Roku has been selling inexpensive Internet TV set-top boxes since 2008, when it was only streaming on-demand content from Netflix, and has since diversified its offerings in terms of hardware and content. Reviews and customer response has been mostly positive but its devices have yet to reach mainstream status. You’d think that with Apple and Google making big moves into the segment this year Roku would be taking a big hit, but apparently that’s not the case at all.
According to Roku CEO Anthony Wood, the introduction of the Apple TV has helped raise awareness of the entire market, more likely because of all the attention Apple’s every move gets from the media rather than for the product itself, and at the same time this has helped consumers realize some of Roku’s advantages over its rivals -- such as the ability to play 1080p content with the $100 Roku XDS player from a variety of sources, including Hulu Plus.
Wood points out that Roku will probably have sold its millionth set-top box by the end of the year, cracking $50 million in revenue, and the company expects to top $100 million in sales next year. Amazon is a significant factor in Roku sales, contributing about 25%, with the Roku XD and XDS among the top-selling devices in the site’s electronics category.
Looking forward the executive says next year they’ll continue to push for broader retail distribution, offer more products via licensing deals (such as the new Netgear Roku device), and bring more content to its devices. But competition will only get harder with Apple expected to launch an App Store for Apple TV, Google TV getting some refinements and a bunch of hardware partners, and gaming consoles catching on as an entertainment devices.