For years, Roku has been known for its streaming boxes and sticks, but that’s slowly changing as the company invests more in streaming services. It started with The Roku Channel, and now that’s growing into something more.
The Roku Channel, which originally offered access to free, ad-supported movies and shows through Roku devices, broke out of the box and into the browser in August of last year. Roku has apparently seen success with this model because now that’s expanding in a big way.
First off, you’ll now be able to access The Roku Channel on both iOS and Android devices, dramatically increasing the channel’s availability and usefulness. All the same content will be along for the ride without cost—you just need a Roku account.
What’s more, the company announced this morning that it would also start offering access to premium subscription channels like HBO as part of The Roku Channel. That means users will be able to add multiple services to their Roku account, pay them all on one bill, and watch them all in one place—this rivals what Amazon does as part of its Prime Video package, or services like Sling have been doing for years.
The biggest difference here is that The Roku Channel doesn’t require any sort of subscription in the first place. Amazon requires Prime membership before it offers any add-on streaming service, and TV providers like Sling naturally require users to be signed up for their service in the first place. As far as I can tell, Roku is the first service to bundle premium subscriptions into an otherwise free app.
This is clearly a power move by the company and a smart one at that. Loads of users already access content on The Roku Channel—some of which I’m sure don’t have access to any other streaming service—and this will make it easy for them to bundle extra services.
The Roku Channel is available today on iOS and Android devices as part of the Roku app, with premium subscriptions making their way out starting later this month.
via The Roku Blog