Roku, makers of the popular Roku Digital Video Player set-top box, announced new hardware options just in time for the holiday shopping season. The new options include a lower priced, SD-only $80 option, while a new higher-end device will sell for $130. The company is also readying its Roku Channel Store, which will bring even more content to a collection that already includes Netflix streaming, Amazon Video on Demand, and MLB.tv.
First up is the hardware. For those on a budget, or those that don’t plan on getting an HDTV anytime soon, there is the Roku SD. This box is a simplified version that is only capable of SD resolution, and limits the output to composite video and analog stereo audio. Networking options include Ethernet and 802.11b/g WiFi, and it sells for $20 less than its older cousin at $79.99.
For those with a higher-end A/V setup, Roku is launching the Roku HD-XR. This is device is quite similar to the original Roku Digital Video Player, which is now branded Roku HD. It can stream SD and HD content, and comes with a full array of ports, including composite, S-video, component, and HDMI ports, as well as analog stereo and optical digital audio ports. The main addition to the Roku HD-XR is 802.11n wireless networking and a USB port “for future use.” This upgraded version sells for $129.99.On the left, the simplified Roku SD. On the right, the new Roku HD-XR, with a full array of A/V ports.
The Roku HD, with 802.11b/g wireless and no USB port, currently remains in the line-up at $99.99. All three come in identical, unassuming cases that aren’t much larger than a stack of CDs. For holiday shoppers ordering directly from Roku or via Amazon, there’s free shipping for a limited time.
“We’re introducing a breakthrough price point with the launch of our Roku SD player,” Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement. “Additionally the Roku HD-XR is the first Netflix-streaming device 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.”
Later this fall, the company will also roll out its Roku Channel Store. This will allow users to add additional “channels” (think sources) of streaming content, some of which may be free, some which may require a subscription or other payment. A Roku spokesperson confirmed to Ars that channels that will launch soon include Revision3, TWiT TV, Mediafly, Motionbox and blip.tv. These sources will offer content in addition to the 17,000 movies and TV available from Netflix, 45,000-some titles from Amazon on Demand, and live and on-demand games from MLB.tv. The company expects to have as many as 10 new channels available by then end of the year.
We have one of the originals and absolutely love it. Pretty psyched about the new channels coming.