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Roku Now Licensing Its Media Player Design 53

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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  • by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:40AM (#34146590)

    Great....maybe netgear will wise up and put a toslink connector on the back of it so some of us can still use our old avr systems. Stereo doesn't cut it.

    • 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.

    • It seems that there aren't many people who care about analogue audio anymore either. I recently replaced my DVD player, because the drive had worn out. I wanted to replace it with a similar machine, but there don't seem to be any new ones made that can output DTS audio to 6 analogue channels. Few had DTS decoders built in and none that I found had 6-channel analogue output. It was either digital or analogue stereo.

      In the end, I bought a second-hand one. I looked at getting an external DTS / DD decod

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        What's your point?

        Your amplifier can't decode DTS? Or is it stereo? If it's stereo I don't see why the number of channels matters. If it's not stereo I wonder why it doesn't decode DTS itself. Is it some ProLogic equipment? Expensive (but old) gear?

        Personally I wouldn't buy a DVD player today in the first place, but regardless I'd rather have my decoders in the receiver (if it's not the very last ones I don't know if it matters that much, don't know how big noticeable gain there is of using any of the newer

        • My amplifier is analogue. It takes six analogue inputs. It is just an amplifier, not a digital decoder. The decoder in my old player was built into the DVD player. This made sense at the time, because new audio encoding standards were likely to appear, but not on older media. Newer formats will often have 5.1 channel AAC audio, for example, and having the decoder built into the amplifier would mean that this couldn't be played. It also made sense from a synchronisation perspective - outputting digital

          • by aliquis ( 678370 )

            But if it was all the new formats, would it be possible to solve your issue by using a software player? As in a PC with sound card (with multiple analogue outputs in that case.)

            Or are there no such software?

            Does any blu-ray players offer all the decoding on board?

            No cheap home cinema receivers offer line-outs on all channels I assume?

            Suck that a standalone decoder / DA converters will have to cost much more than a integrated device with more functionality.

            Maybe you should start making them yourself and sell

          • Roku XDS has analog audio outputs, they work just fine with gear from 1960's Marantz tube classics to whatever else you have. Classic gear owners haven't been completely forgotten. :)

            • Did you actually read my post? The XDS has analogue stereo output, but only digital 5.1 output - exactly the same combination as new DVD players. If I wanted to connect one to my speakers, then I'd need another decoder box, which costs more than the XDS itself.
              • Sorry, missed the 5.1 thing.

                Seems easily dealt with, though. Go to ebay, buy a cheap older receiver (pre-HDMI) that has outputs to drive external amps, and at least one optical audio input with decode support. That'd be most of them from a several year span. Like this one. [] It's cheap as I write this, but if it doesn't end that way, there's always something on there. Both my Sony and my Denon have analog outputs that can output the decode from the toslink optical inputs.

                Even a parts unit would likely wo

                • Three days left, and it's already going for more than I paid for my DVD player. If it's anything like the ones I looked at, it will end up 3-4 times that by the time it actually sells, making it at least the same price as the XDS (oh, and it's in the wrong country for me).
                  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

                    It was just an example. It's still just $38 as I write this. Your complaint was decoders were as expensive as the XDS. I'm pointing out that EBay (or a good will shop, or a dumpster, or your brother's uncle's sister's aunt) can get you a (very good!) decoder for less from the zillions of used stereos that are out there. It's your job to find one that is in your country and in your price range. I can't do *everything* for you. Isn't it enough that I pointed out that your problem can be solved? Now get to wo

                    • If you'd read my original post, you'd see that looking for an external decoder box was one of the first things I did. And, yes, I did look on eBay. The cheapest one I found went for over £75, which was three times what I paid for the DVD player. Putting the electronics in the device would cost almost nothing. They're already decoding the streams, they just need a couple of extra DACs and some more traces on the board and sockets in the case. Buying an external device costs a lot more. The result
    • 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.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        Yeah... but "forking out for the high-end model" is a majestic $99 -- exactly the same as the AppleTV, which is barely compatible with anything, doesn't do component video or analog audio, can't support a DVI connection properly, doesn't do SD (and so has no composite connection either)... It seems to me that if you're committing to a device that's going to entertain you for years, the difference between $60 (low end Roku) and $99 (XDS, the model with everything) should direct everyone right to the XDS. It

    • by Labarna ( 945915 )
      I bought the Roku XD|S because it has a toslink connector on the back.
    • by Ant P. ( 974313 )

      Knowing Netgear, it'll probably have composite and S-Video out, and locked-down firmware.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For those of you that have one... Can you rewind/ffwd through movies that you rent from Amazon MarketPlace (AMP)? I rented an AMP movie via my pc and streamed through my xbox, and it wouldn't let us rewind or fast forward. I wasn't sure if this was an AMP feature or just because we downloaded the file.

    • by wbean ( 222522 )

      Yes you can rewind and fast forward. There's a progress bat to show you where you are but the image doesn't change. That makes it harder to find a particular spot. There's also a delay after a ffwd/rewind operation while it buffers the appropriate part of the file. That said, I love the Roku.

  • Compared to a DVD remote, the Roku's is missing next and previous chapter buttons. When I'm watching a show, I like to jump past the opening credits, thank you.

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

    • 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 Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Standard USB doesn't provide enough power for a device like this, especially if the device itself is a USB host.

        Standard USB allows for up to 1A. My Roku uses about 3W, which at 5V is 600 mA. That still leaves the Roku box with 400 mA (4 unit loads) left over to send through its own USB port.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nxtw ( 866177 )

          from Wikipedia []:

          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.

        • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

          Standard USB allows for up to 1A.

          Correction: 1.8 A [].

    • I don't have a USB or ethernet port on my TV. It would be a nice option but AC is still necessary for many of us old-fashioned people.
      • My HD TV does, but it's not really meant to be used. Basically it's just there for servicing the unit, and I have no idea what they actually do with it.
    • Compared to a DVD remote, the Roku's is missing next and previous chapter buttons. When I'm watching a show, I like to jump past the opening credits, thank you.

      It works differently with Netflix than you do with YouTube or

      On the Netflix display, if you hit the Pause button, then the Fast Forward button, it'll fan out a series of still images representing scene changes.

      I don't get any of that on the free channels. I have not yet tried Amazon. We're busy gorging on the all-you-can-eat Netflix.

      I do not know if this is related to a different player, different encoding in the data stream, or both.

      (I didn't know about this until my wife showed me. She's the

  • Apple TV is $99. Although in many ways inferior to other devices, I can't imagine any mass market device going above the $99 price point, as is the case with Roku. Maybe if it came with a hard disk it might be $200. Given what Android phones costs, Verizon can only match Apple prices on Adroid phones with a sleazy rebate, I doubt google devices are going to be competitive on price.

    The implication Roku licensing is certainly the inclusion of a media player built into the TV. I can imagine that this wou

  • The Roku could be an absolute Squeezebox slayer if the thing would only offer playback of more audio formats. As it stands, MainSqueeze channel is available to connect with a Squeezebox Server, but unfortunately ogg, flac, etc are not playable on the Roku. And transcoding doesn't work either. WHAT A HEARTBREAKER! Think about it, the Squeezebox starts at $299....

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"