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Summary:

Roku is coming to market with updates to its broadband set-top boxes tomorrow, improving the video quality and capabilities of its products while retaining the same low prices. The update comes as Roku tries to get out ahead of product releases from Apple, Google and Boxee.

Roku XDS

Roku is coming to market with three new broadband set-top boxes tomorrow, improving the video quality and capabilities of its products while retaining the same low price that it had for its previous generation of online video players. The update comes as Roku tries to get out ahead of new hardware releases from Apple, Google and Boxee.

With the update, Roku is releasing three new products that go on sale tomorrow: the entry-level Roku HD, the Roku XD and the Roku XD|S. The three new set-top boxes carry the same prices as the previous portfolio of Roku products, with the Roku HD priced at $59.99, the XD $79.99 and the XD|S $99.99.

All three of the new products carry the same new form factor, which is slightly smaller than previous Roku boxes, but the XD and the XD|S have some advanced features, setting them apart from the Roku HD. For one thing, the XD and XD|S are capable of streaming full 1080p video when available, compared to the HD and previous Roku models, which topped out at 720p. The XD and XD|S also have a new remote control with instant replay, information and back buttons that aren’t available on Roku’s basic remote. In addition, the two higher-end products have integrated 802.11N wireless connectivity.

The XD|S ups the ante even further, as it has optical audio and composite outputs, in addition to the standard HDMI and component outputs on the other two boxes. It also has a built-in USB port on the side to enable users to plug in and watch their own content in supported formats. A full breakdown of the differences between the products is below:

Roku’s new set-top boxes take advantage of the company’s existing partnerships with content providers, such as Netflix,, Amazon Video On Demand, Pandora, Major League Baseball, Revision 3 and Blip.tv, all of which have built channels that users can view through the Roku Box. Altogether, Roku has more than 75 public channels available, with new channels from online video site Vimeo and music streaming provider MOG recently being added. Now, with the ability to handle 1080p video, Roku can stream the highest-quality video streams available from each of those providers.

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