Roku, Inc.
Company typePublic
FoundedOctober 2002; 21 years ago (2002-10)
FounderAnthony Wood
HeadquartersSan Jose, California,
Area served
USA,Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, Ireland, Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$3.48 billion (2023)
Decrease US$−792 million (2023)
Decrease US$−710 million (2023)
Total assetsDecrease US$4.26 billion (2023)
Total equityDecrease US$2.33 billion (2023)
Number of employees
c. 3,150 (2023)
  • Devices (hardware)
  • Platform (services)
Footnotes / references
Former headquarters in Los Gatos (subleased from Netflix)

Roku, Inc. (/ˈrk/ ROH-koo)[2] is a U.S. public company founded in 2002. It runs a streaming TV service through its branded streaming devices and smart TVs, supporting both advertising and subscription models on its platform. Roku leads U.S. streaming TV distribution,[3][4][5] and reports 80+ million global customer accounts as of 2023.[6] Outside the U.S., the company serves markets in Canada,[7] Australia,[8] European countries such as the U.K.,[9] France,[10] Germany,[9] and Ireland,[11] and several Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.[11][12]

In its early years, Roku focused on making high-definition video players[4] and launched the first connected TV device to stream Netflix in 2008.[13][14] Later, in 2014, the company expanded its streaming platform's reach by partnering with TV manufacturers to license Roku’s technology, which allowed Roku's operating system to be pre-installed on smart TVs.[13] Roku also integrated targeted ads and channel subscriptions into its streaming platform.[15][16][17] Following these developments, the company launched its own ad-supported streaming channel in 2017, and subsequently introduced consumer electronic products, including smart speakers and smart home devices.[18][19]



Roku was founded in October 2002 as a limited liability company (LLC),[20] by ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood. Roku (六) means "six" in the Japanese language, to represent the fact that Roku is the sixth company Wood started.[21] The company was founded as a maker high-definition video players, and was funded by Wood himself with money he had earned from selling other businesses, including ReplayTV.[4]

Equity funding, product

In 2008, Netflix invested $6 million in Roku as part of an equity funding round. Netflix's association with Roku also involved Wood taking a part-time job at Netflix to make a device to stream Netflix while serving as Roku's CEO.[4] Roku launched the first connected TV device to stream Netflix in May 2008, and continued to sell devices that plug into TVs, allowing consumers to access streaming services.[13][14] In the same year, Roku's headquarters moved to Saratoga, California, further south in Silicon Valley.[22] A round of venture capital funding from Menlo Ventures was announced in October 2008.[23] Another round of about $8.4 million was disclosed in 2009.[24][25] This year also saw Netflix sell all of its Roku shares, translating to nearly 15% of Roku's equity, to Menlo Ventures to avoid the perception of potentially favoring one streaming distribution manufacturer over another.[4]

Entry into smart TVs, advertising

In 2012, The Verge reported that Roku had launched in the U.K. and Canada.[7] In 2014, Roku expanded its reach by partnering with TV manufacturers as Roku's licensees, to sell Roku's operating system already installed on smart TVs.[13] In 2015, the company launched its products in Australia, France and Mexico.[8][10][26] It also announced that it would be sub-leasing the buildings in Los Gatos, California from Netflix.[27] In the same year, towards measuring the success of its advertising efforts success, Roku partnered with Nielsen, a company that specializes in advertising effectiveness.[28] In 2016, Roku partnered with Magna, a media firm that specializes advertising, in order to incorporate targeted advertising on its streaming platform.[29]

Initial public offering

On September 28, 2017, Roku held an initial public offering of stock and began trading on the Nasdaq exchange.[30] Vox said in the same year that the company was transitioning into "taking a cut of advertising and subscription fees" generated by "video programmers" using Roku's devices, while stating that Netflix and YouTube didn't give Roku such a cut.[16] Roku stated in September 2017 that it received a "revenue share" whenever it signed up a new customer for subscription content including Netflix.[17] In 2017 Roku also launched its self-serving advertising product to allow advertisers to serve ads to Roku's users. These include video ads, interactive video ads, audience development promotions and brand sponsorships.[31] This was made possible through Roku allowing advertisers to transition from standard cable TV advertising to Roku's streaming platform.[32] In the same year, Roku was also reported as expanding its international reach by launching its streaming players in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.[12]


In July 2019 Roku started moving to a new headquarters in San Jose, with plans to vacate offices subleased from Netflix.[33] In the same month, The Verge cited a "Strategy Analytics" report which showed that Roku was the most popular streaming platform in the United States in 2019, with over 30% share.[3] In November 2019, Roku announced its acquisition of dataxu video advertising platform, for $150 million in cash and stocks. Roku shares rose more than two percent subsequent to the announcement.[34] By January 2020, Roku had launched in Brazil and had a limited footprint in Ireland, according to Variety.[11]

