Roku Inks Amazon VOD Deal5 Jan, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Roku, manufacturer of Netflix’s proprietary set-top box, Jan. 5 said it signed a deal with Amazon’s video-on-demand (VOD) service.
Beginning this year, Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku will offer owners of the $99 box (heretofore primarily Netflix subscribers) access to more than 40,000 on-demand movies and TV shows for rent or purchase from $3.99 and $1.99, respectively.
Titles include The Dark Knight, Hancock, Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express — the latter the same day as the Jan. 6 Blu-ray Disc/DVD releases.
Roku, through its deal with Netflix, includes access to about 12,000 free content streams in standard and high-definition. The box connects wirelessly to any TV, or via HDMI, component video, S-Video, stereo or optical audio connection.
The Amazon deal marks Roku’s effort to re-establish its device as the Roku Digital Video Player and not “Netflix’s player,” according to company spokesperson Amy Bonetti.
“The Netflix player name is done,” Bonetti said. “It’s dead.”
Anthony Wood, founder and CEO of Roku, seemed to concur.
“This [deal] makes the Roku player the ideal choice for watching Internet content directly on TV,” Wood said.
Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey said the online DVD rental pioneer welcomed the addition of Amazon VOD.
“We think it is terrific,” Swasey said. “Anything that adds value to the player is going to sell more players and that is good for Netflix. We are all about broadening the appeal of our [streaming distribution] partners.”