Roku — a manufacturer of low-cost video streaming boxes — has raised $60 million in a funding round led by Fidelity, according to TechCrunch, and these guys are friggin’ serious about bringing “smart TVs” into every home in America. The company will be adding to their dinky little hardware line — which Apple TV currently outsells by more than 2 to 1 — by creating streaming software which can be used with a variety of smart televisions.
The company has already recruited hardware developers to use the software through its “Roku Ready” program, with Coby Eelctronics, Harman Kardon, Hisense Electronic and Westinghouse Digital among the companies to sign up so far. You probably haven’t heard of any of the preceding companies, but therein lies the market. Roku will help smaller “smart TV” manufacturers compete with the big guys, like Sony and Samsung, who can develop their own streaming software.
Also in the world of TV disruption: Barry Diller said at a D11 Conference earlier today that his goal for his Aereo streaming service isn’t to steal broadcasters’ signals — as accused by CBS Chairman Les Moonves — but to move television to an “open video distribution platform” online. Roku’s new software could be potentially be a competitor of Aereo’s ‘over-the-air’ streaming for web-enabled devices. However, a rising tide could raise all ships, and more disruption in general could push people to buy Roku’s hardware.
Either way, Barry Diller’s smilin’.