In shift to content distribution, Roku may stream to third-party devices

Enlarge / Roku Express main menu. Just like in other Roku units.

A report from Variety suggests Roku’s shift from hardware to software is moving quickly. While Roku isn’t looking to abandon hardware entirely, the report claims the company is looking to stream content to third-party devices as well. The first phase of this plan will likely take place on mobile devices, possibly through Roku’s existing app.

Currently, the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS acts as a remote for existing Roku devices. You can’t use the app fully unless you have a Roku device connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your mobile device. However, the company could expand the features of the mobile app to include streaming TV and movie content from its ad-supported channels. Roku recently launched The Roku Channel, a cultivated channel full of movies provided by studios Roku has existing deals with. Currently, movies from Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Brothers are free to watch on The Roku Channel with advertisements playing throughout.

Roku will likely launch more channels like this in the future, most featuring ad-supported content. At the company’s recent IPO, it stated it would focus more on selling advertisements and distributing content in the future. Getting that content into more devices, those that aren’t made by Roku, seems to be the next big step in that plan.

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