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Level 7

Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

When I first got Roku they were touting that they are neutral platform.  I was able to get a bunch of different Channels.  I was able to get HBO Go or Now, DC Universe, Netflix, Amazon Prime, MotorTrend app, with a number of other channels.  It became my go to device to get these apps on my TVs.  Now out of nowhere they are not allowing channels on their devices.  HBO Max and Peacock are two that I would have on release but Roku is not allowing them.  I am now feeling like they promised me one thing and now are not delivering on the promise.  Now I have to find a new device but not of the other devices were as open as Roku was when I started using them but I will have to find one that will carry maybe all the apps that I currently use and the ones I want to use.

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Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

@Venomspawn wrote:

When I first got Roku they were touting that they are neutral platform.  I was able to get a bunch of different Channels.  I was able to get HBO Go or Now, DC Universe, Netflix, Amazon Prime, MotorTrend app, with a number of other channels.  It became my go to device to get these apps on my TVs.  Now out of nowhere they are not allowing channels on their devices.  HBO Max and Peacock are two that I would have on release but Roku is not allowing them.  I am now feeling like they promised me one thing and now are not delivering on the promise.  Now I have to find a new device but not of the other devices were as open as Roku was when I started using them but I will have to find one that will carry maybe all the apps that I currently use and the ones I want to use.


Not sure why you are capitalizing "neutral" as if its somehow meaningful or significant or perhaps the name of a country - but if you were to look up the definition of the word you might see something very close to "not helping/preferring either side in a conflict/dispute/contest". 

One cannot, by definition, be neutral in a conflict one is engaged in (Roku is one of the sides in the conflict) - that would be nonsensical of course.  (It would be akin to insisting that the US vowed to be a "neutral" during WW2, and but then taking umbrage with the fact they declared war and officially entered it after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor...)

That being said, I'm pretty confident that at the time you purchased your Roku(s), neither you or Roku signed a contract or otherwise came to any sort of agreement that stated anything close to "Roku shall provide unfettered unlimited unrestricted access to any app Venonspawn wants at any time for any reason or for any usage"  (that'd be a great/wonderful/amazing contract/agreement by the way, which is why its relegated to fantasy only).  They never promised you this, or anything remotely (pun intended) close to it.

They've never been "neutral" if by that you mean "not selective/restrictive of the apps they allow on their platform" - they've always maintained authority/control over their app store (as do other "app store" providers) and have at times "publicly" exerted it (e.g. removing some private channels (apps) back in 2017: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/16/roku-cracks-down-on-private-channels/ ).  So if they've been known to purge/prevent app/services from using their platform for years, it cannot be "out of nowhere" that they started to do so.

And while I can understand your desire for an "open" platform, it is arguable whether Roku has ever quite been that either - while they do have a published SDK, they dont allow unrestricted app/software installation on their devices:  developers have to publish through Roku (no direct device access except for development/testing and even then its limited/restricted), and end-users cannot install (or "side-load") whatever software they want (no option to allow third-party/unknown/unrestricted app/software, and no direct device access, unless they enable restricted developer mode).

And while its understandable that you (and others) want "One Streamer Platform To Rule Them All!", your recent desire/intent to find and use other streamer platforms is more rational and reasonable and encouraged - each platform has advantages and limitations, and these can/do change at any time (e.g. OS/app firmware/software updates, carriage disputes, licensing/Terms of Service changes, platform server/service inaccessibility, "openness", etc).

Considering the relative inexpensiveness of obtaining competing platform devices (e.g. you can get the Amazon FireTV Stick 4k for $25, or the TiVo Stream 4K for $50, or the Xiaomi Mi Box 2 4K for $50) there is no reason not to insulate yourself against this or future carriage disputes (or bad OS/app updates) and save yourself current/future frustration.  I recommend getting at least 3 different platform devices (one of which is Android/Android TV based with third-party/"side-loading" app capability) to cover all potential/likely scenarios.

 

 

 

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Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

I love the walls of text you Roku apologists type. It's both enraging and entertaining at the same time. That can't be easy to come up with content like that. Smiley LOL

Highlighted
Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

Generally speaking, "apologists" dont point out limitations of the platform/product/service and encourage the buying/obtaining/using of competitor's products, but I'll let you process & explain that logic otherwise...

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Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?


@StreamerUser wrote:

Not sure why you are capitalizing "neutral" as if its somehow meaningful or significant or perhaps the name of a country - but if you were to look up the definition of the word you might see something very close to "not helping/preferring either side in a conflict/dispute/contest". 

One cannot, by definition, be neutral in a conflict one is engaged in (Roku is one of the sides in the conflict) - that would be nonsensical of course.  (It would be akin to insisting that the US vowed to be a "neutral" during WW2, and but then taking umbrage with the fact they declared war and officially entered it after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor...)

