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Roku, Inc.

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Roku, Inc.
Traded asNASDAQROKU (Class A)
Russell 2000 Component
ISINUS77543R1023 Edit this on Wikidata
FoundedOctober 2002; 17 years ago (2002-10)
FounderAnthony Wood
HeadquartersLos Gatos, California, U.S.
Key people
ProductsRoku: Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku TV, Roku OS
RevenueIncrease US$ 512.76 million (2017)
Increase US$ -19.62 million (2017)
Decrease US$ -63.51 million (2017)
Total assetsIncrease US$ 371.90 million (2017)
Total equityIncrease US$ 152.28 million (2017)
Number of employees
817 (2017)
  • Player
  • Platform
Footnotes / references

Roku, Inc. (/ˈrk/ ROH-koo)[3] is an American publicly traded company based in Los Gatos, California.[4] Roku manufactures a variety of digital media players that allow customers to access Internet streamed video or audio services through televisions. Roku has an advertising business and also licenses its hardware and software to other companies.[5][6][7][8]


Roku was founded in October 2002 as a limited liability company (LLC),[9] by ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood. Roku (六) means "six" in the Japanese language, to represent the fact that Roku is the sixth company Wood started.[10]

In April 2007 Wood was named a vice president of Netflix.[11] 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.[12][13] Later in 2008 company headquarters moved to Saratoga, California, further south in Silicon Valley.[14] A round of venture capital funding from Menlo Ventures was announced in October 2008.[15] Another round of about $8.4 million was disclosed in 2009.[16][17] In 2015, the company announced it would be sub-leasing the buildings in Los Gatos, California from Netflix.[18]

On September 28, 2017, the company held an initial public offering of stock and began trading on the NASDAQ exchange.[19]

On November 9, 2017, the company acquired Danish-based smart speakers start-up company Dynastrom (including its AROS Technology).[20]

In 2017, Roku launched its self-serving advertising product to allow advertisers to serve ads to Roku's users. These include video ads, interactive video ads, audience development promotions and brand sponsorships.[21] This was made possible through Roku allowing advertisers to transition from standard cable TV advertising to Roku's streaming platform.[22] In 2016, Roku partnered with Magna, a media firm that specializes advertising, in order to incorporate targeted advertising on its streaming platform.[23] In order to measure the success of its advertising efforts success, Roku partnered with Nielsen, a company that specializes in advertising effectiveness.[24] In November 2019, Roku announced its acquisition of dataxu video advertising platform, for $150 million in cash and stocks. Roku shares rose more than two percent subsequent to the announcement.[25]

In July of 2019 Roku started moving to a new headquarters in San Jose, with plans to vacate offices subleased from Netflix.[26]

Legacy products

Roku's consumer products included:

  • PhotoBridge HD1000, a system for displaying images on a high-definition television, as well as streaming MPEG video. The unit has four card readers on the front and can read from a CompactFlash Card type II, Memory Stick, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, or SmartMedia Card[27]
  • Roku SoundBridge, a network music player[28]
  • SoundBridge Radio, a network music player with built-in speakers and subwoofer, AM‑FM receiver, volume-ramping alarm clock, preset buttons, SD slot, and headphone jack[29]

For retailers, Roku also produced:

  • BrightSign solid-state media player, designed to drive HD displays in a retail environment.[30]

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.[31][32] 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 Player

The XD/S has HDMI and component output for high-definition video on new and older televisions.

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, although 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.[citation needed]

Roku devices support both on-demand content and live streaming. For live TV streams, Roku supports Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) adaptive streaming technology. Both free and paid "channels" such as Amazon Video, Hulu, Netflix, and others are available, as are some games. Roku also received support for Apple TV+ (along with iTunes Store-purchased content) via a channel upon its November 2019 launch.

Roku Streaming Players are open-platform devices with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels.[33] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls "similar to Visual Basic".[34]

The Roku Channel

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 The Roku Channel content publishers American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. It implemented an ad revenue sharing model with content providers. It is currently available only in the US.[35] On August 8 2018, The Roku Channel became available on web as well.[36] Roku also added the "Featured Free" section as the top section of its main menu from where users can get access to direct streaming of shows and movies from its partners.[37]

Roku TV

Roku licenses its technology and proprietary operating system (Roku OS) to service operators including Sky and Telstra, and television manufacturers and distributors such as TCL and Philips[38]. Roku announced its first branded smart TV in early 2014 and it was released in late 2014. These TVs are manufactured by companies like TCL and Hisense, and use the Roku user interface as the "brain" of the TV. Roku TVs are updated in the same way as Roku's streaming devices, though on a slightly modified schedule due to the extra features and picture/audio adjustment options the Roku TV menu interface must support.[39]

Several manufacturers offer added features for over-the-air reception for added cord-cutter value, including extended electronic program guides which provide more information than regularly sent by the PSIP protocol, and over-the-air program search integrated into the Roku search system. Also offered are program buffers and pausing with the use of a 16GB+ USB flash drive.

