Wanting to hook up Netflix to the new flatscreen? Well the job just got easier with the announcement of the debut of the Roku box in the UK and Ireland today. Currently available for preorder only through Amazon, the little box that has allowed so many in the US to cut cable or satellite bills by streaming content over the internet, can now spread its lie in inducing goodness here as well.
Roku will initially offer two models from its current lineup, the Roku LT at £49.99 and the upmarket Roku 2 XS at £99.99. Other than price, the main difference between the two products is that the LT does not have external storage options and is limited to 720p. Nor is it Bluetooth capable. The Roku 2 XS supports, true HD 1080p, has a slot for an miniSD card, Bluetooth, and both Ethernet and USB ports.The XS also has an enhanced game controller to get your Angry Birds on. Because you don’t have enough addictive time wasters in your life, each set also has a free copy of Angry Birds. Both devices support b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Anyone familiar with the history of Roku would not be surprised by the introduction of the tiny player following hot on the heels of the Netflix rollout. Roku started out as a division of Netflix, tasked to create a simple and easy to use device to stream video content over the internet to subscribers TVs, which was released in 2008. The group was quickly spun off as Netflix realized the need to be on as many products as possible and the creators of the Rouku box realized there was a lot more content out there than Netflix. The result was a win-win, with Netflix applications on the Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, not to mention many of the newer SMART TVs and Rouku becoming the streaming device of choice for over 2.5 million users, with access to over four hundred channels in the US, including HBO GO, Crackle, the Wall Street Journal, the TWIT tech network, and many music and international interest channels.
The press release issued today showcased Netflix the Wall Street Journal, Ultimate Fighting Championship, MLB.com, and games such as Angry Birds. The movie service Crackle will be available in the UK but not in Ireland. Music is also a bit thin on the ground, with Tunein and Classical TV on offer. In fact only forty channels were announced, although Roku officials were quick to add that they expect more channels to be added prior to the expected launch date in late January.