TiVo will make the premium online video service available to its Premiere digital video recorder subscribers, while Roku will offer it via its media player that streams web content to a digital TV.
Roku and TiVo will offer Hulu's premium online video service through their respective TV-connected hardware, giving customers access to some of their favorite sitcoms and dramas on the Internet.
TiVo will make Hulu Plus available to subscribers of its Premiere digital video recorders, while Roku will offer the service through its media player that streams web content to a digital TV. TiVo and Roku are expected to offer Hulu's paid service sometime this fall.
Hulu launched the premium service in beta in June, planning to charge a subscription fee while also running advertising. To entice potential customers, Hulu, which is co-owned by News Corp., NBC Universal and The Walt Disney Co., plans to offer the full season of some popular TV shows, including "Modern Family," "Glee," "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Grey's Anatomy." The site will also offer back seasons of many classic shows.
The number of new TV shows easily available on the web pales in comparison to what's available on pay TV. Nevertheless, the amount of content is increasing, making the web a stronger competitor, but not necessarily a winner. In order to maximize profits, TV production companies and Hollywood studios are not expected to enter deals that would undermine the far more lucrative cable TV and DVD businesses.
Roku, which launched its media player in 2008, has deals with other content providers on the Web, including Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Pandora Internet radio, Major League Baseball TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The company's players start at $60.
TiVo introduced the Premiere DVR in March. Besides offering online video, the Internet-connected set-top box also includes a platform for running third-party applications. Pricing for the Premiere starts at $300.
With both devices, subscriptions to web content have to be purchased separately. Roku and TiVo announced the Hulu deal separately on Tuesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.
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