Roku unveils hybrid streaming box


Roku just announced a new “hybrid streaming box” that it’s working on and that, it hopes, will be in customer’s hands later this year. It’s different than a standard Roku box in that it supports cable connections and streaming services.

It’s being developed for partners who might want to provide customers with something more powerful than they’re capable of building on their own. One partner is Sky. Roku already powers Sky’s cable box, but the provider will move to the Roku hardware later this year.

The box is particularly compelling considering FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s recent comments, in which he suggested that consumers should be able to choose their own cable boxes, as they would for other equipment, like a cable modem. This might start to usher in that era, particularly as consumers get adjusted to this “hybrid” approach that includes cable connectivity, as well as support for a multitude of streaming services.

Cable operators will have the option to partner with Roku on the box. Roku says it will “provide the ongoing software updates, platform maintenance, and application devleopment support and certification services.”

Can you imagine? A cable box that isn’t a block of garbage like what Comcast and Time Warner currently offer.

Color me interested.

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