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Roku Expands to UK as Smart TV Platform Duel with Amazon Hits up

Streaming company Roku, whose software program runs one in three smart TVs in the US, is expanding to the British market as competition with Silicon Valley titan Amazon goes worldwide.

Chinese company Hisense will market televisions with Roku TV in the UK from the fourth quarter, with other European marketplaces to follow, Roku’s founder and chief executive Anthony Wood stated in an interview.

Roku began providing players for services like Netflix, branching into licensing its operating system to makers of internet-enabled TVs who’ve found it harder to keep their software contemporary and make money in a highly competitive market.

The corporate floated in 2017, and its shares have since risen over tenfold as it grew to reach 30.5 million U.S. families; struck licensing deals with nearly a dozen TV companies and served as an aggregator for more than 7,000 channels.

In Europe, Roku faces the might of Amazon, which revealed a string of offers an IFA to bring its Fire TV platform to living rooms, collaborating with Grundig, JVC, and Toshiba.

One of the Grundig models will run on Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice assistant, making it possible to dispense with remote and instead choose programs by ‘talking’ to the TV.

Some luxurious TV makers, like Samsung, still run their own operating systems; however, for mid-range flatscreens, a platform contest between Roku and Amazon is emerging that echoes the David-and-Goliath fight in music streaming between Spotify and Apple.

Tech and media analyst Paolo Pescatore said there was no assurance that Roku’s platform would prosper on the global platform because there are different ways to stream TV in a more and more mobile world.

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