RokuÂ (IPA: /ËˆÉ¹oku/ pronounced “roh koo”)Â is an American, privately held, consumer electronics company that sells home digital media products. The company is based inÂ Saratoga, California.Â Roku manufactures a variety ofÂ digital media receiversÂ that allow customers to access internetÂ streamedÂ video or audio services through televisions. This includes subscription-based services as well as services that are available through the receiver free of charge.
The company was founded in October 2002, byÂ ReplayTVÂ founder Anthony Wood.Â RokuÂ means “six” inÂ Japanese, a reference to the six companies Wood has launched.
Roku’s consumer products line-up included:
- RokuÂ SoundBridge, a network music player
- SoundBridge Radio, a network music player with built-in speakers andÂ subwoofer, AMâ€‘FM receiver, volume-ramping alarm clock, preset buttons,Â SDÂ slot and headphone jack
- PhotoBridge HD1000, a system for displaying images on aÂ high-definition television, as well as streaming MPEG video. The unit has four card readers on the front and can read from Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, SmartMedia Card, CompactFlash Card typeÂ II.
Roku also produced:
- the BrightSign solid-state media player, designed to drive HD displays in a retail environment.
Roku’s audio products did not use internal storage but rely onÂ Wi-FiÂ orÂ EthernetÂ to stream digital audio over a network, either from Internet radio or a computer attached to the same network. Roku introduced the Radio RokuÂ Internet radioÂ directory in August 2007. Radio Roku provides a directory of Internet stations, accessible from a web browser or from SoundBridge players.
Digital video player
On May 20, 2008, Roku announced the firstÂ NetflixÂ Internet video streaming receiver box, the Roku DVP. TheÂ NXP-poweredÂ device runsÂ Linux.
Prior to Autumn 2010, three versions of the Roku DVP were available: the Roku SD, HD, and HD-XR.Â The Roku SD only streams standard definition (SD) content.Â The Roku HD streams both SD and HD (720p) content.Â The Roku SD and HD both have an Ethernet connection and built inÂ 802.11gÂ Wiâ€‘Fi compatible with wireless B, G, and N routers.Â Their third box was the Roku HD-XR, which streams both SD and HD (720p and 1080p) content, has built in dual-bandÂ 802.11nÂ WiFi support, and has a USB port on the back.
In 2010, Roku revamped its lineup of devices: the revised HD is the basic model of the line, offering 720p resolution,Â 802.11gÂ WiFi reception (as well as an Ethernet connection), and an HDMI output. The middle of the line, the XD, adds 1080p resolution (if channel programmers provide it), an enhanced remote with replay capabilities, and single-band wireless N WiFi. The flagship XD|S offers the same feature set as the XD but also adds component video and optical audio outputs, dual-band wireless N, and a USB port for playing videos, photos, and music (USB Playback Support is available as of February 1, 2011).
On July 20, 2011, Roku updated its product lineup with three new boxes, each in the same price range as before. However, the Ethernet connection and remote with motion control for games are available only on the XS model.Â The Roku Game Remote usesÂ Hillcrest Labs’ Freespace motion control technology, so users can control games with natural gestures.Â TheÂ NetflixÂ application was revamped for the Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS. The current models now provide the option of subtitles, when the program provides this aid.
On October 29, 2012, the feature “Roku Search” was added. This feature allows users to search movie and TV show titles, actors and directors for multiple services on Roku such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. The feature is only available on Roku 2, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku LT and HD, due to technical constraints on earlier models.
