Roku Bows $15 Streaming Player in the U.K.26 Jul, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Device is being used by BSkyB as leverage for a proprietary SVOD service competing against Netflix and LoveFilm Instant.
Roku, together with British satellite TV operator BSkyB, is offering a branded media player with remote control in the United Kingdom for
£9.99, or $15 (which includes shipping).
Dubbed “Now TV Box,” the device is a repurposed Roku HD unit, which enables authenticated BSkyB subscribers access to “Now TV Powered by Sky,” a subscription video-on-demand service aimed at competing against Netflix and LoveFilm Instant.
Roku, which helped Netflix launch the SVOD market in 2008 with a branded player, last year received $45 million funding from News Corp. (now 21st Century Fox) and BSkyB — both owned by Rupert Murdoch.
The new device comes on the heels of Google’s $35 Chromecast device launch in the United States that connects a TV to the Internet via USB port — and includes 90 days of free Netflix service. Google reportedly sold out of the devices (and Netflix subscriptions) in one day.
The Now TV Box does not include access to Netflix or LoveFilm, underscoring its subsidized price and the fact BSkyB wants users to remain on its platform.
In addition to SVOD, the Now TV Box includes access to Facebook, Spotify, BBC iPlayer, SkyNews and sports programming.