. Roku
I was wondering a little about the price difference between Chromecast and Roku's stick, but if you get access to all of Roku's apps vs. what Chromecast has, that's a pretty good deal.
theschnack
50%
50%
theschnack,
User Rank: Moderator
3/6/2014 | 4:50:43 PM
Re: Roku
No doubt.  The Roku 3 was cheap, high-quality audio / video, low-footprint.  I don't understand the push for the stick, other than an easy counter to Chromecast & its perceptions.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 3:58:26 PM
Re: Cable STBs
The division between slim streaming dongles versus full-sized set tob boxes makes me wonder which side Apple will take when it really tackles the living room market. Apple TV suggests they'll stick with a full STB, but maybe they have something else in mind? 

Given Apple's Carplay development, maybe it will partner with cable companies to create a high-end STB experience? That would be my guess, especially because Apple isn't known to target the low end of any market when it introduces a new product.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 3:53:49 PM
Re: Concerned
All four of my HDMI ports on now taken up. 

FOUR HMDI ports.. that's luxury. I only have 2 HMDI inputs on my TV, so I'm going to run into a scarcity problem very soon -- unless I want to invest in some kind of adapter cable for my other TV accessories.

If only Aereo operated in my town... and had a Chromecast app. Maybe someday.. If the courts allow Aereo to continue to exist.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 12:07:55 PM
Re: Roku
These sticks are exactly why Comcast and TWC are merging. People are spending less on cable. There could be a time soon when a younger generation doesn't pay for television in that way.

In order to compete, the cable providers want to merge together in the industry. Plus, Comcast owns a lot more content now that they have NBCUniversal. 
Jessie Morrow
50%
50%
Jessie Morrow,
User Rank: Lightning
3/6/2014 | 11:24:18 AM
Concerned
All four of my HDMI ports on now taken up. What to do when the next greatest dongle rears its head? I see some hard deceisons head and most certainly staking out a plot for a new graveyard for old passe sticks.
TaraSeals
100%
0%
TaraSeals,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 9:12:03 AM
Cable STBs
I think it's no surprise at all that cable's sitting out the OTT hardware and dongle frenzy--basic delivery of video to a television (this is OTT after all, bent on cheaper alternatives to fuller-featured cable boxes and subscriptions) is not their game. I think it's interesting that OTT is getting more streamlined and focused even as cable and satellite experiences are getting fuller--whole-home DVRs (the Genie, the Hopper), cloud-based gateways (Xfinity X1 and X2 for instance) and network-based delivery of services. New competitive battle-lines are being drawn that are different from event three months ago.
KBode
100%
0%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2014 | 7:40:10 AM
Re: Roku
Yes I simply mean using the Aereo app on Roku. The image quality didn't bother me nearly as much as it seems to have bothered other people. Also only a few times ran into any buffering issues, and that's over Wi-Fi. Also found all the channels to be a welcome change; I'm not sure why Microsoft insists they're embracing the next-generation of TV with the Xbox One, yet they faile to provide immense options Roku provides in terms of apps/channels. It's not as if licensing most of them cost Roku much if any money, but the variety is impressive.

In fact my ONLY complaint with Roku has to do with their Netflix app, which only uses Dolby Digital Plus for output. My receiver is from 2008 (ancient history, apparently) and doesn't support DD+. Every other incarnation of the Netflix app (on the Playstation, Xbox, etc.) has no problem sending out 5.1 signal using other standards. Even Amazon's streaming app on the Roku doesn't have that problem. But if I want to watch Netflix on the Roku, I have to watch it in stereo.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/5/2014 | 11:51:57 PM
Re: Roku
I'm curious myself how you combine Roku and Aero. Unless you mean simply using both.

