The digital media platform Roku will soon launch a subscription streaming service, allowing consumers to be more streamlined with their home viewing experience. However, there’s one major exception in the new lineup of channels.
Founded in 2002 by Anthony Wood, Roku is the billionaire’s sixth company, with the name coming from the Japanese word for “six.” In 2008, Roku introduced its first generation video streaming box, which included access to the popular subscription service Netflix - now a staple of modern streaming. By 2011, Roku released the second generation of streaming boxes while incorporating a search function for Netflix, HBO, and Amazon. Today, many Roku users are likely most familiar with the sixth generation of boxes that introduced the Roku Streaming Stick and Roku Express. Last September, the seventh generation was released, just in time for a brand new wave of high quality streaming content from all the major platforms.
Per Variety, Roku will introduce a subscription streaming service later this month. Previously, users could access platforms like Showtime, Epix, and Starz by installing the respective apps. Now, however, the experience will be even more integrated. In 2017, the Roku Channel debuted, giving users free access to movie and TV content from studios such as Lionsgate, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The new subscription service will be an extension of the Roku Channel, with a major perk being that payments can be more easily streamlined. Also, the new model establishes a standalone service for Epix, which can now be accessed without a separate pay TV account. As the Variety report notes, Roku’s new approach is similar to that of Amazon’s channel format.
While the new Roku subscription streaming service will include access to popular platforms like Showtime and Starz, users will have to access HBO the old-fashioned way - through a regular app installation. Roku’s programming vice president Rob Holmes didn’t comment on the absence of HBO, which will soon premiere the eighth and final season of the wildly popular fantasy drama series Game of Thrones. However the brand’s continuous development suggests that it won’t be long until a deal is made. During Roku’s last business quarter, the platform reportedly reached $100 million for the first time, marking yet another big leap as consumers look for more convenient ways to click and stream.
For many people, just remembering various subscription passwords can be challenging, certainly for older consumers who are most comfortable with traditional access to movies and TV. But in 2019, a Roku box makes the experience much easier, at least if first-timers can survive the set-up process.