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Roku Lives to Make Netflix Set-top Boxes

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[qi:032] Just when I thought Roku, a device maker started by Anthony Woods, had kicked the bucket, NewTeeVee reports that they are coming back as a set-top box supplier for Netflix and its video download service. Woods had joined Netflix after leaving Roku in April 2007. The box basically downloads movies from Netflix via a broadband connection.

At present, 10,000 movies are available for download. Despite the $100 price tag, I think Netflix clearly has its work cut out for it, much like any other Internet set-top box maker. Despite the presence of many deep-pocketed device makers, there are none who can be labeled a success.

AppleTV is still stuck in the first gear, as far as I am concerned. Call me skeptical, because I believe the average TV users are reticent to add more boxes to their entertainment consoles. Moreover, when under pressure both phone companies and cable operators will partner with web-video services and offer it to the home viewers.

Bottomline: If Netflix wants to have an impact in the market, it has beef up its library and at the same time make the box free for Netflix DVD subscribers.

* Checkout NewTeeVee for the entire review of the Netflix/Roku box.

4 Responses to “Roku Lives to Make Netflix Set-top Boxes”

  1. @Libran Lover

    The movie studios haven’t licensed the rest of the catalog for streaming use.

    Would you feel better if it was $17 per month and the box was free? [$9 for basic Netflix plan + ($99 Roku box / 12 Months) = $17.25 per month]

  2. Om wrote: “If Netflix wants to have an impact in the market, it has beef up its library and at the same time make the box free for Netflix DVD subscribers.”

    Amen to that, Om. I’d even be okay with signing up for a 1 year contract if Netflix streams ALL its movies online and gives the box for free! What is keeping them from streaming all their movies anyway?

  3. Jesse Kopelman

    Maybe the next Apple TV should actually be a TV — basically an iMac with a bigger screen, but wimpier computer bits. I’d think 37″ would be the right size for the initial offering. The success of LCD at the expense of better value DLP shows that people are willing to pay extra for better looking and that’s something Apple does very well. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could get $1,500 for a 37″ model and given that’s more than the cost of a 37″ LCD plus a current-model Apple TV, that would be a very healthy profit.

  4. Om, I too believe that consumers do not want another set-top box. I have Comcast digital cable and love On-demand but pay-per-view is expensive. I simply see Comcast launching a tiered on-demand service for movies – different price points allow a specific number of rentals per month (Netflix on-demand basically).

    Adding the functionality into TVs like LG however does have potential and I see that really taking off. I just don’t see the movie companies agreeing to a Napster-like “1 price/unlimited streams” model in the long-run. They do it now because they don’t want to make the mistakes of the music industry…but…$9.99 and stream as much as I want for the month?