Count me as another happy Roku 3 user. The ability to search for desired programming by title, actor, director, etc. is inspired in its simplicity. It beats drilling down into multiple individual apps to find what you're looking for. Simplicity like that gives cable operators stiff competition from OTT services.
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
3/5/2014 | 9:29:25 PM
Re: Roku
Interesting, Karl. Can you tell us more, especially about the Roku/Aereo combo? Were there any big viewing gaps left? 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Energy 2020: Growing Services, Not Consumption

6|24|16   |   07:18   |   (0) comments


Management of power requirements needs to be a key consideration as cable operators deploy new services, says Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee. In this video, Cooper discusses the importance of cable operators and technology partners ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei & TDC First to Launch DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Europe

6|24|16   |     |   (0) comments


To meet the rising demands for high-speed broadband and to tackle fierce competition for 1.5 million household, TDC wanted to upgrade its network to use the latest technology. Using Huawei's DOCSIS 3.1 solution, TDC is now able to offer gigabit speeds to its customers.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

6|22|16   |   03:28   |   (0) comments


MANO shortfalls, an increasingly bloated open source ecosystem and the cultural challenges for network operators were among the key takeaways from the OPNFV Summit in Berlin.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bringing Ultra Broadband to the South Pacific

6|22|16   |   7:55   |   (0) comments


At Singapore's UBBS 2016 summit, Light Reading speaks to Lim Chee Siong, Huawei's CMO in the South Pacific Region.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper's NFV Platform

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


A telco cloud is a key enabler for service providers to deliver virtualized services to their customers. Juniper has a differentiated approach with an open and comprehensive NFV platform to build the cloud of the future for multiple use cases.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera: The Glass Ceiling's Been Broken

6|22|16   |   4:34   |   (0) comments


Shannon Williams, an engineer by trade and now the director of sales for Infinera's major accounts, draws confidence from being a female in a male-dominated industry and hopes other women will too as industry dynamics swing in our favor.
LRTV Custom TV
RAD Demonstrates SD-WAN Functionality at BCE 2016

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


In conjunction with Versa Networks, RAD demos a joint solution for SD-WAN implementation. The solution uses RAD's ETX-2i, a vCPE platform integrating a powerful IP and Carrier Ethernet NID/NTU with a field-pluggable x86 NFV module that runs Versa's FlexVNF for SD-WAN functionality. The demo implements SD-WAN over a simulated service provider footprint by deploying ...
LRTV Custom TV
Radware on Virtualizing Network Security

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


Radware's Michael O'Malley highlights the benefits for service providers of virtualizing network security.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei 2016 UBBS World Tour: Singapore

6|21|16   |   02:39   |   (0) comments


Highlights from Huawei's UBBS World Tour event in Singapore.
LRTV Custom TV
The FlowBROKER Solution

6|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


During a demo at the Big Communications Event 2016, Accedian director of product line solutions Greg Spear demonstrates how the FlowBROKER distributed packet capture solution (part of Accedian's SkyLIGHT platform) can be used to troubleshoot and resolve QoE issues.

FlowBROKER is the industry's first lossless remote packet capture solution, which uses ...

LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: Dell & the New World Order

6|21|16   |   22:48   |   (0) comments


Dell's Jim Ganthier on how the very essence of enterprise is being affected by digital disruption – and how the cloud can help companies find a path forward.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2016: The CSP of the Future

6|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Traditional telecom operators have been adopting new ways of doing business from the IT sector and emulating web-scale companies in their technology adoption. Are these strategies succeeding? A panel of experts at BCE considered the evidence...
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
FCC to Vote on 5G Spectrum on July 14
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/20/2016
'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/24/2016
Twitter Buys Magic Pony... Not That Kind
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/20/2016
AT&T Settles on LTE for Cellular IoT
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/22/2016
Google Fiber Buys Webpass in Wireless Play
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
At the BCE 2016 show in Austin, ECI Telecom CEO Darryl Edwards tells Light Reading founder and CEO about the Elastic Network concept and the company's NFV and cybersecurity developments.
Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE, sits down with Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York office to discuss the society's Energy 2020 campaign, including its mission to benefit the environment, enable economic benefits and the key challenges facing cable operators wanting to reduce energy consumption.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.