Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To the Point – Roku Updates Media Streaming Boxes

New Roku Lineup

Roku tipped their hand that a new media streamer hardware lineup was on the way with their price drops and a choice FCC leak recently.  Today Roku officially announced the new, slightly updated lineup for all to see.

Roku’s new Hardware includes:

  • Roku HD at $60 with 720p, Wi-Fi + Ethernet connectivity and HDMI
  • Roku XD at $80 that adds 1080p full HD video playback, instant replay button and Wireless N to the feature-set
  • Roku XD/S for $100 that adds dual-band wireless, component video & optical outputs and a USB port.

If it were me and I was simply looking for a good UI for my Netflix streaming, that Roku HD would fit the bill honestly.  Neither the XD or XD/S look like they will be competitive in the realm of streaming from your home collection like the WDTV Live Plus and SageTV HD300 are.  And seriously, how many 1080p online streaming videos have you seen lately?  Yeah, me neither.  Anyway, here’s a few interesting articles on the web from today that cover these new Roku’s:

ZatzNotFunny! covers the new hardware and I mostly agree with his buying advice:

“Anyone who currently owns a Roku, other than the SD model, really has no reason to upgrade at this time.”

“However if you’re primarily interested in economical and diverse local media playback (USB or LAN) that also happens to have some online streaming capabilities, the WDTV Live Plus is a better solution.”

Engadget has a good review of the Roku XD/S.  They generally like Roku as a whole and have some guarded praise of the more expensive XD/S:

“There's still some work to be done and more content partnerships to strike -- add in Hulu support and it's game over, guys -- but the Roku XDS is definitely worth a look if you need a streamer, and the oh-so-cheap Roku HD is probably worth a look even if you don't.”

Finally, NewTeeVee has a video showing the new hardware off along with a run-through of the changes from the now-older hardware.  They also go on with another video claiming that 12 percent of Roku customers cut the cord.  I guess that’s possible, but if you care at all about picture quality, content selection and LiveTV events such as sporting events or “gasp” realityTV you’ll still need at least over the air – and probably cable if you want the sports.  I say the same thing when talking about the AppleTV…

What do you think?  Is the Roku for you?  Or are you looking for something with more of a multiple personality like a Blu-ray Player, TV or more powerful media player/extender to handle your online media content streaming?

Check out the official Roku info at their website