Roku is still synonymous with its media devices, but you may have to shake that notion before long. Variety tipsters claim that Roku is planning a first move into streaming video on third-party hardware. Reportedly, it's negotiating rights to offer its ad-supported video beyond its own gear, with support "likely" coming first to mobile devices like phones and tablets. There's also the potential for adding additional channels, whether they're Roku-owned or from other companies. The mobile app could become more than a souped-up remote replacement -- you could use it to watch familiar programming when away from home.
To no one's surprise, Roku isn't commenting on the rumor. However, it may have given the game away in a job listing for an iOS engineer. The post indicates that Roku's mobile app is "on the cusp of a major expansion" and demands people experienced with iOS' media playback, which looks like streaming at first glance.
It wouldn't be a radical break for Roku to start streaming on other gadgets. The firm makes 41 percent of its revenue from ads and licensing, and this is an easy way boost that profit. More importantly, it would represent a major opportunity for Roku to reduce its dependence on hardware. Even with those extra sources of cash, Roku's financial health still revolves around the popularity of its media players. Spreading its video services to other products would give it less reason to panic if its hardware products flop.