That being said, I'm pretty confident that at the time you purchased your Roku(s), neither you or Roku signed a contract or otherwise came to any sort of agreement that stated anything close to "Roku shall provide unfettered unlimited unrestricted access to any app Venonspawn wants at any time for any reason or for any usage"  (that'd be a great/wonderful/amazing contract/agreement by the way, which is why its relegated to fantasy only).  They never promised you this, or anything remotely (pun intended) close to it.

They've never been "neutral" if by that you mean "not selective/restrictive of the apps they allow on their platform" - they've always maintained authority/control over their app store (as do other "app store" providers) and have at times "publicly" exerted it (e.g. removing some private channels (apps) back in 2017: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/16/roku-cracks-down-on-private-channels/ ).  So if they've been known to purge/prevent app/services from using their platform for years, it cannot be "out of nowhere" that they started to do so.

And while I can understand your desire for an "open" platform, it is arguable whether Roku has ever quite been that either - while they do have a published SDK, they dont allow unrestricted app/software installation on their devices:  developers have to publish through Roku (no direct device access except for development/testing and even then its limited/restricted), and end-users cannot install (or "side-load") whatever software they want (no option to allow third-party/unknown/unrestricted app/software, and no direct device access, unless they enable restricted developer mode).

And while its understandable that you (and others) want "One Streamer Platform To Rule Them All!", your recent desire/intent to find and use other streamer platforms is more rational and reasonable and encouraged - each platform has advantages and limitations, and these can/do change at any time (e.g. OS/app firmware/software updates, carriage disputes, licensing/Terms of Service changes, platform server/service inaccessibility, "openness", etc).

Considering the relative inexpensiveness of obtaining competing platform devices (e.g. you can get the Amazon FireTV Stick 4k for $25, or the TiVo Stream 4K for $50, or the Xiaomi Mi Box 2 4K for $50) there is no reason not to insulate yourself against this or future carriage disputes (or bad OS/app updates) and save yourself current/future frustration.  I recommend getting at least 3 different platform devices (one of which is Android/Android TV based with third-party/"side-loading" app capability) to cover all potential/likely scenarios.


 Paid by the word, huh?

Highlighted
Level 12

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

I suspect he capitalized Neutral because of the article that came out today.

'Again, Roku has every right to play hardball with content providers. The company has created a valuable and popular platform for streaming video, and monetizing that platform is its job. But let’s no longer be under any illusions that Roku is a neutral party. As the situations with HBO Max and NBCUniversal make clear, Roku is using its power to drive usage of the Roku Channel, even if content providers have no interest in supporting it.'

https://www.techhive.com/article/3568168/rokus-neutral-platform-days-are-over.html

 

 

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Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?


@BarneyF wrote:


 Paid by the word, huh?


An odd statement to make, considering you Kudo'ed the same ideas/multi platform advocacy I stated elsewhere last Friday:

https://community.roku.com/t5/Channel-Issues-Questions/First-HBO-Max-Now-Peacock-Roku-needs-to-be-mo...

Perhaps you have since changed your mind, both about multi-platform usage, and post verbosity, considering the number and frequency of your posts as compared to mine:

https://community.roku.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/172281

https://community.roku.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/227478

You've been registered/posting for less than 1/4 of the time I have, yet you have nearly twice as many posts - of the two of us, you are clearly the more likely "paid poster", but this just demonstrates the pervasiveness of projection...

 

 

Highlighted
Level 11

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?


@shelleyp wrote:

I suspect he capitalized Neutral because of the article that came out today.

'Again, Roku has every right to play hardball with content providers. The company has created a valuable and popular platform for streaming video, and monetizing that platform is its job. But let’s no longer be under any illusions that Roku is a neutral party. As the situations with HBO Max and NBCUniversal make clear, Roku is using its power to drive usage of the Roku Channel, even if content providers have no interest in supporting it.'

https://www.techhive.com/article/3568168/rokus-neutral-platform-days-are-over.html


Doesn't really explain it, and as I already stated, they've never been neutral with regards to app availability/access - Roku controls their app store , and can and does limit/restrict apps on their platform as they see fit, and has, from day 1 - with no easy ability for third party/unknown/uncertified/untrusted apps to be installed by the user (unlike some other platforms).

This carriage dispute isnt even remotely (pun again) close to their first (there have been plenty before), but because most have been with small minor entities that many might perhaps frown upon (as opposed to huge corporate behemoths) and for reasons other than ad/sub re-selling revenue, the affected userbase, and thus media attention, has been little to none.

However, with regards to the article, a more interesting quote is the following:

“We are a neutral OTT platform, making us an attractive partner,” Roku told shareholders last year. “We do not focus on competing with content publishers on our platform, but instead, look to partner with publishers to their audiences and maximize our mutual success.”

