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Netflix offers movie streaming via their $100 set-top box

May 20th, 2008 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 4,582 Views

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Netflix, the largest movie rental company, had for years been promising to begin streaming movies straight to TVs, and last year announced plans with LG to build a set-top box that would allow that. Netflix has just announced their new set-top box called Roku.

With $8.99/month unlimited subscription, you may be able to queue the movies you want to see through Netflix’s website. The choice of movies to see will be limited to what’s in your queue. Netflix actually calls it an advantage to AppleTV because user’s won’t have to browse through 10,000 titles using the remote to see what they want - the web interface is much better at it. There is also a delay between new DVD releases and availability of these movies online.

Roku offers both wired and wireless-G network connectivity. There’s a variety of outputs: HDMI, component, composite and S-video. While only SD shows are available currently, the company said HD shows will become available soon as well. The set-top box is connected to the Internet and its firmware is upgradable through download.

It appears Roku will become a competitor of Apple’s AppleTV box. The major differences are:

  1. Roku has wireless-G connectivity, AppleTV has Wireless-N connectivity (up to 6 times faster).
  2. Roku is almost twice smaller then AppleTV
  3. AppleTV has a hard disk drive. Netflix claims that due to their streaming algorithm design, there’s no necessity for hard drive.
  4. AppleTV will also stream video, photos and music from your computer. Roku won’t.
  5. AppleTV starts at $229, Roku costs $100. XBox 360 costs about $300.

Regardless, it will probably save Netflix tons of money on shipping costs.

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Tags: Additional Articles · Home Theater · Uncategorized

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