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Roku Redux

May 22, 2010

So first off, what is Roku? Well, in short it is a box, a pretty small box that hooks up to your TV and lets you watch content from the Internet streamed on to your TV. The content is only the channels in Roku’s “channel store”, which functions in a manner somewhat similar to an app store.

Most of the channels are various flavors of video podcasts, vlogging and the occasional somewhat amusing original content. Examples of the original stuff that I saw there was the perennially favorite Chad Vader and a really weirdly addictive Internet TV series called Coma, Period. (seriously, check it out, it is really good.. A super-quirky show about a coma victim trapped in his own subconscious)

What really bring credibility to Roku is the ability to stream Netflix and Pandora. Netflix is obviously great because now as part of my monthly subscription I have automatic video on demand, right off my queue. And Pandora, well, that is just awesome, I love the service.

But as I suggested in my earlier post, what makes Roku so cool isn’t what it can do now, but rather what it and similar services will enable in the near future.

This isn’t a new thought and already you are hearing a cacophony of new voices appearing on Internet TV. As an example, for every good program like Coma, Period you come across, you gotta sift patiently through some lesser quality stuff.

But cacophony is good! Sure, it’ll lead to a shake out down the line when some of these content efforts will merge or, more likely, just go away. But the trip will be a fun one and we’ll be left with a new media system that I don’t think will replace what we now consider to be the MSM, but will rather compliment it.

Of course, the MSM will be forced to evolve and we’ll see more of that content on the Roku style devices.

So multiple devices, multiple voices, multiple audiences all mixing in and trying to figure out what the web-enabled TV experience will be like. Should be fun!

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