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$100 Roku Netflix Player Targets Apple TV

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-you-can-watch-from-a-very-limited-menu dept.

Television 165

Binge notes CNet coverage of the Netflix Player by Roku, which it calls "bare-bones." Less than 10% of Netfilx's catalog is available for the Instant Viewing option. Three more Netflix players are said to be due for release by the end of the year. The Roku is "...the first product that allows subscribers to have movies and TV shows from the service's Instant Viewing feature (aka 'Watch Now') to be streamed directly to their TV screen... With the release of the Netflix Player, subscribers need only have a wired or wireless broadband connection to access the entire Instant Viewing catalog through their TV."

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165 comments

er? (0)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481114)

Not for nothing, but how is this different from the In Demand feature that's been part of Comcast for several years now? Why would I need/want this?

Re:er? (4, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481164)

Because if Netflix offers more movies maybe you can ditch that evil company called Comcast and save some dough in the progress. The customer service ratings just came out and Comcast and Charter tied for last place by having the most dis-satisfied customers.

Re:er? (1, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481714)

"Because if Netflix offers more movies maybe you can ditch that evil company called Comcast and save some dough in the progress"

But, regular Netflix apparently has MANY more times the titles on dvd than on this unit they're selling.

Besides, if you get this unit, how will you ever "back up" a copy of the movie like you can with the physical dvd.

:-)

Re:er? (5, Interesting)

omnipresentbob (858376) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481912)

I'm hoping it's just licensing issues that's causing them to not be able to offer the "many more titles".

And backing up a copy of the movie would be irrelevant with this service, as you could watch it at any time, as many times as you want.

That is, if they continue to stay in business (and they likely will).

Re:er? (3, Informative)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481996)

Well, starting at $8.95 per month, I think you could still afford to go & purchase a few DVD's a month. Alternatly hook up your VCR (Or DVD recorder) and record it just like you would from Cable TV :D

backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482304)

Why do you need to backup rented movies? I don't get it.

Re:backup (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482612)

"Why do you need to backup rented movies? I don't get it."

I think most of us do it as a free service for Netflix, in thanks for all their convenience and great business model. If they ever lose their copies....we're there for them!!

:-)

Re:er? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481804)

Because if Netflix offers more movies maybe you can ditch that evil company called Comcast and save some dough in the progress.
Not if the phone company doesn't offer DSL where you live.

Re:er? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482288)

Problem is netflix's streaming offering is really low quality video. My AppleTV has a HD rental function that looks as good as my BluRay player does.

This is NOT competition for the Apple Tv. it's an offering for the poor that want a halfed assed option for cheaper.

Re:er? (2, Insightful)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483308)

it's an offering for the poor that want a halfed assed option for cheaper.

Wow, I see the 'conceited fuck' knob goes up to 11.

Try rephrasing that with a little less vitriol next time. Sometimes we poor unwashed masses like a little entertainment as well. I suppose my used Corolla is just a half-assed option for the poor who can't afford a Mercedes.

Am I really the only person who is insulted by this? Or am I just biased by being 'poor?'

Re:er? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483626)

You're insulted by being called poor? You should probably try to make more money then.

Re:er? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483464)

Typical response from an Apple Fan :-(

Re:er? (2, Informative)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483480)

Hmm... I've had the opposite experience; Netflix's streaming video has been nearly DVD quality most of the time for me. My broadband is usually ~4.5Mbps down.

With no monthly limit plans starting @ $8.99 a month, that ain't a bad deal IMO. Watch as many DVDs as you can mail back in a month, plus unlimited titles from their streaming catalog.

I wish their streaming catalog was a bit more robust, but I expect that will only improve over time.

Re:er? (1)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483494)

Or, it's an option for those of us who already have BluRay, already have Netflix and don't mind throwing a $100 one time fee to be able to watch the limited offering whenever we want to.

I placed an order already. I wouldn't buy it for $5 a month, but for a one time fee this is a gadget I'm more than willing to tinker with and if I don't like it so be it.

Plus, if you search around a bit you'll see that the box itself is HD capable and they'll upgrade it if the netflix offering ever gets upgraded. I don't want the apple because it's a bunch of stuff and a per viewing fee. I mostly watch movies while I'm falling asleep so I hate paying $5-$15 a piece for a one time viewing. Now, I can just load up some TV episode or bad 80s movie I've watched a million times and have it stream.

