It looks like Roku made its first move to go beyond being just “the Netflix player” this weekend. Firing up the ole Roku box this afternoon brought up the new home screen instead of immediately jumping directly into the Netflix streaming queue like it usually does.
There’s a new welcome message saying:
“By now you’ve discovered our new home screen. This screen will become your launching pad for a number of great new channels that will begin to appear on your player in early 2009. In addition to the hugely popular Netflix channel, you’ll see movie channels, TV channels, web video and more!
We’ve also upgraded your player to support an advanced video format that will deliver better video quality, especially over Internet connections.
Finally, your player is now fully HD compatible. If you have an HDTV, select ‘update display type’ below to get the full HD experience. (Tip: visit http://www.netflix.com/InstantHD for HD movies from Netflix.)”
We knew these moves were coming from Roku. Now we have a better sense of when: Look for content partnership announcements after the first of the year, presumably from at least YouTube. This does make the $99 device a more enticing holiday gift, but I still think you should wait before buying one and I’m not alone; others think they may just be a temporary fix.
Here’s the welcome message.
The screen to change your video setting.
Ironically, the picture I took of the HD capability is out of focus. Nice to see that Netflix has a nice list of the (limited) HD movies now, though.