Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roku’s New Set-Top Box Now Available With Angry Birds

If your favorite thing about the latest Apple TV is its size, you’re going to love the Roku 2. The already dinky little box has shrunken even further — at 3 inches on each side, it is smaller than the Apple TV and shorter than a pack of cigarettes (both 3.5 inches).
More importantly, the Roku now plays games. Specifically, it can play — among others — Rovio’s Angry Birds. In short, not only can the Roku pull in pretty much any streaming content out there on the web, it can also turn your TV into a game console.
The Roku 2 follows a trend of hardware consolidation, especially in the television space, where internet-connected devices are becoming increasingly versatile. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, for example, offer video rentals in addition to gaming functionality. While the Roku 2’s primary focus is still internet video, and with the addition of some lightweight gaming capability, it provides an inexpensive alternative to the traditional game console.
On the TV side, little has changed about the Roku 2. You can stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more, as well as live sports and music from Pandora and MOG.
But what about those games? To play them, you just tune in to the games channel and pick up the new Game Remote. This doubles as a regular remote when you’re watching TV and movies.
The remote is included with the top-of-the-line XS ($100) which also comes with a free copy of Angry Birds. For the other two boxes in the new lineup you’ll need to buy both the remote and game (games are bought and accessed through the Channel Store).
As for the hardware, we’ll go from the bottom up. All models have Wi-Fi. The $60 HD can show 720p video, the $80 XD adds 1080p and the $100 XS adds 1080p, an Ethernet port and a USB port for adding music, movies and photos. As mentioned above, only the XS includes a game and Game Remote.
All three are available now.
Roku 2 product page

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey John! The Roku xds is fine for now. Angry Birds is interesting but I think of that as something for the iPhone not my TV. I salute Roku however for making continuous improvements. Switching to Roku + Netflix + Antenna saves about $80/month. I searched where to buy roku streaming player at best price and found Amazon has the best price. I'm happy with my purchase.