Roku

Roku's streaming devices and streaming platform have long made it easy to organize streaming apps. Now, Roku is hoping that you'll let it organize your subscription payments, too. Roku is rolling out direct subscription options for select major streaming services, including Showtime and Starz.

If you subscribe to Showtime, Starz, and/or other supported streaming services via Roku's platform, you'll get a month-long free trial. You'll also be able to access your premium content through The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel is Roku's app for its own platform. At launch, it featured free streaming content with ads. The Roku Channel already aggregates content from other services and content providers, such as free service Popcornflix. Now, The Roku Channel will also integrate content from premium subscriptions that users opt to add to their Roku account. Roku will make money off of the subscriptions that it handles.

To be clear, the Roku platform itself will remain free. For those who are happy with how things are, nothing needs to change. But users who want to do so will be able to use their Roku account as a billing and The Roku Channel as a content discovery hub for services that they choose to subscribe to.

If this sounds familiar, that's probably because this model is very similar to that of Apple's TV app. The TV app, which runs on Apple products like the Apple TV 4K, aggregates free content and offers paid content through premium subscriptions, which are billed through an Apple account if users opt in. Also similar is Amazon's Amazon Channels model: Amazon Channels are add-on subscriptions to services like Showtime, and the content from those subscriptions is integrated into Amazon Video offerings on Fire TV or within the Amazon Video app on other platforms.

Roku's own subscription hub model is just getting started, and currently lacks one of the big boys: HBO. Netflix isn't available, either, but that's typical — you can't bill Netflix through Amazon or Apple, either.