Though it is actually incompletely quoted from their May 2019 shareholder statement, here is the rest:

"Unlike rival platforms, we have not developed original programming and do not have our own subscription service or video on-demand store. Nor do we compete directly with our retailers or our TV brand partners. We also endeavor to build trust with our users by providing unbiased search results and recommendations."

They (Roku) actually specify exactly what they mean by "neutral":  not developing original Roku programming, no Roku subscription service/video on demand store, dont directly compete in retail or with brand partners, no biased search results.

Now, if someone has an example of their behaving contrary to these statements then its cause for condemnation/criticism etc - but it certainly doesnt describe or undermine their most recent carriage disputes with large corporate content owners/providers with new subscription services etc (where ads/ad-revenue shares are a significant issue, along with re-selling and promotion of subs).

If someone had/has their own idea of Roku's "neutrality" contrary to the explicit statements from Roku themselves in the past, then its understandable they might be upset and confused - but it doesnt change the fact that carriage disputes have been here from the get-go (for one reason or another) with Roku through their control and authority over the Roku Channel Store (and with no official ability to install third party/etc apps outside it), and will be here increasingly as OTT streaming and streaming ad-revenue grow.

No amount of bemoaning (right or wrong) whether or not Roku or Amazon or any other platform is neutral or open or closed, or is behaving different now than they did years ago, or changed their position over time, is going to change that fact.  I am not aware of one instance where a motivated class/group of consumers/customers involved in a cable/satellite/etc carriage dispute was able to affect the outcome (despite efforts by all and more parties involved).

With that in mind, the best way for any consumer/customer of any current and future streaming service/content provider to insulate themselves from the effects of carriage disputes (and other platform-based issues, like really poor OS/app upgrades (ahem) etc) is to have access to multiple streaming platforms. I recommend at least 3 different platforms (one being Android/Android TV based with the ability to "side-load" apps)  Streamers are relatively inexpensive, and can be had for $25 (e.g. Amazon FireTV 4k Stick)-$50 (e.g. TiVo Stream 4K, Xiaomi Mi Box S 4K).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlighted
Level 12

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?


@StreamerUser wrote:

Doesn't really explain it, and as I already stated, they've never been neutral with regards to app availability/access - Roku controls their app store , and can and does limit/restrict apps on their platform as they see fit, and has, from day 1 - with no easy ability for third party/unknown/uncertified/untrusted apps to be installed by the user (unlike some other platforms).

This carriage dispute isnt even remotely (pun again) close to their first (there have been plenty before), but because most have been with small minor entities that many might perhaps frown upon (as opposed to huge corporate behemoths) and for reasons other than ad/sub re-selling revenue, the affected userbase, and thus media attention, has been little to none.

However, with regards to the article, a more interesting quote is the following:

“We are a neutral OTT platform, making us an attractive partner,” Roku told shareholders last year. “We do not focus on competing with content publishers on our platform, but instead, look to partner with publishers to their audiences and maximize our mutual success.”

Though it is actually incompletely quoted from their May 2019 shareholder statement, here is the rest:

"Unlike rival platforms, we have not developed original programming and do not have our own subscription service or video on-demand store. Nor do we compete directly with our retailers or our TV brand partners. We also endeavor to build trust with our users by providing unbiased search results and recommendations."

They (Roku) actually specify exactly what they mean by "neutral":  not developing original Roku programming, no Roku subscription service/video on demand store, dont directly compete in retail or with brand partners, no biased search results.

Now, if someone has an example of their behaving contrary to these statements then its cause for condemnation/criticism etc - but it certainly doesnt describe or undermine their most recent carriage disputes with large corporate content owners/providers with new subscription services etc (where ads/ad-revenue shares are a significant issue, along with re-selling and promotion of subs).


Pushing back, on all of this.

Roku now pushes content from its Roku channel whenever you search for content. Roku is demanding not just a fee, but access to subscriber data by demanding that companies allow them to host the channel. Roku is also demanding the ability to insert their own ads from their own network.

And yes, there's even been rumors that Roku may be exploring creating its own content, which seems to be the only thing you're using as a way of saying "they're neutral".

Wanting to grab a piece of the user data or the ad space is not the behavior of a neutral platform or party. And because of this, we don't have HBO Max, and we don't have Peacock. And, most likely, we'll start running into problems with other services in the future. CBS is redesigning it's All Access, and I expect this service will be the next one running into the user data/ad space demands.

Whether you're sympathetic to Roku or not, it's important to realize that this is a contention between the services over specific data or ad space. That's not neutral. And it does impact on we, the customers of both.

 

 

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Level 12

Re: Why did Roku change their stance on being Neutral?

Good to see the people who love Comcast and AT&T with such passion trolling these forums again.

Just a reminder, Roku does not create its own content nor is it a non-profit. 

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