During one of many great conversations during our SPLAT Magic Valley adventure, Gena mentioned adding the Roku to our gizmo garage. I blurted out, “Isn’t the Roku going away and turning into just an app?” Of course I said this in a cloud of fatigue and hunger after a long day of travel. There was a bit of surprise considering how many SPLAT members loved their Roku boxes. So I had to go back and try to dig up the random news article that I had read just a few weeks ago.
First the good news. The Roku box isn’t going anywhere yet. Millions of the devices have been sold and there still seems to be a demand for it. But, Roku is investing money to develop software (or an app) that will come preloaded on television sets. This will allow Roku to better compete with other content providers (hello Netflix) in the app market place. It is not clear how long or when this will happen and what will happen to the box itself.
There are a lot of changes occurring to how TV is delivered and competition is becoming quit stiff for your internet viewing eyeballs. Some networks are developing their own apps for streaming video services. Some are paid services like HBO Go and some are free like PBS. Devices, which include both tvs, blue-ray players, and stand alone boxes, are coming fast and furious with multiple options and content. It’s not clear how the next few years will look. Two things are clear. The Boxee box IS going away and bundled cable and satellite services, as we know them, are taking the slow death march to oblivion.
Hearing that some libraries are now circulating Roku boxes also surprised me. So a bit more digging found an article on how the Bitterroot Public Library is doing this. I’m sure circulating this device dredges up some of the same issues as circulating other devices like Kindles. But this opens up a fascinating way of providing a lot more content to patrons. I’m curious if anyone in Idaho is doing this and how it is working? Thanks Gena for bringing this up!