Meet the man who killed the television industry. In the mid Nineties, while he was looking at a Fry’s ad, Anthony Wood invented the personal video recorder (PVR). From this epiphany, Wood founded ReplayTV in 1997, a PVR company which, for a short while, gave TiVO a run for its money.
But Wood not only invented the PVR, he also helped kill it. In 2002, after leaving ReplayTV, Wood founded Roku, a self-styled “cable killer” hardware company which provides a box for accessing on-demand video.
Almost ten years after founding Roku, Wood really is starting to scare the traditional cable industry. He’s already sold a million Roku boxes and streamed a billion minutes of content from Roku devices. And this year, Wood expects to sell a million and a half boxes, thus making Roku, Wood says, the 10th largest cable company in the US.
And that’s just the beginning. Wood’s goal is to control video access to the world – to be the “one box that rules them all.” The $100 billion question, however, is whether Roku can compete with Google and Apple when these giants really focus on refining the hardware that links the Internet with our screens.