Roku Debuts Streamer, Adds TWC App
LR Cable News Analysis Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading 3/6/2013
Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.
Roku Inc. is having a busy week as the video streaming specialist introduces its next-generation device, a revamped, more fluid user interface, and the debut of an app that provides access to more than 300 live TV channels from Time Warner Cable Inc.'s lineup. The $99, 1080p-capable Roku 3 features a speedier processor and access to more than 750 "channels" (applications), including old standbys such as Netflix Inc., Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and HBO GO. Among other new additions, the Roku 3 also features a remote control with a built-in headphone jack for "private listening." And Roku 3 owners won't be the only ones to get the new UI; it will also become available next month to the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku XS and the Roku Streaming Stick. Roku is selling the new box via its own website, Amazon.com and other online retailers, and will hit brick-and-mortar outlets in April. (See Roku Tunes in TW Cable's Live TV Streams .)
The Roku 3, complete with earbuds, sells for $99
Roku CEO Anthony Wood noted at last week's National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) Winter Educational Conference in Las Vegas that Roku has sold more than 5 million units so far and streamed 1 billion hours of video in 2012.
Shameless plug: Roku GM of Content & Services Steve Shannon will offer more details about the company's cable partnership strategy on March 19 at The Cable Center in Denver during Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen IP Strategies event.
RCN Corp. VP of Engineering and Operational Jason Nealis announced on the DSL Reports message board that the competitive cable overbuilder has soft-launched the TiVo Stream, a video transcoding unit that lets users share recorded and live TV with iOS devices (Android support is on deck). He noted that RCN will offer the Stream, which must be paired with the TiVo Premiere Q quad-tuner DVR/gateway, for $4.95 per month. Suddenlink Communications also leases out the TiVo Stream. (See Suddenlink Activates TiVo Stream.)
Cisco Systems Inc. had a couple of deals to share with the Cable Congress 2013 crowd in London. Telenet of Belgium will deploy the Cisco/NDS Videoscape Snowflake user interface to power its multi-screen Yelo TV service. Norway's GET, meanwhile, will tap into the Videoscape Unity delivery platform to transport its TV service, including live and on-demand video, to a range of connected devices. The platform includes a Cisco gateway/set-top and the MediaHighway middleware, with plans to integrate the Snowflake UI later on.
GET's multi-screen platform will also feature a Harmonic Inc. headend, led off by the vendor's ProStream 1000 transcoding system and ProMedia video processing and encoding platform.
More moves are underway at Charter Communications Inc. as the operator settles into its new digs in Stamford, Conn., under the Tom Rutledge regime. Alex Dudley, late of TW Cable, will join Charter as SVP of communications on March 18. Richard Dykhouse, meanwhile, has been promoted to EVP, general counsel and corporate secretary. (See Charter Makes Its Move.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
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