AfterDawn: Tech news

Roku's Amazon VOD beta fills up quickly

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 06 Feb 2009 10:00

Roku's Amazon VOD beta fills up quickly Less than a year ago very few people had heard of a Saratoga, California company called Roku. Then they released the first ever set-top box to stream movies from Netflix directly to your TV and started a revolution. Since then Netflix has established partnerships to get their client on Blu-ray players, DVRs, game consoles, and even HDTVs. You might think all this competition spells trouble for a product like the Roku box that "only" plays video. Based on the overwhelming interest in Roku's Amazon VOD beta shows, you'd probably be wrong.
Shortly after they started accepting requests to join the beta for Amazon VOD on the Roku Digital Video Player all their slots were filled. And why not? If you already have the Roku box and use it for Netflix why wouldn't you want to move to VOD rentals. The Netflix Watch Instantly service is nice, but it doesn't offer new releases.

In fact even Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is excited about the idea. During his company's recent earnings call for the last quarter of 2008 he downplayed the suggestion that Roku's deal for Amazon VOD support would mean increased competition. In fact he welcomed this development, noting that Netflix has no plans to enter the VOD space and no access to new releases. Instead he focused on the value this adds to the Roku set-top box, which of course means more consumers with a Netflix client connected to their TVs.

With the introduction of an SDK later this year the future looks bright for Roku. By avoiding exclusive licenses with particular online video providers they've set themselves up to succeed regardless of what happens to Netflix, Amazon, or any other company. And that's the best news of all for consumers.

If you missed out on the Amazon VOD beta, or just wanted to wait until Roku has the bugs worked out, it's supposed to be available sometime in the next 2 months.

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