Roku's new NetFlix player

May 22, 2008

I’ve always been a fan of Roku’s Soundbridge devices, back to demonstrating them on-stage with BillG for the "Digital Entertainment Anywhere" event in 2005.  Bill and I had a long conversation about UI and interaction model during rehearsals back then, so I’m eager to see what Roku is up to with their newly announced NetFlix Player.  Engadget has their impressions here, reporting video quality maxes out at 480p today, until NetFlix gives the go-ahead for HD.  Some HDMI problems to be sorted out as well.  (Note: My Apple TV still freezes up on the Apple logo and my TiVo Series 3 won’t display intermittently when switching HDMI sources – this is an industry-wide problem).

Will it rival the Apple TV?  Time will tell but something tells me this is a feature that needs to be built into multi-function devices such as mainstream consumer DVD players, not a dedicated box.  For some folks like my Father (a converted NetFlix user), this might be the right solution provided NetFlix is able to beef up their library.

I’m hoping to review the unit at some point in the future.  Review roundup so far:

Read – Roku Netflix Player officially introduced
Read – PCMag review (4 out of 5)
Read – CNET review (7.7 out of 10)
Read – Wired review ("…just shy of totally amazing.")