Roku announced a complete refresh today of its lineup of popular streaming players, swapping the three models with three new ones, all of which offer 720p or better HD video. The headliner here is the $99 Roku XDS which brings full 1080p, dual-band Wireless-N technology, optical audio output, and an added USB port for quick plug and play of media from your other devices.
We’ve been fans of the Roku box for a while now, with its more than ample selection of online video and web series from the likes of networks Revision3, Blip.tv and Break. But for more mainstream consumers it seems to be Roku’s simplicity, modest price and let’s face it, access to Netflix’s instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows that struck a chord.
The new entry-level option is the Roku HD at $59.99 with the midrange now the Roku XD at $79.99 complete with Wireless-N and 1080p streaming. The top two model (XD and XDS) also both now fix something that irked us a little in the viewing experience with the addition of an ‘Instant Replay’ button on the remote, which allows for instant skipping back in 10
second increments without that disruptive rebuffering delay.
With the Boxee Box coming out from D-Link in November, an updated version of the pricey Tivo Premiere, not to mention the TV makers themselves who are all beefing up the content channels on their internet-enabled TVs, the battle for living room is in full force.
But dollar for dollar, a Roku box is solid buy, especially for viewers looking to finally cut the cord from their pricey cable bills. While it isn’t an open platform like Boxee, the content lineup is now up to over 85 channels from 50 unique providers—a lot more than the six that it launched with back in 2008. Our pick? The Roku XDS of course.