I am a little worried that the quality won't look great on a 60inch TV... but if I'm wrong, I've got a $99 box with HD outputs that I can take apart and tinker with.

You're not the target audience, so don't buy one and enjoy the higher priced, higher quality cost per-use player you did purchase.

Re:er? (1)

fropenn (1116699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481252)

Actually, this is the exact product I've been looking for! We have a satellite dish, but prefer to rent movies from Netflix or from the local video store (much cheaper and convenient). But to watch the streaming Netflix option, the only choice is the computer and that only works really for 1 person (as we don't have a couch in the office). Someday I imagine we'll kick the satellite dish out completely, and just rely on streaming movies, Netflix, and over-the-air television.

The $100 price tag is a little high, especially to watch a limited selection of streaming movies with bad resolution and poor sound (at least on my relatively slow DSL line). It is certainly a niche market, but will help some Netflix customers (like me).

Re:er? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481420)

You could buy the box or if you have a newish TV you could just get an extra long VGA cable and hook your PC up to your TV and watch the movies that way.

Re:er? (5, Interesting)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481286)

How about because if you already pay for netflix, this service is entirely free.

meaning i can watch any of the "Watch it Now" movies (and TV shows) they offer simply by using this device.

And the sheer number (and its been increasing rather dramatically lately) of titles available simply dwarfs the offerings from any on demand service available.

Can you watch Dexter Season 1? Tripping the Rift Season 1, Heroes Season 1 and 2, A Fairly large number of Anime titles, a fairly large number of older movies from the 80's and 90's?

you may not want to, but some people do, and now they can without t he need to have a cable or even a satellite connection in their home.

I actually use my Vista MC with a netflix plug-in to do this all the time.

Re:er? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481868)

you may not want to [watch back-catalog video on demand], but some people do, and now they can without t he need to have a cable or even a satellite connection in their home.
How are customers going to get the broadband "without t he need to have a cable or even a satellite connection"?

Re:er? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482032)

I get mine via DSL on the copper wires they used to refer to as phone lines :)

Re:er? (0, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482158)

I get mine via DSL on the copper wires they used to refer to as phone lines
How much did it cost you to move your family to your current residence, which happens to be within range of DSL?

Re:er? (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482716)

Heh. It's funny. In the UK, ADSL is all there is, Cable is damn rare. (Yes, I know if you are in the right area it's available.)

Re:er? (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483178)

its funny.
they have these things called DSLAMS.
They put them up in neighborhoods.
Where people live.
And then run a connection back to the central office.

funny how i can live a LONG way from my local CO, yet have a remote DSLAM just down the street.....

all the phone lines go right to it.

hmmmmmmmmm

Re:er? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483500)

they have these things called DSLAMS.
They put them up in neighborhoods.
Where people live.
And then run a connection back to the central office.
I wouldn't get that impression from Slashdot stories about network neutrality or about ISPs acting evil and/or rude [catb.org] . I seem to read a lot of comments from Slashdot users who female-dog that they're too far from the closest DSLAM to get decent service.

Re:er? (1)

XHIIHIIHX (918333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482168)

Until comcast yanks your internet connection. I dunno why all you poor saps can't just wait a couple months for movies to come out.

Re:er? (4, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481346)

Not for nothing, but how is this different from the In Demand feature that's been part of Comcast for several years now? Why would I need/want this?
Selection and cost.

Though the Netflix OnDemand selection is weak and old, it's a lot larger than the free Comcast OnDemand selection. While Comcast's selection grows if you have premium channels it's still smaller than Netflix's selection.

If you already have Netflix, then once you have the device there's no extra cost. While most of Comcast's OnDemand library is free, not everything is and not everyone has Starz/HBO/Showtime. Meanwhile some of those shows are (or at least were) offered via NetFlix OnDemand.

I'ts not a must-by, but if you're a Netflix customer with a high speed connection then it's a tempting self-birthday gift.

Re:er? (2, Funny)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481368)

How about... because you dont want to give a single dollar more to Comcast for their abysmal handling of their own internet traffic, and traffic shaping of selective protocols?

