2013 is already shaping up to be the year of the cord-cutter as connected devices, apps and streaming services are expanding their product offerings almost weekly. During CES, Time Warner Cable launched on Roku. This week, social was buzzing with news that HBOGo would soon arrive on Apple TV, Netflix premiered its first original series, “House of Cards,” and Amazon won exclusive rights to all episodes of Downton Abbey. Then today came game-changing news that Roku and Aereo have partnered on a new channel app on the former’s connected device.
Aereo is the new kid on the block and definitely the loudest. Launched exclusively in NYC as an iPad app in Feb. 2012, it offers HD quality live streams and DVR recording capabilities of broadcast nets CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, The CW, and PBS — which landed them in court. In a surprise that sent shockwaves across the TV industry, they won against the major networks as an injunction was rejected by the presiding judge. Just a year later, Aereo has announced planned rollout in 22 new cities including Chicago, Boston and Miami, but not Los Angeles. They’ve expanded their offering to include syndicated content from several partners, but broadcast programming and the DVR remain the big hook.
Content is king and those who have the best and offer added-value through their services are the winners. The partnership with Aereo puts Roku squarely in the lead with the addition of recording capabilities, even though it’s not the first device to offer the service. Boxee launched a new box late last year that also includes Aereo, but requires an old school antenna to pick up the broadcast signal. The young and tech savvy have probably never seen an antenna and having it alongside your swanky HDTV is a bit odd. Roku offers 500+ channel apps including HBO Go, Amazon Prime Instant, and Hulu Plus, which are not available on Boxee. So, Roku wins in the device and content categories.
The real winners, however, are consumers seeking alternative ways to watch TV and shave money off their cable bill. A DVR set-top box or TiVO will set you back about $15+ dollars a month or $180+ a year. For the one-time price of a Roku (from $49) and $80 a year for Aereo, within the first year, you’ll begin to see the savings.
2013 is just getting started and already it’s full of great news for TV fans. I’m excited to see what happens next as apps and products continue to push the boundaries of access to content and value through their platforms.
Drop us a comment and let us know what you think of the new wave of TV and tech announcements.