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STB vendor spins $80 Netflix player

Oct 30, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Roku, Inc. announced two new models to join its $100 Linux-based Roku HD digital media player. The $80, DVD-quality Roku SD and the 802.11n-enabled $130 Roku HD-XR support streaming video playback from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and MLB.TV, says the company.

Roku announced its hackable, Linux-based Roku-HD1000 IP set-top player in Jan. 2004, shipping the device soon thereafter. Last year, the company recast the player as a much smaller, and not so hackable, $100 Roku NetFlix Player (pictured at right), co-branded with the NetFlix movie service.

Now that Roku has signed deals to also supply Roku players with Amazon Video On Demand and MLB.TV content, the box has apparently been rebranded the Roku HD.

A spokesperson has confirmed that all three models use embedded Linux. They all measure 5.0 x 5.0 x 1.75 inches, ship with a remote control, and offer a minimum of DVD-quality video. They also supply an Ethernet port and 802.11b/g WiFi, as well as composite video and audio outputs.

The two HD models add an HDMI port, plus component and S-Video outputs, and can play 720p, pseudo-HD video, says Roku. As a result, peak power consumption rises from five Watts to six Watts.

The new HD-XR is similar to the HD model, except for the addition of 802.11n WiFi capability, which is said to offer better connectivity, range, and wireless performance when connecting to 802.11n routers, says Roku.

Roku HD-XR

In addition, a USB port is also provided on the XR version, "for future use," says Roku. None of the Roku models currently offer storage capabilities, which seems to suit the company's content partners just fine.

Content for all the devices includes 17,000 Netflix movies and TV shows, and 45,000 Amazon Video On Demand titles, including 1,000 titles in HD. Since this summer, Roku also offers the MLB.TV service, delivering live and on-demand baseball.

Roku will launch the Roku Channel Store later this fall, enabling customers to add new content channels, says the company. The Roku Channel Store will be offered as a free update.

Stated Anthony Wood, founder and CEO of Roku, Inc., "The Roku HD-XR is one of the first Netflix-streaming devices to embed next generation 802.11n dual-band wireless connectivity, making it easier and more reliable than ever to start enjoying movies, TV shows, sports and the best online content available, all on the living room TV."


All three Roku players are available now at Roku, here, as well as at Amazon, here, and for a limited time the players are offered with free shipping. Prices are $80 (SD), $100 (HD), and $130 (HD-XR), says Roku.

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