Acorn TV Streaming in Mexico — via Banned Roku Devices?

NEWS ANALYSIS — Acorn TV, RLJ Entertainment’s streaming service for British and international television content, June 5 announced its availability in Mexico.

Consumers can subscribe to the service via the Roku streaming player or Roku TV. Content will be in English with Spanish subtitles. The streaming service is available for MXN $89 per month.

“Launching [in Mexico] with … Roku reflects our priority of accelerating the expansion of our distribution footprint,” Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJ Entertainment, said in a statement.

Except that Roku players have been banned for sale in Mexico since the summer of 2017.

At issue are allegations by Cablevision claiming third-party hackers have created apps on Roku to pirate their content. The Fourteenth District Judge in Civil Matters in Mexico City agreed last summer, invoking a country-wide ban that Roku has twice failed to overturn on appeal — most-recently in March.

Mario Antonio Gonzalez Martinez, a lawyer representing Roku, claims the ban unfairly targets the streaming media device pioneer while doing little to curb piracy.

“This blocking will directly affect Mexican consumers who want to buy a Roku device to see great content, legal, on their television, at affordable prices,” Gonzalez Martinez said in a statement to

“It is necessary for Roku to make adjustments to its software, as other online content distribution platforms do, so that violations of copyrighted content do not take place,” Cablevision said in a statement.

Roku said it eliminates apps suspected of pirating content. Walmart, Best Buy and Office Depot have joined Roku in lobby efforts to overturn the ban. Roku, together with Netflix, helped create the SVOD business model with a branded Netflix device in 2008.

“Roku is not the cause, nor the source of piracy that is carried out by third parties illegally in Mexico,” said Gonzalez Martinez.

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