Main competitors

Some notable competitors include Amazon's Fire TV, Apple's Apple TV, and Google's Chromecast.


  1. ^ "US SEC: Form 10-K Roku, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dynastrom - Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  3. ^ Ogden, Jon (April 26, 2007). "Re: 'Rock You' or 'Row Coo'". Roku Forums. Roku, Inc. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mercury News". Mercury News, Inc. July 10, 2019. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  5. ^ Meyersohn, Nathaniel. "Roku dazzles thanks to its booming ad business". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  6. ^ Brustein, Joshua (October 3, 2013). "Roku's Survival Will Take More Than Beating Apple TV". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  7. ^ Hachman, Mark (October 27, 2010). "Roku Says It Will License Platform". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  8. ^ Gibbs, Sam (August 1, 2013). "Now TV Box Review: This £10 Box Is Miles Better Than It Should Be". Gizmodo (UK ed.). Future Publishing. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  9. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities" (PDF). US Securities and Exchange Commission. January 18, 2006. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Stevens, Cindy Loffler (December 5, 2012). "Roku's Anthony Wood". Consumer Electronics Association. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  11. ^ "Netflix Appoints Anthony Wood, who Founded and led ReplayTV, As V.P. of Internet TV". Press release. April 16, 2007. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities" (PDF). US Securities and Exchange Commission. February 26, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  13. ^ JP Mangalindan (November 1, 2012). "Roku's Anthony Wood looks beyond the box". Fortune. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  14. ^ Khalida Sarwari (May 21, 2014). "Saratoga: Streaming dream comes true for Roku, Inc". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Khalida Sarwari (October 28, 2008). "Roku gets funding from Menlo Ventures". San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Tameka Kee (August 10, 2009). "Roku Adds $8.4 Million In Funding From Menlo Ventures". GigaOm. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  17. ^ "Form D: Notice of Sale of Securities". US Securities and Exchange Commission. June 4, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Nathan Donato-Weinstein (September 4, 2015). "Roku, Saratoga's biggest brand, heads to Los Gatos in deal with Netflix". San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  19. ^ Salinas, Anita Balakrishnan, Sara (28 September 2017). "Roku closes up 67% on first day of trading". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Roku acquires Dynastrom - 2017-11-09 - Crunchbase". Crunchbase. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  21. ^ Poggi, Jeanine. "Roku Offers Audience Guarantees to Advertisers". AdAge. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  22. ^ "Roku Is Building a Bridge for TV Advertisers With Nielsen's Audience Guarantees". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Magna Strikes Deal With Roku, Shifting More Ad Dollars Out Of Linear TV Heading Into Upfronts". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  24. ^ Spangler, Todd (30 April 2015). "Nielsen to Measure Roku Connected-TV Video Ads". Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  25. ^ Graham, Megan (October 22, 2019). "Roku is buying ad tech company dataxu in $150 million deal". CNBC. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  26. ^ Avalos, George (July 11, 2019). "Roku starts move into modern San Jose headquarters campus". CNBC. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  27. ^ Howard, Bill (January 11, 2005). "Roku PhotoBridge HD1000". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  28. ^ "Roku SoundBridge review". CNET. CBS Interactive. March 27, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  29. ^ "Roku SoundBridge Radio review". CNET. CBS Interactive. March 22, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  30. ^ "Roku Announces BrightSign High-Definition Solid State Media Player" (PDF) (Press release). Anaheim, California: BrightSign. June 19, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 25, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  31. ^ Greenhill, Larry (May 13, 2007). "Roku SoundBridge M1001 network music player". Stereophile. Source Interlink Media. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  32. ^ Frakes, Dan (April 28, 2006). "Review: Roku SoundBridge Radio". Macworld. IDG Consumer & SMB. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  33. ^ Gruenwedel, Erik (November 23, 2009). "Roku Bows Online Store". Home Media Magazine. Questex Media. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  34. ^ "Developers". Roku, Inc. March 29, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  35. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Roku's new channel with free movies and TV goes live for all". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Roku's free, ad-supported streaming channel is now live on the web". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  37. ^ "Roku's free streaming service is now available on the web". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  38. ^ "Form S-1". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  39. ^ Roku TV is the first Smart TV worth using Wired, January 6, 2014

External links