Roku’s new third-party app service fires a shot across Chromecast’s bow

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Roku is taking things up a notch in the battle for over-the-top (OTT) superiority, adding a protocol to its devices that will allow users to stream content from third-party apps on their smartphone or tablet, a feature already available on Google’s new streaming argonaut, Chromecast.

The protocol, called Discovery And Launch Protocol (DIAL), will allow Roku to offer even more content from its devices by integrating its ample catalog of native apps with a select number of third-party streaming apps, beamed straight from your Android or iOS device. The addition of DIAL will presumably allow Roku to add third-party apps from big players like Netflix, and possibly even Google-owned Youtube, which Roku currently does not carry. No word yet on when the new service will be available.

In an interview with Multichannel News, Roku CEO Anthony Wood essentially laid down the gauntlet at Google’s feet, painting the tech supergiant as its primary competition going forward. Wood believes Roku has a leg up on newcomers to the marketplace, even those as powerful as Google, thanks to his company’s expansive foundation of streaming apps that now numbers in the thousands.

Apart from hardware like the Roku set top boxes and streaming stick, the company also sees a future for integrating its services in Smart TVs, and Wood said that Roku is currently working on licensing deals to make that happen.

The addition of DIAL is just the latest in a flurry of recent OTT announcements, such as Samsung’s new cable-integrated Smart Media Player, and a new software update to Apple TV. Time will tell which company will come out at the top of the OTT heap, but the competition seems to be working in everyone’s favor. Roku reported a jump in sales coinciding with the release of Chromecast, as Google brought its massive audience into the OTT fray. For now, with so many choices and new innovations emerging in the video streaming marketplace, the real winner appears to be the consumer.

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