The New TeVe Vision of the Future: the Roku
Media Tech - Posted:
October 14, 2009
Updated: October 27, 2009 - Two new Roku boxes added - - SD for $79 and HD-XR for $129
We can almost call it a crowded field already. The delivery of movies to your home HD-Television set has been pioneered by Netflix. Subscribe to the service and depending on your commitment you either get one or up to three DVDs delivered to your house. About a year ago Netflix started experimenting with streaming movies directly to customer's, skipping the snail-mail delivery and the silver disc. Today the company has about 15,000 movies available for "instant" watching - and has affluent competitors in Amazon's On-Demand service and the one that started it all (in the US) - iTunes. All you need is an Internet broadband connection and a "box".
Nice - but limited Choices
Apple, Inc. can claim the honorable credit of first on-line delivery of movies for a few years now. It was iTunes that allowed us to either rent or buy movies via direct streaming or by downloading a digital copy so we could watch them on our Macs or on our TV-sets. Apple was quick to ad the AppleTV media server to its offering - a player that connected the iTunes Store directly to the HDMI input of the HDTV.
Amazon and Netflix had to "attach" their movie service to other devices such a the TiVo DVR or a couple of Blu-Ray players and TV sets. All of these devices made the streaming services available to many more users but they also depended on it.
Roku - a small media startup
in 2008 saw the opportunity to open this new market to multiple, independent media vendors. While Apple's iTunes movie experience was a closed "one-channel" solution, Roku is now planning to provide a platform that could deliver a multi-channel movie and media delivery for viewers. The Roku Channel Store will come online this fall and will be a free upgrade for all existing users.
Roku started with Netflix (17,000 movies) and added Amazon early in 2009 (45,000 movies - 1,000 in HD) as its first two media providers. Additional channels are in the works and some, such as the TWIT PodCast have been announced.
We sure hope that the company is heavily recruiting additional media vendors and is able to add them to the Roku's channel selection. Technically it is realtively easy. Every video web site - and there are many - is a potential candidate. It's all covered under the new buzz word that started floating around the web about 2 to 3 years ago - mainly in Europe and Asia. They have "bigger pipes" at lower prices over there.
Here is all you need to know and need:
Can't beat the price: $99 (at Amazon)
Check out what the Roku Box can do.
Netflix Subscription: min. about $9 a month (1 DVD at a time - plus Instant streaming)