Did you know: Roku was nearly a part of Netflix
Roku is a US household name that makes it one of the best and most popular streaming devices on the market. Did you know that Roku is part of Netflix?
In fact, the first Roku device was developed by Netflix engineers. It is set to launch in 2007, the same year that Netflix launched its full-fledged video demand service. But just weeks before the Netflix player hit the market, the strategy changed and it was replaced by its own company.
Here is the whole story, but first a little bit of context.
An era of the past
It is easy to forget that the situation was very different in 2007 in the current flow-centric society. Netflix’s main business was renting DVDs in the mail, and the whole concept of video streaming was in its infancy. Even the earliest versions of Vimeo and YouTube were beginning to fall off the ground. They were launched in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Unlike its main rival, Blockbuster, Netflix saw writing on the wall. It saw writing on the wall for rent on DVD and launched a video streaming service in early 2007. This was just moments before the launch of the first iPhone, as well as before our lives shifted to smartphones and digital platforms.
Netflix needed a new type of device to help it get the fastest growing video streaming service from its computers to their TVs. DVR boxes like the TiVo were common at the time, but they only allowed you to record broadcast TV locally – not transmitting it from a remote server.
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Netflix’s streaming directory grew slowly from the original 1000 films, and the company secretly hired an internal team to develop this new streaming box. A team of 20 engineers working under the pseudonym “Project Griffin” worked closely with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to launch the device.
The team had been working on the technology for years before launching the streaming service. a Report from Fast company, Netflix originally played with the idea of a connected DVD player before settling into a dedicated streaming box. Of course, the main thing is affordable, because the real goal was to push Netflix into more homes.
Named Netflix Player, the device was instrumental in revolutionizing the way people broadcast media. But a few weeks before it was launched, there was a big change in plans.
Birth of Roku
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, understood the business side of streaming better than anyone else at the time, and knew that by releasing first-party streaming hardware, Netflix would enter into a competitive competition with its hardware partners. If Netflix wanted to be neutral, it would have to give up dreams of having its own streaming device.
In December 2007, Hastings was shocked to learn that Netflix Player would never see the light of day. At that point it was ready to launch – the device was finished, the marketing material was printed, and the ads in the shooting process.
The Netflix player was ready to be shipped, including marketing material and TV commercials.
Instead, the technicians and engineers who developed the transport box will be transferred to another company led by Anthony Wood. Wood, then vice president of Netflix, relaunched Roku in 2002, but so far the company has actually acquired Steam.
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Netflix has invested $ 6 million in its newly incorporated company, and in 2008 released the first cash-strapped stream. Priced at $ 99, it was expensive compared to current streaming devices but much cheaper than other alternatives at the time. For example, the first Apple TV set-top box costs $ 300.
This thin separation allowed Netflix to continue to negotiate with major manufacturers such as Sony, LG and Samsung. Leaving the hardware business, Netflix added its streaming service to millions of devices worldwide.
Is that the right call?
Although it was controversial on Netflix at the time, the decision to kill the Netflix player was certainly the right one. Netflix is already in the process of concluding licensing agreements with media companies, and in 2008 it destroyed its first party production unit, Red Letter Entertainment. Netflix will not start producing original content again until 2012. Market leader.
If Netflix had decided to go down the hardware route, it would never have gotten to that point. Every TV that ships today has a big red Netflix button, and this service has over 180 million subscribers worldwide.
Roku has also had tremendous success, at least in the United States. The company launched its ninth generation devices on October 15, 2020. Top-of-the-line 4K ready Roku Ultra still maintains Price 100 Price point On the first device, but only the cheapest device in the rookie line $ 30. Anyone at that price can join the flow revolution.
This is the eleventh post in our “Did You Know” series, and we dive into the history books of Android and consumer technology to discover important and interesting facts or events that have been forgotten over time. What do you want to see covered next? Let us know in the comments and see our previous posts in the series below.