Roku, Inc. (/ˈroʊkuː/ ROH-koo) is an American publicly traded company that manufactures home digital media products. The company is based in Los Gatos, California. Roku manufactures a variety of digital media players that allow customers to access Internet streamed video or audio services through televisions, including subscription-based services as well as services that are available through the receiver free of charge. Roku licenses its hardware and software to other companies.
Roku was founded in October 2002 as a limited liability company (LLC), by ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood. Roku (六) means "six" in the Japanese language, to represent Roku is the sixth company Wood started.
In April 2007 Wood was named a vice president of Netflix. After Netflix decided to not build its own player, a new Roku company was incorporated in February 2008, based in Palo Alto, California, with Netflix as an investor of $6 million, to build a player. Later in 2008 company headquarters moved to Saratoga, California, further south in Silicon Valley. A round of venture capital funding from Menlo Ventures was announced in October 2008. Another round of about $8.4 million was disclosed in 2009. In 2015, the company announced it would be sub-leasing the buildings in Los Gatos, California from Netflix.
On September 28, 2017, the company held an initial public offering of stock and began trading on the NASDAQ exchange.
On November 9, 2017, the company acquire Danish-based smart speakers start-up company Dynastrom (including it AROS Technology)
Roku's consumer products included:
For retailers, Roku also produced:
Roku's audio products did not use internal storage but relied on Wi-Fi or Ethernet to stream digital audio over a network, either from Internet radio or a computer attached to the same network. Roku introduced the Radio Roku Internet radio directory in August 2007; Radio Roku provides a directory of Internet stations, accessible from a web browser or from SoundBridge players.
Roku Streaming Players are set-top boxes for the delivery of over-the-top content. Content is provided by Roku partners, identified using the "channel" vernacular. Each separate channel supports content from one partner though some content partners have more than one channel. In May 2011, Roku stated the Streaming Players had over one million viewers and had delivered 15 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. Both free and paid "channels" such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, and others are available, as well as some games.
Roku Streaming Players are an open-platform device with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels. The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls "similar to Visual Basic".
Roku launched its own free, ad-supported streaming channel on its devices in October 2017. At launch it included licensed content from studios such as Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Brothers, as well as from Roku channel content publishers American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. It implemented an ad revenue sharing model with content providers. It was made available only in the US.