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$50 Roku box offers 720p Netflix, Hulu, and new HBO GO

Oct 12, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Roku announced its lowest-cost streaming media player yet, also adding a new HBO GO service to its service line-up. The $50 Roku LT offers the same Linux-based operating system, Netflix support, 720p video playback quality, and support for 300 channels as the $60 Roku 2 HD, but jettisons the microSD port and Bluetooth connections, according to the company.

The Roku LT joins three revised Roku boxes released in July. The $60 Roku 2 HD supports 720p playback, while the Roku 2 XD ($80) moves up to 1080p, and the Roku 2 XS ($100) adds USB and Ethernet ports as well as a motion-control remote and Angry Birds.

Roku LT

The $50 Roku LT has only a basic remote, no USB or Ethernet, and abandons the microSD slot and Bluetooth connection found on the other three models. The loss of microSD could be important to some, as the Roku boxes offer no onboard storage.

The Roku LT does share the same 720p video playback quality as the Roku 2 HD, however, not to mention its support for some 300 channels. These are said to include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, EPIX, Crackle, and Disney. When the new HBO GO arrives later this month (see farther below), the players will have expanded to 320 channels, says Roku.

Like the Roku 2 devices, the Roku LT offers a Wi-Fi connection, HDMI output, and an A/V output for standard definition TVs, says Roku. The company did not offer detailed specs, but says the new device "looks very similar to the Roku 2 family." Those devices measure 3.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches, weigh three ounces, and typically consume less than two Watts during HD streaming, according to the company.

Roku 2 HD (Roku 2 XD looks identical)

HBO GO will arrive on Roku boxes later this month, representing Roku's second "authenticated channel" after its EPIX channel, according to the company. This means, that, in the case of HBO GO, access requires a separate HBO TV subscription. HBO Go is said to offer more than 1,400 HBO programming titles, including "every episode of every season of the best HBO shows."


The Roku IP set-top boxes (STBs) have been one of the best-selling Linux-based devices in history, along with the Kindle and the TiVO. (See our earlier Roku 2 coverage for background.) It competes with a variety of more expensive and more fully featured IP STBs, most of them based on Linux or Android, as seen in the "Related Stories" links below. One of its chief competitors is Apple's $99 Apple TV device.

Stated Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood, "The Roku LT opens up streaming to more people by lowering the cost of entry in these difficult economic times."


The Roku LT will be available in early November from, Amazon and at major retailers for $50. More information may be found at this Roku blog announcement.

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