Watch Out Netflix, Roku Expands to the Web

Roku, a platform for streaming movies from various apps, is expanding with a free web channel. 

Roku devices are similar to Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, or an Apple TV, all fo which are devices where users can stream TV shows or movies to their televisions using popular apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more. 

“Roku launched this channel on hardware running Roku OS in October 2017 as a first step in offering content of its own after years of positioning itself as a neutral platform through which Amazon, Netflix, and others could offer their content,” writes “Ars Technica.” Roku licensed mostly movies that are more than 10 years old from studios like Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, and the library still has that character for today's Web portal launch: the top-billed items on the homepage are currently the three Matrix films from 1999 and 2003.”

However, Roku’s library of content isn’t impressive compared to its competitors, but it’s price is. 

The Roku channel is free and users only have to watch ads during movies and TV shows. 

The interface is user-friendly and mimics that of Netflix’s functionality. Those who have the Roku device will notice the new “Feature Free” section now on the Roku home screen. The section will make it easy for users to find content. 

”Roku says the section "includes the latest in-season episodes, full past-season catch-ups, and more." This section could highlight content from The Roku Channel, but it will also include shows and films from third-party channels that offer some programming for free, like The CW, Freeform, Crackle, and ABC,” writes “Ars Technica.”

Roku saw 57 percent growth in the second fiscal quarter of this year compared to last year. During this quarter, 22 million accounts were added to the Roku database. 

Netflix actually invested $5.7 million in Roku, but then in 2009 sold its stake for a pretax gain of $1.7 million.

Should Netflix and Hulu now be concerned that a former partner is a competitor?

Read more about Roku’s new channel at “Ars Technica” now.