Roku raises $60 million, wants to become a smart TV platform

Roku has raised an additional $60 million in funding, and the company is now looking to make the jump from its companion boxes straight into the heart of the TV by providing consumer electronics makers with yet another choice for a smart TV platform. The funding round, which was first reported by AllThingsD, is led by new investor Fidelity. Hearst Corp. joins as a new investor, and existing investors BSkyB and News Corp. are back for more as well.

Roku’s own press release is rather vague about how the company intends to spend the money, but AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka got CEO Anthony Wood to open up a bit more:

“Wood says the new money will fund a new push for Roku – getting its new software installed as a de facto operating system for a new wave of smart TVs coming to the market.”

Roku’s core business has been its companion box, of which the company has sold more than five million in the U.S. so far. It branched out a bit with the introduction of the Roku streaming stick at the end of last year, which brings the same Roku streaming experience to a thumb drive-like stick that can be plugged into a TV’s MHL port.

The company has partnered with a number of smaller TV manufacturers to market their MHL-equipped TV sets as “Roku ready,” and one can expect that the company will try to supply at least some of these partners with an embedded version of its platform as well.

Roku’s most recent funding round brings the total amount raised to $130 million.