Roku Announces Two New Devices, Hands-On, With Video: More Content Coming
This morning, Roku announced two new devices that they are calling the Roku player and the Roku HD-XR. At first glance, the new units look identical to the original Roku device but the new entry level Roku player has no support for HD. It is however priced at $79.99, twenty bucks cheaper than the original Roku HD unit. The new Roku HD-XR player is priced at $129.99 and now supports WiFI n and has a USB port on the back.
Roku is not saying what the new USB port on the HD-XR unit will be used for, but one could imagine all sorts of media extender functionality. Roku also said they are getting very close to launching their new Roku Channel Store, which will include pay and free ad-supported content to enable photo sharing and music streaming. We've already heard that content from TWiT.tv, Mediafly, blip.tv. Motionbox, Revision3, Pandora radio and Flickr will be coming to the Roku platform shortly.
So to recap, here is how the three Roku units stack up:
- Roku player: $79.99. No HD support, WiFi b/g
- Roku HD player: $99.99. HD support, WiFi b/g
- Roku HD-XR player: $129.99. HD support, WiFi b/g/n, USB port
In addition, Roku said that once their Channel Store launches with their first round of content partners, a second round of partners who have been working with Roku's SDK are waiting in the wings to launch their services. It sounds like the Roku box is going to be getting a lot of content updates over the next couple of months. It's also going to be interesting to see just how many boxes Roku has out in the market by the end of the year. Roku has said that to date, they have sold a combined "high six figures" of units and with a good holiday season, I think they have the potential to have close to a million units in the field.