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Roku Now Licensing Its Media Player Design 53

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-open-source-maaaaan dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Roku has begun licensing its A/V media streaming set-top-box hardware and software technology to third-party device makers. Netgear, Roku's first licensee, will soon offer a Netgear-branded version of the recently size- and cost-reduced Roku XDS box through Best Buy, Fry's, and Radio Shack stores. Although Roku's licensing move follows closely on the heels Google's October rollout of the Google TV platform, the $60 to $100 Roku XD player design's low-cost, low-power, compact design, and sheer ease-of-use make it a compelling alternative to Google TV, assuming Google's platform results in prices like Logitech's $300 Revue. As a small example, the Roku player most likely uses an inexpensive, power-stingy MIPS-based NXP processor in contrast to the Revue's more power-thirsty, expensive, and spacious Atom processor."
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Roku Now Licensing Its Media Player Design

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  • Re:Wise up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:47AM (#34146610)

    HDMI can carry 8 channels of audio and considering that's the direction everyone is heading, I doubt you'll see your fiber optic connection.

    But more to the point, most of Netflix's selection is only in stereo. If you're serious about quality, you should be renting Blu-rays and not streaming.

  • by nxtw (866177) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:53AM (#34146862)

    And why are they still using an old-fashioned AC adapter? They ought to power the box through industry standard USB or PoE.

    Standard USB doesn't provide enough power for a device like this, especially if the device itself is a USB host. And Power over Ethernet is not a standard for consumer electronics.

  • by nxtw (866177) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @10:18AM (#34146970)

    from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    A unit load is defined as 100 mA in USB 2.0, and was raised to 150 mA in USB 3.0. A maximum of 5 unit loads (500 mA) can be drawn from a port in USB 2.0, which was raised to 6 (900 mA) in USB 3.0.

    Devices like media players should provide the full 500 mA for each port, ideally with two ports, so they will work with bus-powered USB 2.5" hard drives.

  • Get the Roku XD|S (Score:5, Informative)

    by pavon (30274) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:05AM (#34147210)

    The XD|S model has optical audio, as well as component video for those of us that bought high quality systems before HDMI was widely available. Unfortunately there aren't enough of us around to justify putting those on the base model where saving cost is high priority, so we have to fork out for the high-end model.

  • Re:Wise up (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:52AM (#34147436)

    Take a look at the HDFury3. You get hdmi in and component/digital audio out. If also handles the hdcp.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @02:35PM (#34148238) Homepage Journal

    We've got a Roku XDS, and we didn't buy it to watch garden-variety television. It does Internet radio, a large variety of channels, also Pandora, and that alone might get it a place in my media cabinet, but that's not all by any means. There's NASA TV and SpaceVidCast, news sources, iTunes access, flickr, Khan academy (math, science, economics)... all that and I've barely scratched the surface of the non-TV content.

    As for "gems", Netflix seems to be ahead on that score. They've really got a decent variety of movies, and they're starting to pick up some of the edgy cable shows like Weeds, too. The Netflix capability of the Roku is excellent.

    It's also worth mentioning (especially here on Slashdot) that the Roku's "channel" mechanism is implemented by an open-source kit; anyone can create a channel, and any content that isn't outright illegal is good to go. For example, they've got a porn channel, fairly basic - there's a BDSM component, a gay component, and a hetero component; doesn't show up on the site (these are called "hidden" channels) but getting to it is no problem when you find the offer for the channel (it's called EVTV, that's enough to track it down.)

    The fact that there's a lot of crap out there in no way says that you have to watch (or listen) to it. On the other hand, if you're a connoisseur of crap, well, there's no shortage, that's for certain. :)

    The XDS has some problems yet, notably a really lame and broken wifi setup (you're MUCH better off to set it up as wired ethernet until they fix that) and a few annoying bugs like the radio app being unable to "favorite" a station that's been found by search, but these are pretty minor compared to the latest AppleTV's inability to support many DVI connections, component systems, or work in anything other than HDMI/720p.

    As a user of both, the Roku is the *far* better unit. Hugely better connectivity (component and composite, analog audio, none of which are available on the Apple unit, also properly supports DVI, again, not available from Apple), better compatibility (any HD mode up to 1080p plus SD, the Apple only does 720p), standard USB connection for your media files up front and handy (the AppleTV's USB connection is in the rear and doesn't appear to be supported except for upgrading), the Ethernet connection is better, sporting connect and speed LEDs, even a better remote (Apple's is typically minimalist, and consequently, as usual, functionally retarded. You end up navigating a lot more than with the Roku, for instance.) Both support wifi, ethernet, physical HDMI and TosLink optical audio. the Roku is also far ahead in content at present. Considering they're both the same price, as far as I'm concerned it's a slam-dunk in favor of the Roku XDS,

    I have no relationship with either company other than as a customer.

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