Don Clark, reporting from CES:
That means making Roku’s home screen and content navigation system central to managing users’ interactions with all video content, removing what Wood describes as all the complicated settings, menus and features that characterize most Internet-connected TVs. There is also a simplified remote control Roku designs that has 20 buttons, which Wood estimates is half the number on traditional remotes.
Yes, Roku TVs can still get conventional programming from sources like cable services. “It does have a tuner,” Wood says. “We would like to get rid of it, but retailers don’t think they can sell them without it.”
We’ll see what actually ships, but I like a lot of the thinking here. Simplified menus and remotes are key. And there (unfortunately) there still needs to be a way to do traditional cable content as well, but that should just be another app.
Roku has always done a good job as a set-top box, but now they’re moving further up the stack. Beating Apple and others to such a move, of course.