Once a darling tech pick on Wall Street and described as a growth stock that savvy investors should own, Roku
On Wednesday, Comcast announced its Xfinity Flex streaming box will become free for its Internet-only subscribers, slashing the price from $5 per month to zero. The Xfinity Flex connected box aggregates content from popular streaming platforms including Netflix
Also on Wednesday, Facebook unveiled its new Portal TV product, a device that turns most TVs into a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger video chat channel through an HDMI connection. It also allows video streaming from Amazon Video, Facebook Watch, Showtime, and Starz. The Portal TV aims to make Facebook's hardware cheaper and more immersive by taking over screens that users already own. The Portal system lacks streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, so it does not directly compete with Roku. But Portal TV adds a social aspect to the TV experience by allowing connected users to play games or watch shows on Facebook Watch together. For privacy, the Portal TV lets users cover the camera and switch off the microphone. The flagship Portal TV device costs $149, while the 8-inch Portal Mini costs $129 for a sleek, minimalist size.
The moves by Comcast and Facebook, though worrying, might ultimately matter little to Roku. Their success depends on how many consumers are willing to switch to Comcast broadband service or buy a new Facebook TV device. In response, Roku unveiled a new device lineup on Thursday, updating its Roku Express and Ultra players and introducing a Roku Express exclusively for Walmart
The author owns a small long position in AAPL and WMT.
- 1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/20/pivotal-says-sell-roku-stock-cost-of-streaming-devices-to-zero.html
- 2. https://corporate.comcast.com/press/releases/comcast-xfinity-flex-internet-customers-free-4k-streaming
- 3. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/18/facebook-introduces-portal-tv-streaming-device.html?
- 4. https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/19/roku-unveils-a-new-streaming-player-lineup-plus-roku-os-9-2-launch/