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technology

Roku Is Working on a Wi-Fi Extender to Improve Video Streaming

Roku Is Working on a Wi-Fi Extender to Improve Video Streaming

  • Device is still in development, geared toward Roku products
  • Product would compete with devices from Amazon’s Eero, Netgear
Roku streaming stick
Roku streaming stick

Photographer: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Roku streaming stick

Photographer: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Roku Inc. is working on a new device to address a common problem with streaming TV set-top-boxes: video quality.

The company is developing a Wi-Fi extender called Roku Relay and is testing it internally, according to people familiar with the matter. The device increases the range of a Wi-Fi router, spreading internet signals further through homes so online video streams better through Roku boxes.

Roku hasn’t decided if or when it will sell the product, another person familiar with the matter said. The Roku Relay would compete with similar devices made by Netgear Inc., Amazon.com Inc.’s Eero and Linksys Group Inc. Roku, based in Los Gatos, California, declined to comment.

The white plastic device is about 6 inches tall, 4 inches wide and plugs into a wall outlet. It has a status button on the front along with the Roku logo and a reset button on the side, the people familiar with the device said. It’s designed to be placed between a Wi-Fi router and a Roku box and will work with iOS and Android apps for set up. It will also be compatible with TVs running Roku software, but not non-Roku products.

Roku, which went public in 2017, made 44% of its revenue last year, or $325 million, from hardware devices. The rest came from advertising, distributing content and selling licenses to third-party device makers.