Roku CEO: DVR is Dying Relic

Roku CEO: DVR is Dying Relic
Tom's Guide / Marshall Honorof

DVRs, cable boxes and DVD players could all disappear within the next decade or so, says Roku CEO Anthony Wood. Consumers are streaming more and more content from services like Netflix, and if Wood's reasoning is correct, this content will eventually supersede cable subscriptions, digital video recording and physical media entirely.

The information comes by way of an interview with Wood from the Associated Press. He believes that consumers' fascination with streaming content will eventually reach a point where traditional TV will feel too inefficient and restrictive for them.

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"It's pretty clear that all TV is going to be streamed," Wood said. "It's either going to be streamed to a smart TV, a gaming console or a streaming player." DVRs, therefore, will be unnecessary: if consumers stream all their content, recording shows becomes pointless. Likewise, DVDs and Blu-rays have little purpose in a constantly connected world where users can either own digital versions of movies or stream on-demand or as part of a subscription service.

What's harder to categorize is Wood's view on cable television, which he also believes is circling the drainpipe of media history. He has mixed opinions on the future of cable TV. On the one hand, Wood asserts that cable boxes are not long for this world, but also acknowledges that he is "not sure" where paid TV subscriptions will end up.

"The majority of [Roku] customers do have a pay-TV (cable or satellite) subscription, but a pretty good chunk doesn't. More than 60 percent have pay-TV. About 35 percent don't and they mostly just stream video."

The Roku was arguably the first mainstream standalone media streaming device, and it launched six years ago. Netflix's streaming component, one of the most popular content streaming services, is also effectively six years old. If 35 percent of Roku customers have embraced this mentality in only six years, it will be interesting to see how viewer habits change in another six years.

At present, most people who use streaming services do so in conjunction with a cable subscription (at least according to Wood's figures). If Wood is right, expect that number to diminish rapidly as streaming services pick up more steam and users realize they can get a lot of their favorite content for much less money.

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