We reported yesterday that Apple is rumored to be adding Chromecast-esque media sharing functionality to its Apple TV in an update next week. Now CNET is reporting that Roku is doing the same, allowing users to stream content directly from third-party mobile apps:
The new Roku feature — known as discovery and launch protocol (DIAL) — will essentially turn a user’s smartphone into a remote control. While Roku’s iOS app and its Android app can already do this, the added feature will let users stream video from third-party apps. Chromecast currently does this with Netflix and YouTube. It’s unclear what apps will be able to do this for Roku, but the device’s current native apps, which include one from Netflix, greatly outnumber Chromecast. Yet, Roku still does not have an app for YouTube, a longtime shortcoming for the device.
No word yet on when the new DIAL feature will appear, but this new feature — along with Apple’s new “Communication Function,” whatever it ends up being called — certainly do make the media streamer landscape more interesting. Neither Apple TV nor Roku can compete with Chromecast in terms of price (although Roku definitely comes closer), but both are way ahead of Google’s streaming dongle in terms of app support. But by mimicking Chromecast’s most appealing features (aside from browser mirroring), both Apple and Roku are making the price divide a little less important. Multichannel News is also reporting that Roku has intentions to steal a little of Google’s thunder in another key area, too:
TV integration is also a market that Roku is likewise pursuing to help drive growth, starting with the Roku Streaming Stick and, later, by stitching the Roku platform inside the TVs themselves. Roku hasn’t announced any deals involving the latter strategy, but the company is “working behind the scenes” to make that happen, Wood said. “We think we are well ahead of Google in terms of licensing.”