NHL migrates to Roku TV platform

Another major sport has moved from the traditional broadcast platform to a direct-to-subscriber platform over the Internet. Roku, makers of set-top Internet boxes, got rid of the broadcast middlemen when they announced a new deal with the NHL.

Owners of Roku Internet set-top boxes will soon be able to stream content from the NHL GameCenter LIVE subscription service, which offers live broadcasts of up to 40 weekly out-of-market hockey games as well as on-demand access to NHL games 48 hours after broadcast. Also available are classic games from the 1960s through last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The service is priced at about $20 a month.

The coverage will begin on Roku this winter. Boxee, a competitor, began carrying NHL Center last April. Its new set-top box just hit store shelves. Fans can also have the service on their Apple iPad or Sony Playstation.

“We are continuing to respond to the convergence of technology, media and consumer behavior,” said Perry Cooper, NHL’s senior vice president of digital media. “With this announcement, we are able to deliver NHL GameCenter LIVE and NHL Vault to Roku’s consumer base and significantly broaden the availability of our products to our fans in the United States.”

The NHL joins the MLB and Ultimate Fighting Championship as sport entities streaming live event content via Roku boxes. The NBA also offers its NBA Game Time application on Roku players, providing users with video highlights of every game, real-time access to game summaries, complete player statistics and access to news.

Roku recently launched its new line of HD-capable streaming players starting at $59.99. Almost all of the games on NHL GameCenter LIVE will be available in HD.