Roku not backing Google and TiVo on FCC set-top proposal

Despite its position as a leading manufacturer and service provider for third-party devices that work in the pay-TV ecosystem, Roku says it is not backing the FCC's controversial new proposal to break up the set-top leasing business.

"We have not been advocating for a rule making in this area at this time," said Roku rep Tricia Mifsud to Investors Business Daily. "While we are known for selling streaming players, it is only one area of our business. Customers also access our platform through smart TVs and streaming players that operators deploy."

Roku reps have not yet responded to FierceCable's request to further elaborate on this position.

Google and TiVo have emerged as leading lobbying forces behind FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal, which aims to enable set-tops made by third-party manufacturers to work with cable, satellite and telco MVPD subscriptions. 

Pay-TV operators contend that their delivery technology is already headed toward an "app-based," IP-only paradigm, in which third-party streaming devices like Roku replace traditional set-tops. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) is currently testing out such a service in New York and is offering a free Roku box to participants. 

"In addition to Time Warner Cable, we also have a similar arrangement with Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) where they are buying streaming players to offer in a bundle," Mifsud added. "Overseas, we have partnerships with Sky in several countries and Telstra where we have licensed use of our platform and they have deployed their streaming video services to co-branded streaming players."

Speaking out against the FCC's proposal in a Tuesday press conference, NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell attempted to isolate Google and TiVo as the sole backers of Wheeler's plan.

"You don't see large consumer electronics brands expressing interest in this," he said. And you don't see companies like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Roku making comments."

For more:
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