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October 6, 2015

Netflix Player by Roku: $100 streaming video player

by Brad Linder, posted May 20th 2008 8:28AM

NetflixNetflix has announced the a new set top box that will let you watch any video that you can stream from the web site. The Netflix Player by Roku is a $100 box, plus your Netflix subscription fee. You don't have to pay anything extra to user the player.

Remember yesterday when we mentioned that Netflix had hired Anthony Park, the developer of the MyNetflix plugin for Windows Media Center? Park said he'd be working on the user experience for boxes, and I'd assumed he meant boxes like video game consoles and other existing set top boxes. And maybe he did. Netflix is also partnering with LG and other hardware makers to release more Netflix-compatible boxes soon.

But the Netflix Player by Roku is the company's first foray into hardware. And by keeping the price extraordinarily low, the box looks pretty attractive compared to competing boxes like the Apple TV or SlingCatcher)

That said, CNET reports that the video quality and user interface aren't exactly up to Apple TV or Vudu standards. The box doesn't really need a great interface because all it lets you do is watch movies and TV shows that are already in your Netflix queue.

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Netflix should work with Toshiba to add streaming support to existing HD-DVD players. All HD-DVD players can decode H.264, MPEG2 and VC1, plus they have ethernet. It's seems like it should be possible to add Netflix support via a firmware update. There are supposedly 100k standalone HD-DVD players in the wild. My HD-A2 is basically collecting dust since Netflix dumped HD-DVD. I'd love to move it to the bedroom and use it to watch Netflix and the occasional DVD. Netflix would immediately see a huge jump in their subscriber base, and Toshiba would win a few people back over the HD-DVD debacle.

May 22 2008 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Schrantz

I wish they would just hurry up and add this functionality to TiVo already.

May 21 2008 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well the quality of some of the Watch Now movies is terrible enough to keep me from watching them, even on my small computer screen. So I wouldn't really want to pay $100 to watch it even blurrier on my television.

May 20 2008 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

The one part of the UI that really needs to be updated, and soon, is the FF/RW implementation. I don't know what they were thinking, but they couldn't have come up with a worse solution.

May 20 2008 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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