With all the talk surrounding Apple's rumored television set, it's easy to glance over the other companies tackling the so-called "Smart TV" space.
Of all the connected TVs, Blu-Ray players, Google TV boxes, video game consoles, etc., Roku has one of the most popular devices out there.
And they say they're just barely beating Apple in the space, at least in terms of how many boxes they've sold so far in the U.S. (However, we couldn't confirm specific numbers, so take that claim with a grain of salt.)
We had a chance to sit down with Roku's CEO Anthony Wood to get a look at how the company plans to stand out in a space that seems to be getting pretty crowded all of the sudden.
Most importantly, Wood says Roku's goal isn't to convince people to cut the cord from their cable companies and start streaming web content instead. Unlike Boxee, which actively encourages its users to cut the cord, Wood sees Roku as a layer on top of cable that adds more on-demand content via apps like Hulu, Netflix, and Pandora.
And cable companies are pretty cool with it, Wood says, despite the fact that Roku's internal stats show about 20% of its users cut back on cable channels and another 20% completely cancel cable. Wood hinted that Roku was in talks with companies to pipe their content through the Roku box, just like Verizon's Fios and Comcast do through the Xbox.
We had a Roku for a few weeks and were delighted with the picture and its ability to stream flawlessly via the apps it provides. However, with a PC hardwired to a TV you have so much more selectivity when it comes to streaming content. As a sports fan I am able to seek out streams of everything I had on cable prior to dropping it.
So for me, I have to advocate the albeit dirtier, but far richer approach of tying a PC to your TV.