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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 18, 2011

Roku Lands WealthTV; Becomes First Device to Deploy Broadcast TV

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Streaming device Roku just landed its very first cable channel, giving way to the first deployment of a broadcast quality, high definition national cable network delivered to users on a 24/7 streaming basis.

The company announced Tuesday that it acquired WealthTV, a luxury lifestyle and entertainment channel, allowing users to experience a “cable-like” watching experience without the need of a cable subscription to any of WealthTV’s exclusive networks.

Instead of paying for standard subscription fees, Roku customers can pay just $2.99 per month for WealthTV’s video-on-demand selections as well as access the available 24/7 linear feed.

"WealthTV fans that can't get our network from their local video provider can now enjoy our vicarious living programming lineup via Roku," said Robert Herring, Sr., founder and CEO of WealthTV in a press release. "We've received a large volume of consumer requests to expand our distribution to connected devices and this deployment will let us gauge the acceptability and viability of alternative distribution methods for our traditional cable feed."

Does this mean other channels will start to follow suit, allowing users to ditch their cable box top sets for Internet TV boxes?

The possibility is unlikely, at least right now. Too many cable networks rely on checks from cable giants such as Comcast (News - Alert) and Time Warner to provide revenue in affiliate fees. The Internet only provides a fraction of that revenue, leaving little to be desired in making the move to Internet exclusivity. The competition simply does not exist.

With regards to Roku, however, it’s a stepping stone in a direction that could very well open doors for smaller networks to gain presence.

"With Roku surpassing one million units sold last year and with Roku customers averaging over 11 hours of programming on Roku a week, it's logical for national programming services to make their content lineup available to our growing user base."

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet Contributor. She has years of experience in business and marketing. Previously, she worked in broadcast journalism and as an editor abroad in London, England for a privately owned magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee