Roku XDS ($99.99)
Roku, the maker of excellent streaming media players for the home, has just announced three new HD capable boxes all priced under $100. The new $59.99 Roku HD streams video in high-definition at up to 720p and features built-in wireless and Ethernet support. The $79.99 Roku XD and $99.99 Roku XDS both stream video at 1080p over HDMI and contain support for extended-range Wireless-N. At the top of the line, the XDS model has a USB port which will allow customers to play stored music, photos, and up to 1080p video using a USB playback channel (expected to be available in November 2010). The press materials don’t mention whether the USB playback channel will also be provided as a free upgrade to current Roku XR owners (which also has a dormant USB port).
When they aren’t rolling out new hardware, Roku is busy adding new channels to its lineup (which is up to about 50 now, though admittedly they aren’t all winners). Recent channel additions of note include the popular video sharing site Vimeo and cloud based music streaming service, MOG. As the Roku gets better and better, I’m more and more inclined to drop my cable service altogether (if they get a Hulu+ channel, I just might pull the trigger).
Boxee Box ($199.99)
In other streaming news, the much anticipated Boxee Box is available now for pre-order at amazon.com in the US and Best Buy and Future Shop in Canada. The Boxee Box is priced at $199.99 (USD) and is expected to ship in November (according to Engadget). Like the Roku, the Boxee box will play back video at 1080p, but it will also include a built-in WebKit browser and Flash support which will allow it to play most video available on the Web (whether or not it will support Hulu is another story).
Last but certainly not least, Apple recently announced a revamp to its long suffering AppleTV product. The new AppleTV actually looks pretty good, it’s attractively priced at $99.99, offers support for iTunes, Netflix and YouTube streaming and will play back video at 720p. Spec wise, the AppleTV is a lesser product than the Roku or the Boxee Box, but the sexy form factor, the Apple name and iTunes store support are enough to make it a formidable competitor in the streaming media arena.
Read the full Roku press release after the jump.
Roku Introduces New Line of HD Streaming Players Starting at $59.99
New XD and XDS models feature 1080p HD, Wireless-N, and Instant Replay
Saratoga, Calif. – September 23, 2010 – Roku, Inc., maker of the best-selling and award-winning Roku streaming player, introduced today its new product lineup, featuring improved performance and the lowest prices in the industry. With up to 1080p HD streaming support and Instant Replay, the new players are shipping immediately at prices starting from just $59.99. All models feature high-definition playback as well as support for older, standard definition TVs.
There are three new Roku models: the entry-level Roku HD at $59.99; the Roku XD with Wireless-N and 1080p, and the top-of-the-line Roku XDS, which adds dual-band wireless technology and extensive connectivity options for home entertainment systems.
All Roku players will continue to deliver the largest collection of streaming entertainment available for the TV, including over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Video On Demand; live and on-demand baseball from MLB.TV; music from Pandora, MP3tunes, MOG, and RadioTime; photo and video sharing from Flickr and Facebook; plus news and entertainment from thousands of sources around the world.
“We’re committed to delivering the best entertainment experience at the lowest price in the industry,” said Anthony Wood, founder and CEO of Roku, Inc. “Customers can now buy an HD-capable Roku player with wireless for 40% less than the price of our original $100 Roku HD player. Or, think of it this way: for around the price of two Blu-ray Discs, a Roku player brings you access to limitless instant streaming entertainment choices available today and in the future. It’s perfect for anyone who wants the most choice and control over their entertainment.”
The new $59.99 Roku HD streams video in high-definition at up to 720p, and features built-in wireless and Ethernet for easy broadband connectivity anywhere in the home. The small, sleek Roku HD is only 1 inch tall and less than 5 inches wide, so it fits anywhere and is tiny enough to take on a trip. A composite A/V cable is included so that it can connect to virtually any TV, including standard definition models. An HDMI port enables HD playback on HDTVs.
The new Roku XD ($79.99) and XDS ($99.99) models deliver the next level of streaming performance, with 1080p HD support (delivered over HDMI) and extended-range Wireless-N. In addition, the XDS model features dual-band Wireless-N technology, component video output, optical audio output, and a USB port. Over USB, customers will be able to play stored music, photos, and up to 1080p video using a USB playback channel, available as a free upgrade to XDS owners (expected to be available in November 2010).
Both XD and XDS models also feature an industry first in streaming devices for the TV: an innovative Instant Replay button on the remote, enabling the viewer to skip back in 7-second increments without having to wait for a rebuffering delay. It’s a convenience that until now has been limited to DVRs and other hard-drive based devices.
First introduced in May 2008, the Roku player provides an easy, affordable, and reliable way for hundreds of thousands of Netflix customers to watch movies and TV shows instantly on their TV. Since the launch of the Roku Channel Store last fall, all Roku customers now have access to over 85 channels from 50 unique content services, with more added all the time.
Pricing and availability
The new Roku HD is available for $59.99, while the XD and XDS models are available for $79.99 and $99.99 respectively. All three Roku players are available immediately at www.roku.com, and available for preorders at www.amazon.com.
About Roku, Inc.
The market leader in streaming entertainment devices for the TV, Roku has always believed that anything you want to watch, listen to, and enjoy should simply be there on your TV, whenever you want it. Roku streaming players are renowned for their simplicity, variety of entertainment choices, and exceptional value. Roku is privately held and based in Saratoga, Calif.
For more information on the company and its products, visit: http://www.roku.com.