Roku, the streaming set-top box we recommended after being slightly underwhelmed by the Apple TV, has gotten some new features and a redesign. The XD and XDS, which we saw peeks of in a recent FCC filing, both support 1080p and have a few new features that make their already-attractive prices even more so.
The XD is the new mid-range model at $80, and gets updated Wireless-N functionality and of course the above-mentioned 1080p playback. The XDS is the new top-of-the-line model, and it on top of 1080p and N, it adds component video out, optical audio out, and a USB port through which you can play locally stored music, photos, and video. That’s pretty sweet for $100.
Both new models also support an instant replay feature for streams, so if you zoned out or missed a line because the dog was barking, you can jump back in 7-second intervals with no buffering. Sweet.
The new $60 Roku HD only does 720p, but it’s also redesigned and smaller than ever. Without 802.11N and the USB thing, it’s not nearly as versatile as the others… but the price is right.
The new players are available now at Roku’s site. Here’s the press release:
Roku Introduces New Line of HD Streaming Players Starting at $59.99
New XD and XDS models feature 1080p HD, Wireless-N, and Instant
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
http://www.roku.com, and available for preorders at http://www.amazon.com.