One of the big drawbacks to most Internet TV systems is that the viewer has to actually make a choice, rather than sitting back and letting the glorious glow of cable TV wash over them. Roku, a simple device that brings Internet content like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Video-on-Demand to your television, has just taken the first step in bringing that mouth-agape, passive viewing back to your Internet TV experience.
Roku and WealthTV have announced that the channel will begin streaming its continuous streaming content alongside on-demand content over Roku devices. The move marks some of the first mirrored streaming of cable content over an Internet TV device and could signal a shift in what we expect from our Internet TV experience.
According to the company's press release, "the launch of WealthTV's service marks the first deployment of a broadcast quality, high definition national cable network delivered over-the-top to Roku users on a 24/7 live streaming basis."
Brian Jaquet, communications director for Roku, says that this is the first U.S. based cable channel to come to Roku, but that the device already had other international cable channels stream their linear feeds.
"This is exciting as it shows that you can do both linear and on-demand in the same Roku channel implementation and provide a great experience to the customer. It's also great for content owners as they can gauge interest in the content they are offering both on the linear and on-demand feeds," said Jaquet.
PaidContent's Andrew Wallenstein explains that WealthTV is able to strike this deal because it doesn't have affiliate deals with either Comcast or Time Warner Cable, a point that could keep other channels from doing the same. Nonetheless, Roku director of business Ed Lee told PaidContent that Wealth TV was just "the first domino to fall" and that the company was in talks with other channels.
Roku will be offering the content on a subscription basis for $2.99 a month.
While I have to admit, WealthTV isn't my first choice in content, I do hope that the deal could help open doors to other similar partnerships. Sometimes, the last thing you want to do when you sit down in front of your TV is to have to think. A 24 hour live stream of content can help with indecisiveness quite nicely.
Other passive content-viewing experiences exist, but they don't have the same considered programming. Sure, YouTube Leanback is designed to give the same experience, but do you really want to sit back and watch YouTube videos? I know I don't.