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Streaming Wars Intensify As Roku, Amazon Signal New Initiatives

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Streaming Wars Intensify As Roku, Amazon Signal New Initiatives

The battle to own the video streaming market has evolved into a hardware war. 

On Wednesday, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) confirmed its impending launch of a new cubed Fire TV complete with an Echo smart speaker.

The same day, Roku Inc (NASDAQ: ROKU) users inferred from a privacy policy update that the company will integrate The Roku Channel into third-party devices, including smart TVs, set top boxes, gaming consoles and competitors' streaming hardware.

Although Roku told Variety it had no specific plans to share regarding distribution opportunities, Needham analyst Laura Martin reminded Benzinga that Roku has always intended to integrate The Roku Channel on all devices and TVs lacking the built-in operating system.

The Partner Hardware Battle Rages

The updates build on accelerated efforts to integrate streaming platforms into third-party tech.

Amazon reported last week a deeper relationship with Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBY) to distribute Fire TV-embedded sets to push its service into more homes.

Roku had previously announced a partnership with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTC: SSNLF) to launch "The Roku Channel" this summer.

An Unlikely Original Content War

One significant differentiator between Roku and Amazon’s streaming platforms remains the inclusion of original content. Amazon continues to invest in its award-winning portfolio, while Roku has repeatedly rejected entry in the production space.

Roku has shown a recent focus on building out its offering. Earlier this week, Roku expanded its Channel service, which already supplements aggregated streaming content from 4,000 platform apps, with live news from Cheddar, PeopleTV and ABC News Live.

Whether Roku will eventually choose to match Amazon’s original content production is yet to be seen.

Taylor Cox contributed reporting.

Related Links:

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Posted-In: Laura Martin Needham Samsung VarietyMedia General Best of Benzinga

 

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