CES 2013: Roku beefs up portfolio of hardware, content provider partners

Roku might be the most befriended connected TV platform out there with the absurdly big portfolio of partners it now has.


LAS VEGAS -- While some of us still wait for a more comprehensive and content-heavy platform for standalone Internet-connected TVs, Roku continues to get better on its own.

Announced amid the start of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, the little-black-box-that-could now supports more than 700 channels, which Roku boasted is "more made-for-TV entertainment than any other streaming device."

Just a few of the new television channels bringing their programming to Roku includes Fox, PBS, and SyFy. Furthermore, Roku has signed on a number of content providers with huge catalogs of their own, such as Blockbuster On Demand, Dailymotion, and Flingo.

Roku also highlighted in a separate announcement that it has inked a deal with Time Warner Cable to bring TWC TV service to the lineup. Roku asserted that this marks the first time that "TWC TV is available for streaming on a consumer device connected to a television."

Roku is also beefing up its gaming and music offerings -- most notably channels added for Amazon Cloud Player and Spotify as both of those services continue to add support for as many devices as possible.

Access to the new content on Roku will vary by region, with some channels such as DISHWorld rolling out in the United States immediately but iHeartRadio expected to become available at a later date in Q1.

On the hardware side, Roku is turning the spotlight towards its Streaming Stick for the duration of CES 2013.

To recall, the Roku Streaming Stick is essentially supposed to serve as a Roku set-top box -- but without the cords and (obviously) the need for a separate remote. However, it costs a bit more and only a few devices support it yet.

Thus, a wider partnership net is absolutely necessary for this device to have any chance at success.

To get the ball rolling this year, Roku has announced six new partners now supporting the Streaming Stick. They consist of Coby Electronics, Harman Kardon, Hisense Electric, TCL, Voxx, and Westinghouse Digital. Existing partners include Hitachi and 3M, among others.

Roku said that several of its partners will be introducing new smart TVs and other devices supporting the Roku Streaming Stick during the world's largest consumer technology expo this week.

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