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Roku kicks out $60 media hub, 1080p models to fight Apple TV

updated 09:30 pm EDT, Wed September 22, 2010

Roku HD, XD and XDS media hubs arrive

Roku tonight unveiled three new Internet Players as part of its mission to hold off the new Apple TV. The Roku HD is now one of the least expensive networked media hubs yet and costs just $60, or less than two thirds the price of its Apple rival. Video reaches the same 720p, and it supports Amazon VOD, Netflix and for video as well as MP3tunes, MOG, Pandora and RadioTime for audio. Media from Facebook and Flickr also pipes through the device.

It and the other Internet Players are also more compact than the outgoing models at one inch tall and five inches across. Every model, including the HD, has both HDMI for a digital signal as well as RCA for legacy TVs. Networking on the entry level model comes from either 802.11g Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

The Roku XD builds on the formula and at $80 brings full 1080p playback, 802.11n wireless and an instant replay button on its remote that will skip back 10 seconds without having to rebuffer streaming video. At an Apple TV-matching $100, the XDS brings in full dual-band 802.11n to pick a frequency with less interference, component video for HD on some older TVs, and a USB port for playing media directly from local storage.

All of the hubs are available to buy directly from Roku this evening and should reach Amazon shortly.

The launches make Roku one of the most aggressive challengers to Apple so far and in some areas keep its boxes ahead of the Apple TV. Apple has the major advantages of combining the iTunes Store and Netflix for top-tier content, but Roku currently has a more diverse range of premier services in addition to the lower prices. Apple's hardware is smaller and quieter but is also limited to just HDMI for output.

By Electronista Staff


  1. UmarOMC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001



    I think I'll get one for the house.

  1. Gepard

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000



    I love my new AppleTV!!! :-)

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: Nope!

    How can you love your new AppleTV? It hasn't even arrived yet.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    Local meda?

    Does this thing play media files you already have? Can I connect my NAS to it and have it play all the stuff that's there?

  1. _Rick_V_

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003



    The last sentence convinced me: The Apple TV won me with "quieter". Plus iTunes for top-tier movie rentals! (and, I suppose, smaller is also a minor plus; although the Roku doesn't look that big either).

    Also, no one, not Netflix or anyone else, is streaming full 1080p. According to the Netflix blogs, that's still numerous years down the road, when the average household will have the size internet pipe that could sustain streaming of that much data.

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Dec 2007


    Re: noisy?

    " Apple's hardware is smaller and quieter but is also limited to just HDMI for output."

    Where does Electronista come up with this c***? How can you be more quiet than completely silent?

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