Meet the man who killed the television industry. In the mid Nineties, while he was looking at a Fry’s ad, Anthony Wood invented the personal video recorder (PVR). From this epiphany, Wood founded ReplayTV in 1997, a PVR company which, for a short while, gave TiVO a run for its money.
But Wood not only invented the PVR, he also helped kill it. In 2002, after leaving ReplayTV, Wood founded Roku, a self-styled “cable killer” hardware company which provides a box for accessing on-demand video.
Almost ten years after founding Roku, Wood really is starting to scare the traditional cable industry. He’s already sold a million Roku boxes and streamed a billion minutes of content from Roku devices. And this year, Wood expects to sell a million and a half boxes, thus making Roku, Wood says, the 10th largest cable company in the US.
And that’s just the beginning. Wood’s goal is to control video access to the world – to be the “one box that rules them all.” The $100 billion question, however, is whether Roku can compete with Google and Apple when these giants really focus on refining the hardware that links the Internet with our screens.
So, will Roku, like ReplayTV, be a footnote to 21st century video content, or can it really be the box that rules them all?
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