Anything that drives comcast out of business and destroys their line of thinking that they are 'so big that nobody will challenge us' is a positive for the rest of the internet community.

Screw You Comcast!

Re:er? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481604)

dont forget...

Screw You Caton Commercial [willcounty...tcourt.com] for sending ignorant Cease and Desist Letters [demystify.info] too! :)

Re:er? (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482474)

Does netflix pay for the usage over your 250gb a month cap when Comcast cuts to that? If not, you might want to add 1.50 per gig to the monthly cost.

Re:er? (3, Insightful)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481446)

Let's see... Comcast is $85 per month (Minneapolis area). Netflix is $5 per month. That is why you might need/want this.

Re:er? (2, Informative)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481680)

Only $8.99 and higher plans get the streaming service. Your intended point is valid though.

Comcast isn't that much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481688)

Oh no, I have Comcast Internet service, and it costs about $56 per month.

Of course, adding things like "Extended Basic" cable can add another $50 a month.

Re:er? (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481550)

This is about $9/month after an initial $100 investment. That's less than $18/month if you only use it for a year, and gives you access to 10,000 programs (including TV shows).

If Comcast even offers $18/month service, it's because your municipality wrote it into the contract and it's going to be local channels in analog only.

Re:er? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483532)

Uh...I have Comcast "Basic" and I get the locals plus several (about 20) cable channels. And since my TV has a QAM tuner I get the locals in HD as well.

I pay $14 a month.

Re:er? (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482998)

Depends on your viewing habits. Personally, we had Netflix and Comcast. We ditched the $70+/month Comcast TV and kept the $15/month Netflix. The 3 DVD's at a time and the watch instantly easily fill up our month. now, fair enough I don't get to watch everything I want instantly, but that's not important to me and quick math tells me that I'm saving >$840 over the year. I'm streaming Netflix into my 42" TV with coaxial audio and it looks as good as a standard DVD, but then I get damn good download speed at my house. I can see the utility of a stand alone box - as long as it's reasonably responsive.

I wonder what is inside... (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481168)

I hit the FCC to see if I could get internal shots of this widget, no luck, alas. Interestingly, though, their earlier Soundbridge product appears to be based on a BlackFin DSP core(read, supported by ucLinux). This thing could kick ass as a homebrew STB if the internals are reasonably friendly. That goes double if somebody can get a mythTV frontend running on one.

If anybody knows anthing about the internals, do tell.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481230)

Agreed. This is a very cheap box that can stream HD media over a network. If anyone can figure out how to hack it, a lot of doors could be opened.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (2, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481318)

This is a very cheap box that can stream HD media over a network.

Where did you get that from? The article goes out of its way to mention that it won't deliver HD-quality content.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (3, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481400)

The Future Netflix is planning HD streaming, and this box will support it. When Netflix gets HD streaming content, they'll update the box by firmware to support HD resolutions at higher bitrates of 4-6mbps, including 5.1 surround (everything is stereo now). The menus will also be upgraded to HD res, too. In the future, the Roku-branded box will be upgraded to accept non-Netflix content, too. (And btw, the update on the Mac client situation is that they're just trying to sort out the DRM issues, or lack of a suitable system they can stream to Macs on.)
http://gizmodo.com/389698/first-netflix-streaming-box-review-100-and-unlimited-downloads [gizmodo.com]

Re:I wonder what is inside... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481406)

Really? The article I read (along with others not linked above) say that it can stream HD over a network, there just isn't any HD content in the Netflix Instant catalog at the moment.

I'm with the GP. Besides my interest of this little box for it's intended use, I find it to be a cheap and probably silent little HD capable Linux box. This is if someone figures out how to put Linux on it (some think it is Linux based), and it can be done by end users/hackers (i.e. no crypto-signed kernel images and such).

Re:I wonder what is inside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483228)

From TFA:

Those looking for the HD video quality and polished interface of Apple TV and Vudu will be disappointed. The Netflix Player is strictly barebones--you're not intended to do anything more than just dive in and watch the movies and TV shows you've already queued up via your online Netflix account/> (Emphasis mine). No HD video until the next version.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481448)

The service won't deliver HD; because bandwidth costs Netflix money(and nothing short of a tape of the entire comcast board of directors sodomizing orphans will get an American household broadband fast enough to stream HD over, in any case), the hardware itself is said to be HD capable, with just software updates, at least at at modest bitrates, and it has HDMI and so forth.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481834)

I wonder if they could bittorrent using other peoples downloads as seeds?

