Not so fast, Apple. Sure, we loved that you squashed the price of the new, tiny, streaming-only Apple TV version to just $99 ... so welcome to Roku’s neighborhood.
Somehow it’s been almost a year since Roku, the Netflix-streaming set-top box pioneer, added its cheaper SD and step-up HD-XR models to the original product. And now, just in time as Apple dropped its Apple TV from $229 to $99, Roku has done a little pricing adjustment of its own.
The lineup now looks like this: Roku SD $59.99, Roku HD $69.99 and Roku HD-XR $99.99. That’s lowered from $69.99, $99.99 and $129.99, respectively.
All three models include built-in WiFi, with the HD model adding HDMI for high-def viewing and optical output for surround-sound audio, and the HD-XR stepping it up to 1080p support and wireless N.
Since it’s also been a while since we’ve noted what you can stream on Roku (more than just Netflix these days), here’s a refresher for that: Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, RadioTime, MP3 Tunes, Roku Newscaster, MLB.TV, Vimeo, BigStar.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championships, Flickr photos, Facebook photos, Break.com, NASA and more. Some are free, some require subscriptions (like Netflix’s $8.99 level you need to stream it).
With Boxee set to release its own set-top box this fall, Sony diving into the dedicated streamer pool (and boasting how it can do “more than Roku,” and companies such as Popcorn Hour and Western Digital continuing to improve their media devices ... this is becoming a very crowded space.
So what’s your taster’s choice when it comes to streaming devices?
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.