Anthony Wood, the founder and creator of the ReplayTV digital television recorder, unveiled Roku (Palo Alto, CA, U.S.), his latest consumer electronics venture.
With the new privately held company, Mr. Wood hopes to target a high-end market of big screen TV buyers that may also want to use the advanced visual quality of the screen to display more than just programming.
For approximately U.S. $500, the company’s first product, the HD1000 media player, connects to any HDTV and offers a high-resolution canvas for digital media such as photos, art, music, or other media applications.
Mr. Wood said he expects to sell 20,000 units of the device in the product's first year at specialty electronics retail stores such as Magnolia Hi-Fi and Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. Mr. Wood said he specifically chose specialty retailers to distribute the devices because employees will have more time to explain the machine's function to consumers—as opposed to high-traffic stores like Best Buy Co. Inc.
"We are worried that it is not going to sell through fast enough at Best Buy," Mr. Wood said in a Reuters report. "At Tweeter, the customer will see our stuff and say, 'Yeah, I want that too.'"
"Our goal isn't to sell millions of units right away; it is to make money this year," he added. "We think that we can by being very targeted in the market."
Mr. Wood's last invention, the ReplayTV digital video recorder (DVR), first unveiled in 1998, is just starting to hit a mainstream stride. In 2002, Mr. Wood left ReplayTV, which is now owned by Digital Networks North America, a subsidiary of D&M Holdings.
Unlike ReplayTV, the Roku device does not include a hard drive or any kind of recording option. The HD1000 takes most flash memory cards, including CompactFlash, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick, and can be linked to home computer networks. Software available for the device include images of classic works of art for about $70.
Mr. Wood says other products are currently in the works at Roku. (Reuters)
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