Re:I wonder what is inside... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482020)

I wonder if they could bittorrent using other peoples downloads as seeds?

Nope, that's something they definitely can't do with this box. One, there's no HD, only a RAM buffer. Two, torrents are terrible for sequential streaming of data.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481884)

And the bad part about that is that even if you do scrounge up that tape of the Comcast board, it won't even do me any good, since I'm stuck in a Mediacom area.

Re:I wonder what is inside... (2, Informative)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481480)

According to a different review [gizmodo.com] :
"Netflix is planning HD streaming, and this box will support it. When Netflix gets HD streaming content, they'll update the box by firmware to support HD resolutions at higher bitrates of 4-6mbps, including 5.1 surround"

Re:I wonder what is inside... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482336)

installing MythTV on this would be a step backwards. Install XBMC on this and that would rock.

myth is a awesome PVR but it royally sucks as a media center.

I don't know about the internals, but... (4, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483596)

May I point you to the Roku Photobridge [rokulabs.com] forums, where a bunch of abandoned users hang out.

Oh, the Roku Photobridge was a great machine back in 2005. It's main purpose was to view pictures from you digital camera at HD resolutions and to play MP3's, but it didn't take long for people to realize that everything you needed to upconvert DVD-quality movies (stored on your network) to HD was there. Or even to play HD video pulled from your TiVo or MythTV. Almost.

They promised a better video player... But never delivered...

They promised a faster connection for HD... But never delivered...

They promised to open up the firmware... But never delivered...

They promised an update to make subtitles and DTS possible (they weren't even going to do it, just stop the accidental prevention of these things by the third-party developers)... They never delivered.

People waited years for these features, which were always "just around the corner".

Basically, once the SoundBridge took off, they just completely abandoned their small but faithful user group. The group wasn't even asking for much, just the source code so they could figure out how to make their own updates and how to interface with the hardware themselves.

But, I got tired of the lack of DTS support, the sound stuttering which got progressively worse, etc. My DirecTV DVR and PS3 now cover all the features that it did and do it much better.

I would be very hesitant to buy things from Roku with the track record they have established. If the "Netflix player" doesn't take off, you might be the next owner of an abandoned product.

Cheap enough to try (4, Interesting)

herring0 (1286926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481204)

I certainly hope for more out of these type devices in the future, but I can certainly say I'm interested. If nothing else it's a cheap piece of hardware that (hopefully!) just works and adds a benefit to my subscription. Plus without the FIOS TV options and lackluster cable options I've loved Netflix or e-hits ever since I started using those types of services. I'm also glad to see that some people at least are trying to move forward with ideas like this.

Target A Marketplace Flop? What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481242)

"What do you think: is the Netflix Player a game-changing product that bests Apple TV?"

Even foaming at the mouth Apple fanboys are embarrassed by Apple TV and its failure in the marketplace due to the usual reasons - overpriced, under-featured.

only 8000 movies (1)

vancondo (986849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481262)

The 'small selection' available from netflix is around 8000 movies, how many are available through itunes? They were set to have over 1000 available by the end of february [apple.com] , have they surpassed 8000 titles available yet?

-
http://vancouvercondo.info [vancouvercondo.info]

Interesting Box (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481282)

An interesting little box. I wouldn't mind having one. I have Netflix (which I love) but don't use their streaming service since I'm a Mac guy. I like that they have it all ready for HD.

If I had no decent boxes, I'd buy one.

But I have a TiVo Series 3. It's a fantastic box. It can handle this kind of stuff. I really don't want another box at this point that can do this kind of stuff, that I have to switch between. I've already got my TiVo, my DVD player, and my 360. I don't need another single use box.

Netflix said they were in chats with other people to make more boxes. Having this integrated into a DVD/Blu-Ray player would be nice. I think they were thinking of letting the PS3 or 360 do this.

I'll gladly use it should it become available for my TiVo.

But again kudos to them for getting it out so fast after the announcement, charging so little ($100? No monthly fee above my current 3 disc subscription level?), and having it all ready for when they have an HD catalog.

