Roku debuts 4K device for pay TV market, also looks to build iOS and Android apps


Marking significant movements on multiple fronts, Roku officials announced a new 4K/HDR-capable player targeted to the pay TV market. 

The leading OTT device maker is also reportedly looking to extend its operating environment to mobile devices. According to Variety, Roku is quietly talking to competitors like Apple and Google about making the Roku video ecosystem available on devices powered by iOS and Android.

As for the pay TV market, Roku said Australian telecom Telstra is the first company to deploy what it calls its “hybrid OTA streaming player,” integrating a terrestrial tuner into the device. 

The product release fits into the so-called “Roku Powered” licensing program, whereby operators deploy the Roku operating system, its channel store and devices, customizing the home screen, app store and device itself as needed. 

“Our new 4K HDR hybrid streaming player is ideal for countries where over the air TV is available. It really brings together entertainment sources in a clever way, so consumers can watch live and on demand entertainment with one single remote control,” said Andrew Ferrone, VP of pay TV at Roku, in a statement. 

Meanwhile, citing three anonymous sources, Variety said that Roku’s talks with Apple, Google and other rival device makers most likely includes discussions about Roku’s first deployment into mobile platforms. 

Roku currently offers iOS and Android mobile apps, but these apps support Roku OTT devices, mainly acting as a replacement for the remote control. The apps can’t be used unless one of the devices is on the same Wi-Fi network. 

This could change soon, with Roku looking to integrate video playback directly onto mobile devices. The first step, according to Variety, will be the integration into iOS and Android of the Roku Channel, an ad-supported channel that launched last month. The channel features several hundred on-demand movies from movies from major studios like Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros., as well as various indies.