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Roku Signs Haier, Hitachi, Mitsubishi for Web-Enabled TVs

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Roku Inc., the Web-based video platform, will work with Haier Electronics Group Ltd., Hitachi America and Mitsubishi Electric to create televisions that can access online services like Netflix without a set-top box.

The Saratoga, California-based company’s partners include Element Electronics, Best Buy Inc.’s Insignia-brand products, Onkyo Corp., and the maker of Apex Digital televisions, Roku said in a statement today.

Roku, which makes a set-top box that competes with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. to deliver online movies and television shows to consumers, is lining up support from consumer-electronics companies for its planned Roku Streaming Stick. The USB-shaped device plugs into sets and uses the MHL wireless-streaming standard to connect to home networks for media downloads.

The company’s 500 entertainment partners include Netflix Inc.’s subscription streaming service, online retailer Amazon.com Inc., Hulu LLC and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO Go.

“Consumer electronics manufacturers recognize the value in making products that stream entertainment, yet it is very difficult for them to deliver and sustain a vibrant, robust streaming platform on their own,” Chas Smith, Roku’s vice president of business development, said in a statement. The Streaming Stick adds this capability “with virtually no overhead from manufacturers.”

Devices that accept the Roku Streaming Stick will feature a “Roku Ready” logo, and some may makers may choose to bundle it with their televisions, the company said. The company didn’t reveal pricing or say when the new products will be available. Roku sells its set-top boxes for $50 to $100.

Roku said last week that it raised $45 million in equity financing from investors including British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc and News Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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