Re:Interesting Box (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481444)

I have Netflix (which I love) but don't use their streaming service since I'm a Mac guy. I like that they have it all ready for HD.

Where are you getting this from? Someone else up above mentioned the same thing, and all I can find is the article saying that it won't give you HD--that if you want HD you should look elsewhere. Am I missing something here?

Re:Interesting Box (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481534)

The articles (and the FAQ on the box) say that it is capable and ready of showing HD content, but right now nothing in Netflix's instant viewing catalog is in HD. That's why I put "all ready for HD". The CNet article doesn't seem to mention that.

From Wired's article:

"Higher quality streams are available, and over time, HD streams will show up, which the box can handle."

Re:Interesting Box (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481586)

Ahhh. Thanks. Silly of me not to read articles that aren't linked from the story submission. : p

Re:Interesting Box (2, Interesting)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481922)

Here's a review [crunchgear.com] with a pictures of the back of the unit.

Annoyed with NetFlix (1, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482438)

I'm a mac guy too and I am somewhat ticked off by this announcment. For a year or so now they have had a web page saying they are "working hard" to get netflix ondemand service for their mac customers but Apple is preventing them.

How could apple possibly be standing in there way. If they can implement it on a PC or if Amazon NBC and SCIfi channel can get Flash streaming to work why do they have to ask for Apple's permission?

Bah. It was this box they were developing. They had zero interest in making onDemand available to their apple customers.

I hate liars.

Re:Interesting Box (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482730)

Streaming is just not a good way for delivering something that needs to be continuous. Movies are in need of more cache than this box offers. Making it cheap by neglecting necessary parts for the task at hand is a formula for failure. Pass for now.

not first, but cheapest. (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481300)

I already purchased and have been using the D-Link DGP1200 [walmart.com] bought at walmart for $180 to do the exact same thing.

Unlike the Roku, you can watch any content on your PC, and even get to the Netflix site to choose the movie you want to watch (if you have a bookmark to get their) It is even technically HD quality (though the stream from netflix isn't.)

Re:not first, but cheapest. (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481470)

I think you're looking at this box as more that it is. This is not a media center extender. I don't think of it as competing with Windows MCE, a 360 connecting to something, or your little box.

To me this is nothing more than a DVD player that has an infinite supply of things from my Netflix queue in it (with slightly limited selection). For that purpose, it's a great little box at a fantastic price. I'm surprised they are only charging $100 for it and not $200 or so.

Re:not first, but cheapest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481732)

I was talking about the DGP1200 for $180, not the ROKU. The D-link it is essentially a wireless display device for you PC (one of many, but the DGP is the only one I have found with the required features under $200) I always keep a PC on, so the DGP1200 does everything and more compared to the ROKU. Now if I could just get the DGP1200, and netflix to work with my new linux EEE pc. Until then I will keep using synergy2.sourceforge.net [slashdot.org] to work as my linux->windows->netflix->DGP1200->HDTV wifi remote.

Is first standalone (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481484)

I now see they meant "first standalone netflix device". This doesn't require another PC to be actively turned on (though you still must have a PC or network appliance to use netflix, to select the movies.)

I have too many boxes already (4, Insightful)

ViX44 (893232) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481326)

With a pile built of a DVD/VCR Combo, stereo system, vinyl player, over-the-air digital converter, and some old Nintendoes, I don't need another box to wire up.

I wouldn't mind hearing about Netflix escaping the Windows/IE trap. I would approve of streaming Netflix to my laptop that's running Ubuntu. Well, if the wireless card would work on it...

What about service on boxes we already have? (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481364)

Like game consoles and DVRs and such. Of course, this is hindered by these companies having their own video download service. I'd imagine a Wii Netflix channel could work (none of the videos are in HD, right?), but apparently they use WMV. That would work well with 360, but Microsoft has their own video download service.

Don't get that... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481404)


Check out Popcornhour.com [popcornhour.com] . They have a streaming media box for US$179 which plays almost everything: xvid, x264 (.mkv), dvd ISO images, etc. at up to 1080p.
I'm not related to the company, just a very happy owner of 2 of these devices.

