Roku Launches new Chromecast-like feature
Roku said it will add a new feature that lets users stream content straight from third-party mobile apps, mimicking the function of Google's Chromecast device.
CEO of Roku Anthony Wood talked about the new update, as well as his company's competition with Google, at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Wood called Google his company's biggest competitor because of Google's extensive investment in TV and other connected devices. He also said that the key to succeeding in this market will be the TV integration with Roku's technology,which Wood thinks his company has the leg up on on Google in this area. "We think we are well ahead of Google in terms of licensing," he spoke at the summit.
The new Roku feature -- known as discovery and launch protocol (DIAL) -- will essentially turn a user's smartphone into a remote control. Although Roku's iOS app and its Android app can already do this, this added feature will let users stream video from third-party apps. Google’s Chromecast currently does this with YouTube and Netflix. It's unclear what apps will be able to do this for Roku, but the device's current native apps, which include one from Netflix, highly outnumber Chromecast. Yet, the company still does not have an app for YouTube, a longtime obstacle for the device.
While adding DIAL lets Roku say it has the same feature as Chromecast, it doesn't guarantee any new sources of content, but the competition is clearly in full swing.
Roku already had a Chromecast-like dongle called the Roku Streaming Stick, but the buzz around Chromecast's launch was enough to make the video-streaming company step up its offerings.
Additionally, Chromecast's $35 price made up for its lack of apps initially, but this might not matter if the Roku LT device, which is normally $50, continues to be sold for $40, as seen here on Amazon.