updated 02:40 pm EDT, Tue September 28, 2010
Roku adds Hulu Plus this fall
Roku today landed a minor coup and confirmed the addition of Hulu Plus streaming to its media hub. The deal gives owners access to the same $10 service and its expanded show reach, including both ongoing seasons and an expanded back catalog. A channel for Hulu will reach all existing Roku hardware this fall.
The deal gives Roku an advantage over Apple in current TV shows, one which Roku was keen to flaunt in a chart (below). iTunes offers current shows in a similar timeframe to Hulu but has to charge per episode and can only offer its 99-cent TV rentals for ABC and Fox where NBC is included in Hulu Plus. The Roku devices also still have access to Netflix and Amazon's VOD content as well as cloud storage, news and add-on apps or programming.
Apple's main advantage is in local device sync. While a Roku XDS has a USB port for local content, the Apple TV can stream content from an iTunes source or from an iOS 4.2 device. As a more established company, it further has the advantage of scale and can sell devices in a wide network of stores where Roku has a much more limited presence. Roku so far has sold less than one million of its Internet Players.