Re:Don't get that... (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481958)

happy owner of 2 of these devices.
I am guessing your not in the U.S.? pre-order only on that site, and no dealers listed for US.

Re:Don't get that... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482282)

I'm in Canada. They did have orders opened up but it won't ship the next day; you have to wait for the next container from China. :)

Re:Don't get that... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482532)

That's an interesting device, but where do you get the content from?

My interest for a device like this is to be able to watch current movies without running to the video store. I have a DVD player and Netflix account, so having to rip the DVDs to an iso image just to play it through the popcorn box is an unnecessary hassle. I didn't see anything on the popcornhour site that indicated there was a good source for current movies to play through the box.

So far the best option I've seen is the VuDu. Just waiting for a chance to see my brother-in-law's in action before I pull the trigger.

Re:Don't get that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483120)


That's an interesting device, but where do you get the content from?

BitTorrent? They have everything I hear!

Re:Don't get that... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483368)

And depending on how well it's seeded, I might be able to watch it in 3 hours, or it might take 3 days.

See, my objection to BitTorrent isn't the legality, it's the inconvenience.

What I want is something that will work like on-demand from my cable co. I want to sit down with the kids in front of the TV (not computer), pick out a movie, and start watching it right then and there. I can do this with my cable box (although the selection is pathetic, thus my search for something else), and there are several other products on the market that can do it, with various payment structures.

BitTorrent isn't the solution for the problem I'm trying to solve.

MythTV plugin? (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481454)

So when do we get a MythTV plugin? That would be the best solution so we don't need extra hardware around the living room.

Re:MythTV plugin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481738)

Something about Windows and DRM, I think. "We" being existing users of MythTV?

Pretty good deal (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481472)

What do you think: is the Netflix Player a game-changing product that bests Apple TV? Or is the selection too lackluster to be worth even its $100 asking price?

Selection will improve. It may a commercial mistake to release without the full library behind it, but I think it will still find some measure of success. Either way, this is a win for customers. Something this cheap is really going to threaten the other players. For starters, the streaming quality is a non-issue for most, which makes the price difference look all the more appealing. The scant library is a downer, but again that will be fixed. The only problem I see in the system is ISP's mucking things up. They scream about taking down net neutrality to augment this sort of thing, but in the end people actually using the bandwidth they payed for will make them much angrier.

I like that netflix is jumping into the mix. Still, I would prefer the Internet not to be hijacked by video on demand when we have such an expensive cable system already available. However, I've come to the realization that video on demand is already moving forward on the net, and the best I can hope for is video on demand platform be the most customer friendly one as possible.

I haven't even read the article yet... (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481498)

...but if this thing is as slick as the roku soundbridge, methinks I'll finally get a netflix subscription. I love my soundbridge (well, not this weekend while rokuradio was having mysql backend issues...is that fixed yet?).

This is the real dawn of IPTV. Serious. (3, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481500)

I just looked over the info at Roku's site and I think I'm finally prepared to say... This is the one we've all been waiting for.

While Roku's refreshingly good industrial and UI design looks like it should help, though, here's the real reason this is going to be huge:

I don't think I can overstate the importance of having a single monthly payment to rent a good number of movies and TV shows versus the failed model of "buying" movies that will never leave your set-top box or even the yet unproven model of renting them at $4 a pop with the remote. This is why Netflix beat Blockbuster and it's why they'll beat Apple TV.

This is the thing that will kill the DVD and cable at the same time.

What it comes down to, for now, is Netflix's significantly preferable all-you-can-eat model versus Apple TV's significantly greater selection. But the Netflix selection is only getting bigger.

Re:This is the real dawn of IPTV. Serious. (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481916)

Apple already has significantly more than 10000 movies available? I thought they actually had a smaller, though probably more recent, selection than Netflix.

I think that asking whether this will beat AppleTV is ignoring that AppleTV hasn't exactly been the newest iPod. AppleTV is a very tiny player in the video over IP market. The real competition is bit torrent, which has already defeated AppleTV. Will people pay for something they can get (not streaming, but in higher quality) for free? I will.

Re:This is the real dawn of IPTV. Serious. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482128)

or even the yet unproven model of renting them at $4 a pop with the remote.
Unproven? I thought that was called "cable TV pay-per-view", and it's been around for at least a decade and a half.

