Roku at CES 2013: TWC TV app and Streaming Stick Uptick
It’s been a good year for Roku, which is officially the first OTT player to get the TWC TV channel. This allows Time Warner Cable subscribers to view around 300 live channels and program their DVR from a Roku, and could clearly pave the way for Roku and other devices working as additional PayTV sources in the home.
Naturally, the next question is: When do we get an Xfinity TV app on Roku? Yes, Comcast, we’re looking at you.
In other news, Roku signed on a whole lot of new TV manufacturers to package its Streaming Stick with their 2013 Smart TVs.
In case you missed it, the Roku Streaming Stick is the size of a USB thumb drive and has all the capabilities (and channels) of the other Roku players. Many are Chinese manufacturers, looking to jump into the smart TV market. By bundling the Roku Streaming Stick with their devices, they can get around developing a proprietary smart TV platform (and frankly, offer a much better experience in the process.)
The Roku Streaming Stick is sold on its own too, however unlike other Roku devices the Streaming Stick won’t work with all HDTVs – only those with MHL-compatible HDMI ports.
MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) is a new industry standard for connecting mobile devices to HD displays — in essence the technology allows the mobile device to receive a charge while playing audio or video through the display. We saw a handful of TVs at last year’s CES touting MHL, but compared to HDMI, it’s still a very small subset of digital HDTVs that use it.
As we saw at this year’s CES, many new TVs are adopting the MHL standard. But it remains to be seen how fast these MHL-capable TVs gain market share (or don’t.) People who purchased HD TVs within the last 5 years might not be in a hurry to replace them. And though virtually everything at CES is billed as a “game changer” (is anyone else sick of that phrase yet?) it’s unlikely that MHL or massively expensive 4K displays will inspire the same adoption rate that we saw with HDTVs.
So it’s a good thing Roku is still in the business of making its little hockey puck-shaped streaming players, too.