Roku Surpasses Apple TV as Most-Used Streaming Set Top Box

Roku-3According to a new report from Parks Associates, Roku has taken the lead as the most popular streaming video device in the US. Further, Parks Associates also showed the number of U.S. broadband households with streaming media device has doubled since 2011.

The group put out a report called Connected TV: Trends and Innovation (report for purchase). In this report, they found that 37% of households with a streaming media device use Roku – as opposed to 24% that use Apple TV.

Parks Associates expect the number of connected TV devices to reach 330 million by 2017. With newer, easier to use devices like ChromeCast entering into the market – along with Apple’s rumored upcoming updated Apple TV on September 10th, this number could grow a lot faster. Adding in 4K or Ulta-TV devices with simple app support that get people introduced to streaming media could spark the market even more.

“Roku customers are passionate about streaming, and we are delighted that independent research shows that we are the most popular streaming platform measured by usage on a U.S. household basis,” said Anthony Wood, Founder and CEO, Roku.

Roku’s newest version – the Roku 3 – is a media streaming device and small game console with programs like Angry Birds, Galaga and Pac Man. You can use the remote with Bluetooth headphones for privacy viewing or pull out your iOS or Android device to control the set top box.

This brings a true fight for the TV’s HDMI port.

Video Podcasts Behaving Like TV?

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Roku

One of the downsides to Internet-based video content is that generally each new program being played back must be initiated by the user. This isn’t much of a problem if one is watching a full-length movie or television show via Netflix or Amazon Streaming. However, if one is watching short-form content like video podcasts such as “Film Riot” then watching a bunch of episodes in a row tends to be a bit more of a pain since each one must be started playing depending on the playback platform.

I discovered an interesting trick that the Roku is capable of using the free iTunes podcast database app that can be added from the Roku store on your Roku. The app connects with the iTunes podcast database and will display both video and audio podcasts. Select an episode and it will begin to play. If you select an older episode, either video or audio, it will play that episode and then automatically play all episodess that follow it in the correct order.

This is a very useful feature say if you want to catch up with several weeks’ worth of video podcasts. Each podcast plays automatically in the proper order. It is almost like being able to turn video podcast streaming into more of a conventional television viewing experience.

Roku unveils new box and interface

roku 3This morning Roku unveiled its brand new Roku 3 box. This is the first update to the Roku lineup in some time and there are quite a few changes with the Roku 3. The announcement calls it the “fastest, most powerful streaming player to-date”.

The new box, according to Roku’s Jim Funk, is five times faster than previous versions. The new Roku 3 also comes with an all new user interface, as Funk explains — “In the spirit of simplicity, the new Roku interface features a streamlined layout to provide quicker access and greater visibility – especially if you have many channels installed. The Roku Channel Store and Search are now fully integrated into the home screen, and both have been redesigned with our new on-screen experience”.

The new device also comes with a slightly revamped remote control. The remote has a headphone jack and includes a set of earbuds. When these are plugged in, the box automatically switches the audio to the headphones and mutes your speakers, allowing you to move around while listening to your music and also do so without disturbing other household members.

The box also comes with Angry Birds installed and the new remote control is motion sensitive to make for better gaming. There are also dual-band ethernet and USB ports as well.

The Roku 3 is available for $99 starting today. The new interface will begin rolling out to Roku boxes in April.

Roku Streaming Stick

Roku Streaming Stick Roku  the maker of digital streaming boxes has released a new model the Roku Streaming Stick. The Roku Streaming Stick is the size of a large USB stick. It provides all the content that is on the full-size Roku, including over 700 music and video channels and games. The Roku Streaming Stick works with TVs that have a MHL(Multiple High-Definition}input. The MHL input powers the Roku so there is no need for a power cable. It also passes the remote control signal from the TV to the Roku stick so you can control the Roku with your TV remote.

Roku is working with about 14 TV manufactures including Hinsense, Sony, LG, Samsung, Toshiba and more. All the TV manufacturers that the Roku Streaming Stick works with are a part of the MHL Consortium. New TVs that are Roku Stick ready will have a sticker on them that say Roku Ready. If you have an older TV you can check the inputs, a MHL input will be purple and have the MHL label below it. A MHL port will also work as a HDMI port.