Oblig.... (2, Interesting)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481580)

1) Roll out an on-demand video service so crippled by DRM restrictions that it can work in only ONE browser (IE), and on only ONE platform (Windows) - and those only if you have the tip-top absolute latest releases and updates.

2) Find that half your customers can't (or won't) use your service as a result.

3) License others to make special-purpose hardware just to get around the restrictions in (1) and take a big cut of that.

4) Profit!!!!! /tsg/

Beowulf Cluster...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23481716)

That's all I'll say. It would be nice, however, to be able to hack it to play other media such as hulu.com

Roku?? (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481748)

I thought Roku got killed by the Fire Lord over 100 years ago!

This is worthless (4, Interesting)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481800)

No onboard disk cache, an absolute max bitrate of 2Mb/s, and max resolution of 480p make this box basically the worst streaming solution for early adopters. Netflix needs to resolve some more basic issue with their service before they try and make a serious run at hardware streaming end points. For instance their service autodetects your bandwidth and selects what it feels is an appropriate bitrate for your viewing w/o giving you any option cache a larger portion of the video in advance and allow a higher overall bitrate/quality. Who is the target audience for this? People with a hankering for poor quality SD movies from a large back catalog whom also own a set with HDMI inputs and a highspeed data connection? Seriously guys, try a bit harder on the RD side next time.

Re:This is worthless (5, Insightful)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483208)

Me. I'm the target audience. I don't have a HD capable television, and have no particular desire to own one until the prices come down considerably. I do have a high-speed internet connection. I have loved the fact that I can hook the s-video and stereo output from my laptop to my entertainment center and watch movies, documentaries, television shows, etc. Before you decide that the only audience worth having owns a 40"+ 1080P television, take a look around. Not everyone can drop that much cash on entertainment, and not everyone thinks it is a good idea to buy entertainment on credit. For $100, with no extra monthly fees, this quite simply enhances the service I already have (and am quite happy with). I think the R&D was right on, and they picked the perfect mix of capabilities for an initial model. Look for these to sell in huge quantities.

Re:This is worthless (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483498)

You made my point for me, you already have a laptop that does what this offers... What is there to gain from spending the 100 dollars?

Re:This is worthless (2, Insightful)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483728)

The same things I gain from having a DVD player. I won't have to hook my laptop (which I sometimes leave at work) up to my television. I won't have to run Windows on my laptop (which is currently installed strictly for Netflix). I won't have to wait for a compile to finish. I won't have to plug in AC adapter, S-Video, and audio cable every time I want to use the service. This is worth $100 to me. It would not be worth $200 or more for a higher end version, with more features that I can't benefit from without also buying a new television.

Re:This is worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483754)

You made my point for me, you already have a laptop that does what this offers... What is there to gain from spending the 100 dollars?
Are you high? Arrange laptop, connect adapter, connect cable, change resolution, connect audio cable, boot laptop into supported Windows OS, open Netflix using supported IE browser...compared with pressing some buttons on a remote? That doesn't factor common HTPC overscan issues, and the box should also draw a lot less power than a laptop.

Re:This is worthless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23483560)

Anyone tried one of these services? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481838)

I have not tried this, or Apple TV, or anything similar - but I'm not sure I'd enjoy the experience anyway.

I have enough trouble trying to stream a crappy video off of Youtube via a cable connection. I have to worry about the bandwidth being used by the rest of the family, I have to worry about the amount of traffic at the other end, i have to worry about not getting screwed by the cable company who is trying to cram my whole neighbourhood into a tightly controlled unit.

It just doesn't seem like I'd be able to get a pleasant experience out of this -- and if I have to keep waiting while it buffers, I may as well just go rent a scratched DVD from the Blockbuster.

Summary. Almost There... (4, Insightful)

llZENll (545605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481876)

Awesome price.
Awesome interface.
Awesome hardware.
Sucky video quality.
Sucky audio.

"Quality is not great, even at 2.2 Mbps"
"everything is stereo now"

I'll plunk down my $100 and switch to Netflix instantly when HD comes out, Bluray's win didn't last long...

"Netflix is planning HD streaming, and this box will support it. When Netflix gets HD streaming content, they'll update the box by firmware to support HD resolutions at higher bitrates of 4-6mbps, including 5.1 surround."