On January 8, 2021, Roku announced it would acquire rights to Quibi's content, for an amount less than $100 million,[35] and that all of Quibi's 75 programs would be available on their streaming platform, The Roku Channel.[36] On March 19, 2021, TZP Growth Partners completed the sale of This Old House Ventures to Roku. All 1,500 episodes of Ask This Old House and This Old House will be made available to owners of Roku streaming products free with ads and through their dedicated 24/7 Streaming TV channel.[37] PBS will still have rights to air episodes on their platforms. In June 2021, CNBC cited Parks Associates data, which indicated that Roku had consistently been the leader among all streaming platforms in the U.S., with Amazon catching up.[4] In August 2021, Roku's streaming players were reported to be available in India.[38] In September 2021, Reuters reported Roku as launching its products in Germany.[9] In October 2021, Mashable cited Roku as the most popular brand in the streaming devices market.[39]

In January 2022, Los Angeles Times called Roku's software the "most popular television operating system in the U.S.", while reporting on Roku's focus on growing its own streaming channel.[40] In April 2022, Roku was said to be launching a new ad program to allow advertisers to serve "targeted ads in real time".[15] In May 2022, CNBC stated that research firm Conviva found Roku to be the market leader in U.S. TV streaming devices, while also reporting a new joint venture between Comcast and Charter.[41]

In January 2023, Variety reported Roku's claim of having more than 70 million customer accounts globally.[42] Another Variety article in the same month cited "TVision data" showing the Roku OS as leading the U.S. smart TV sector with a 36% share.[5] January 2023 also saw Roku's launch of its own smart TVs.[43] According to Variety in February 2024, Roku reported over 80 million customer accounts globally for the October-December 2023 period.[6]

Legacy products

Roku's consumer products included:

For retailers, Roku also produced:

Roku's audio products did not use internal storage but relied on Wi-Fi or Ethernet to stream digital audio over a network, either from Internet radio or a computer attached to the same network.[48][49] Roku introduced the Radio Roku Internet radio directory in August 2007; Radio Roku provides a directory of Internet stations, accessible from a web browser or from SoundBridge players.

Roku streaming players

The XD/S has HDMI and component output for high-definition video on new and older televisions.

Main article: Roku

Roku produces numerous set-top boxes for delivery of over-the-top content. Content is provided by Roku partners, identified using the "channel" vernacular. Each separate channel supports content from one partner, although some content partners have more than one channel. In May 2011, Roku stated the Streaming Players had over one million viewers and had delivered 15 million channel downloads.[citation needed]

Roku devices support both on-demand content and live streaming. For live TV streams, Roku supports Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) adaptive streaming technology. Both free and paid "channels" are available, as are some games. Roku Streaming Players are open-platform devices with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels.[50] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls "similar to Visual Basic".[51]

Roku TVs, Roku OS

Roku's uses its proprietary operating system, the Roku OS, as its software for streaming.[52] It licenses its streaming technology and the Roku OS to set-top box providers such as Sky and Telstra, and television manufacturers such as Aiwa, Daewoo, Element Electronics, Hisense, InFocus, JVC, Magnavox, Philips, RCA, Sansui, Sanyo, Sharp, TCL, Walmart's Onn, and Westinghouse.[53][54][55] It also offers a "Roku Channel Store" running on its streaming platform to distribute channels such as Netflix.[56]

Roku announced its first branded smart TV in early 2014 and it was released in late 2014. These TVs are manufactured by companies other than Roku, and use the Roku user interface as the "brain" of the TV. Roku TVs are updated in the same way as Roku's streaming devices, though on a slightly modified schedule due to the extra features and picture/audio adjustment options the Roku TV menu interface must support.[57] Several manufacturers offer added features for over-the-air reception for added cord-cutter value, including extended electronic program guides which provide more information than regularly sent by the PSIP protocol, and over-the-air program search integrated into the Roku search system. Also offered are program buffers and pausing with the use of a 16GB+ USB flash drive.

Roku Channel

Main article: The Roku Channel

Roku launched its own free, ad-supported streaming channel on its devices in 2017.[58] At launch it included licensed content from studios such as Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., Disney, and Universal Pictures, as well as from The Roku Channel content publishers American Classics, FilmRise, Nosey, OVGuide, Popcornflix, Vidmark, and YuYu. It implemented an ad revenue sharing model with content providers. On August 8, 2018, The Roku Channel became available on web as well.[59] Roku also added the "Featured Free" section as the top section of its main menu from where users can get access to direct streaming of shows and movies from its partners.[60] On April 7, 2020, The Roku Channel launched in the UK, with a different selection of movies and TV shows.[61] The Roku Channel is also available on other smart TV platforms such as Fire TV, Apple TV with AirPlay, Google TV, and Samsung TV.[62][63]

Roku Speakers, Roku Smart Home

In January 2018, Roku launched a licensing program allowing other manufacturers to use its soundbar and speaker designs, as well as the Roku operating system.[64] According to Variety in September 2019, Roku was introducing soundbar and subwoofer products to "marry TV streaming with smart sound".[18] In January 2023, CNN reported that Roku was introducing its "Roku Smart Home" line that included light strips, bulbs, security cameras and a video doorbell.[19] In May 2023, it was reported that home monitoring devices that could be accessed using a Roku device were added to Roku's Smart Home line.[65]


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