To use of Roku Stick you simply plug it in. It is WiFi ready so it will recognize your Wi-Fi network once you sign into that and then your Roku account you will be ready to go. The Roku Stick streams up to 1080P HD video. The Roku Streaming stick is $99, and is available through the Roku Website, Amazon and various big box outlets.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Roku spends #CES2013 looking back and moving forward

Roku appeared at CES with a two-pronged attack. First it released a few figures from 2012 and and then the company made some announcements about 2013.

Looking back, Roku announced that on Black Friday 2012 the company’s sales equaled “one Roku player every second!” It also stated that sales in the fourth quarter were up 40 percent over the same period in 2011, that it has reached almost five million boxes sold and streamed one billion hours in 2012.

As for 2013, Roku unveiled that it has now surpassed 700 channels. “We’ve also inked deals with more than a dozen new partners including TWC TV, Blockbuster On Demand, FOX NOWPBSPBS KIDS,iHeartRadio and Big Fish Unlimited to name a few. These new video, music and casual games channels are launching in the Roku Channel Store this quarter.”

The company also announced six new Roku Ready partners who are using the “Roku Streaming Stick to add an integrated streaming experience to their new Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, digital antennas, and audio receivers.”

That is all good news for current Roku owners and the future looks bright for having even more people moving to the platform. One thing not mentioned was new boxes, but the lineup is still pretty fresh so that is likely a few months away. Boxes retail for $49.99 to $99.99.

Play on Roku app for iPhone, Android updated

Roku introduced its mobile app for iPhone and Android a while back, allowing owners of the handy little set top boxes to stream pictures and music from their smartphone to the entertainment device. Customers can also use the app to browse and add channels and control their devices with a remote control feature.

Now the company has rolled out an update to its mobile apps that adds even more functionality. According to Roku’s Tom Markworth this update “adds music shuffle and repeat options for Play on Roku.” He went on to elaborate that “You can now create on-the-fly playlists of your favorite artists with the “All Songs” view on the artist screen. Additionally, we fixed several bugs related to music and photo playback on Play on Roku in both versions of the app.”

If you have either a Roku 2, Roku LT or theRoku HD player then uou can get the iOS version here and the Android version here. The new app is version 2.1. If you already had it installed then you should get the update automatically.

GNC-2012-04-09 #756 Best Tech Show on Earth!

Back in Hawaii for two shows, headed to the NAB Show this coming Friday will likely be a crazy schedule once the show starts. Lots of moving parts, but as always great tech coming your way from the best tech show on earth. ;)

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GNC-2012-03-12 #749 Silicon Valley Road Show

Had a great first day here in Silicon Valley. Had some really good meeting plus one additional meeting here at the hotel that really could open up distribution of this shows and those of our content creators at RawVoice.

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GNC-2012-02-23 #744 Listen and Win!

Unexpected Trip to Washington DC next week. I get back to Hawaii on Thursday, will make a decision on Monday show in next day or so. Listen today to get your name in the hat for the show 750 giveaway.

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The Roku Streaming Stick & Channel Update

Roku I am a big fan of Roku. I currently have version one of the Roku 2 XS which I love and version 2 is even smaller. However both have the problem of being separate boxes which means more wires to run to the TV and another power cord to plug-in. Roku has an answer to this problem the Roku Streaming Stick. Ed from Roku showed off the product at CES 2012

The stick is a little larger then a regular USB stick and plugs directly into a HDMI port. It is Roku’s answer to smart TV. It has the same chip and ram as the Roku 2 XS with the same great performance. It is based on the MHL standard. The one problem I see is that for this to work the TV has to be MHL capable, which I suspect many TVs especially with the lower price models are not.

This may confuse consumers, Roku needs to make it clear which TVs this will work with or what to look for It will come with a motion control remote that has WiFi built-in. The remote control will have power and control out. The Roku Streaming Stick can also be controlled by the TV remote.

Roku Streaming Stick

The Roku currently has 400 plus channels. The channels are organized in the store by categories, including favorites, religion, sports, movies and more. Among the channels available in the Roku store are TPN.TV and the Blubrry Network. Roku is continuing to update the channel store, to improve its interface and usability. The Roku is currently in over 2 1/2 million households and is still growing. The Roku Streaming Stick should be available in fall of 2012 and run between $50 and $100 depending on model.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast network

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