Re:Summary. Almost There... (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482672)

My personal opinion it looks ugly! Looks like a cable box from the 80's.

Re:Summary. Almost There... (1)

kingbyu (682024) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482842)

"Quality is not great, even at 2.2 Mbps"

Yeah, no kidding. I've watched instant Netflix movies through their Internet Explorer client, and even with 1.5 Mbps DSL, the quality is at their lowest "Basic" level, which I consider worse that TV quality.

Their selection of titles is also pretty miserable. I could flip through 100 cable channels and be more likely to find something I like than browsing through their "Instant" films.

If they could improve both quality and selection, then they would definitely have a cool product. As it is, I find myself more likely to watch content from Hulu.com than from Netflix.

10% of Netflix is better than iTunes (0, Redundant)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481880)

Considering the size of the catalog you get access to (even 10% of Netflix beats the Hell out of iTunes), the fact that you get access to Netflix's disc catalog too, the price, the ease of use, and the fact that you don't have to install iTunes on your computer to use it, it seems like a no-brainer.

Is it a full Roku Box? (4, Interesting)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#23481948)

Roku had a really cool HD Media Player box, which was Linux based and extensible. If this thing is derived from that same platform (with hardware accelerated HD MPEG2 playback) this is a huge bargain.

If it is a closed box, which only does Netflix, it is not so interesting.

How about the old rumor (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482096)

The rumor floating around earlier was that software would be available to PS3 and 360 owners so that they could watch these movies on their consoles. I've got a 360 and I already use it as my DVD player. I'd love to watch the streaming movies on the TV easily rather than use my computer either with its monitor or some complicated streaming setup (which is especially difficult since I use Linux and "Watch now" doesn't support Linux).

I love Netflix. (3, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482402)

And I'd LOVE to use their instant viewing feature but I don't have a Windows machine. I have a Mac Mini and a PS3 for all movie viewing via their respective media GUIs. Why Netflix doesn't have streaming on platforms other than Windows and these new dedicated devices is beyond me. It would certainly be cheap enough to do and provide instant market share for them.

this is goatsex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482512)

and c0ders

Save $100 and go stright from netflix.com to TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482784)

Why would I want to spend $100 on a device that looks cheap, requires me to queue it up on a computer & dose not deliver HD

Why not just connect computer directly to TV? Or use a more compelling device like an Apple TV?

I prefer iTunes, but (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23482820)

I prefer iTunes, but I hope that competition from Netflix forces that idiot at the helm of Apple, what's his name - to realize that people actually like and want subscription based content.

Comcast controls video on demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23482928)

Only problem with Video On Demand services, such as Apple TV & Netflix is the bandwidth issues. Now that Comcast is either throttling your connection, or charging you per MB.. I find it hard for these products to pickup.

Instead of it costing you $2.99 to rent from Apple TV/iTunes, we will have to tack on more $$ to deliver it to your house via broadband.

Netflix streaming to PS3 (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483190)

What I would love to see is the ability to stream Netflix vids to my PS3....screw having to buy all these separate gadgets, let alone the space they take up.

AppleTV Owner - Will buy Roku; not unhappy withATV (2, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483222)

See, I have the Apple TV, and I've loved it since day one. I double love it since the "2.0" major firmware updates and feature additions. But the wife, you see, has had netflix for years. And since they added the streaming movie feature, she watches maybe 4 or 5 flix that way a month. Thing is though, the selection pool is by and large old B movies nobody would've watched on purpose if they weren't really in the mood for something cheesy.

So basically, the Apple TV and the Roku are rather complementary in my opinion. The Roku is the source for cheap totally random movie watching and the Apple TV gives me my higher end rentable new releases, my podcasts and music directly from my media housing computer, and lots of other nice aspects. So yeah, I don't see this really being any kind of direct competition unless you have absolutely no taste or preference of your movies, then I guess the cheapest crap in the barrel would please you as much as the top of it.

anthony wood (3, Informative)

trb (8509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23483432)

The cnet article missed the interesting bit - that Roku's founder (and Replay TV's as well), Anthony Wood, worked at Neflix for a while on this and then returned to Roku, and Neflix bought a stake in Roku, as reported here. [yahoo.com]
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