MythTV News raises an interesting question: Could the Netflix Player be a cheap frontend for the Linux-based MythTV media suite? MythTV's backend software requires a full computer with a decent CPU, hard drive, and RAM to run. But it might be possibel to shoehorn the frontend software, which lets you access media stored on the backend, onto a less powerful device.
As Dave Zatz points out, the software used on the Netflix Player is signed. What that means is that modified code will not run properly, and the box should automatically revert to the last good version of its software if it encounters hacked or modified code. But it is at least theoretically possible to send software updates to the box, and to update the bootloader. And that means it's possible that someone might be able to find a way to run MythTV or other software on the Netflix Player. Just because a platform is locked doesn't mean it can't be unlocked. Just look at the iPhone.
[via eHomeUpgrade and Hack A Day]
Of course, that's $80 on top of the $300 you pay for the movie downloading device. You can shave $30 off the price if you buy the Wireless Kit bundled with the set top box. Or you could invest in a $100 Netflix Player by Roku and watch the lousy selection of videos Netflix streams over the internet to your heart's content.
Netflix 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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