Roku actually got its start from Netflix in late 2007. Netflix was about to release its own streaming service set-top box when the CEO wondered what would happen if Netflix released the box and other devices, such as DVD players or game systems, would not allow Netflix to run on their devices.
This became the idea that is now called Roku. Roku devices stream Netflix, as well as other channels and services directly to customer’s TV sets. The device has been through multiple changes, with each new update being called a “generation.” Currently, the latest model is the 7th generation, released in September 2018.
Roku is actively searching for more media companies to put their content on their platform, with a portion of the ad revenue benefiting Roku. The company already has a large number of providers that stream on Roku including Hulu, Amazon Video, PlayStation Vue, Redbox, YouTube, and Time Warner Cable.
In 2017, a Mexican court banned the sale of Roku products after Mexican TV station Televisa complained that the devices were easily hacked and allowed subscription channels to be illegally streamed. Roku made changes to their devices and the ban was lifted in late 2018.
Company headquarters are located in the same building as NetFlix, in Los Gatos, California.