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Next TV Summit: Roku CEO Sees Virtual MSO Coming

San Francisco -- Internet set-top startup Roku has been in talks with major U.S. companies that are interested in offering a stripped-down bundle of TV content, delivered over broadband, to reach consumers who don't want to pay for traditional cable or satellite service, Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood said.

"In the next 12 months in the U.S. you'll start to see a virtual MSO, a pay-TV package distributed over the Internet through devices like Roku," said Wood, speaking at Multichannel News/B&C Next TV Summit here. "Companies are trying to figure out how to reach a different class of customer, maybe who don't have cable TV."

Roku, which sells low-cost set-tops for streaming Internet video, has been in discussions with several companies that "have aspirations" of being a virtual MSOs, Wood said. He expects incumbent players that already have billion-dollar content deals to step up to the plate first.

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