|Model||IntroÂduced||DisÂconÂtinÂued||Video Outputs||Video Resolutions||OpÂtiÂcal
|ComÂposÂite, S-â€‹VidÂeÂo||ComÂponÂent, HDMI||480iÂ / 480p||720pÂ / 1080p||EthÂerÂnet||802.11
|Roku DVP (N1000)||May 2008||Oct 2009||Both||Both||Both||720p||Yes||Yes||b/g||No||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||64 MiB||No|
|Roku SD (N1050)||Oct 2009||Sep 2010||ComÂposÂite||NeiÂther||480i||NeiÂther||No||Yes||b/g||No||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||64 MiB||No|
|Roku HD (N1100)||Nov 2009||Sep 2010||Both||Both||Both||720p||Yes||Yes||b/g||No||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHz||64 MiB||No|
|Roku HD-XR (N1101)||Oct 2009||Sep 2010||Both||Both||Both||Both||Yes||Yes||a/b/g/n dual-â€‹band||Yes||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||No|
|Roku HD (2000C)||Sep 2010||Jul 2011||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||720p||No||Yes||b/g||No||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||64 MiB||No|
|Roku XD (2050N, 2050X)||Sep 2010||Jul 2011||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||Both||No||Yes||b/g/n||No||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||64 MiB||No|
|Roku XDS (2100X)||Sep 2010||Jul 2011||ComÂposÂite||Bothâ€‹â€||Both||Both||Yes||Yes||a/b/g/n dual-â€‹band||Yes||No||PNXÂ8935 400Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||No|
|Roku LT (2400X, 2450X)||Nov 2011||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||720p||No||No||b/g/n||No||No||BCMÂ2835 400Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||No|
|Roku HD (2500X)||Apr 2012||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||720p||No||No||b/g/n||No||No||BCMÂ7208 400Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||No|
|Roku 2 HD (3000X)||Jul 2011||Apr 2012||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||720p||No||No||b/g/n||No||Yes||BCMÂ2835 600Â MHz||256 MiB||Yes|
|Roku 2 XD (3050X)||Jul 2011||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||Both||No||No||b/g/n||No||Yes||BCMÂ2835 600Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||Yes|
|Roku 2 XS (3100X)||Jul 2011||ComÂposÂite||HDMI||Both||Both||No||Yes||b/g/n||Yes||Yes||BCMÂ2835 600Â MHzâ€‹||256 MiB||Yes|
|Roku StreamÂing Stick (3400X)||Oct 2012||NeiÂther||MHLÂ only||480p||Both||No||No||b/g/n dual-â€‹band||No||Yes||BCMÂ2835 600Â MHz||256 MiB||No|
- â€¡ The Bluetooth module is for the game remote.
- â€ The comÂponÂent video connector on the Roku XDS (2100X) is a nonstandard 3.5mm connector and a proprietary adapter cable, which is sold separately, is effectively required to use this.
Online Roku channels
Content on the Roku DVP is provided by Roku partners, and are identified using the “channel” vernacular. Each separate channel supports content from one partner though some content partners have more than one channel. Users can add or remove different channels from the Roku Channel Store. In May 2011, Roku stated the DVP had over one million viewers and had delivered 15Â million channel downloads. Both on-demand content and live streaming are supported by the devices. For live TV streams, Roku supports Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) adaptive streaming technology. The primary movie channels which are available on Roku in the U.S.Â market are suppressed in Canada.
Service creation for Roku Player
The Roku is an open-platform device with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels.Â The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls “similar toÂ Visual Basic”.
Developers who wish to test their channels before a general release, or who wish to limit viewership, can create “private” channels that require a code be entered by the user in the account page of the Roku website. These private channels, which are not part of the official Roku Channel Store, are not reviewed or approved by Roku.
There is a NDK (Native Developer Kit) available, though it has added restrictions – see Roku developer question “How do I develop games for Roku?”
Partial list of services currently available through the Roku Channel Store.
- Air 1
- Amazing Facts
- Amazon Cloud Playerâ€
- The Autism Channel
- Bridges TV
- CBN TV
- CNBC Real-Time
- CNET TV
- Comic Vine
- Daystar Television Network
- Democracy Now!
- Drive-In Classics
- Cowboy Classics
- EWTNÂ (6 channel multiplex)
- Fox Business
- Fox News Channel
- Free Speech TV
- Giant Bomb
- Gospel Broadcasting Network
- Havoc Television
- The Highway Girl
- HuffPost Live
- Jewelry Television
- Jewish Life Television
- KLAS-TVÂ News
- Kung Fu Theater
- Liberty Bell Radio
- Life+Health Network
- Liquidation Channel
- Moonlight Movies
- Mormon Channel
- NASA TV
- NBC News
- NRA Life of Duty
- Omniverse TV
- Positive Peak Radio & TV
- Proud Television
- Radio Paradise
- Radio Time
- Roku Newscaster
- Roku Searchâ€
- Sail TV
- SEC Digital Network
- SHOUTcast Radio
- Smithsonian Channel
- Streamin’ Garage
- SyfyÂ (clips only)
- Tagesschau (Germany)
- TEDÂ Talks
- TBNÂ (8 channel multiplex)
- TWiT Netcast Network
- United States Hockey League
- Wall Street Journal Live
- Weather Underground
- WISCÂ News
- WTHRÂ News