Roku Adds HD, Updates for Non-Netflix Content

14 Comments

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.

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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 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.

More screenshots below.

Here’s the welcome message.
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The screen to change your video setting.
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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.
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14 Comments

Paul

I am less than wowed…the Netflix HD DID look great, but there is a paucity of HD titles with many of the 2 star losers no one has ever heard of.
C’Mon!
And they announced affiliation with Amazon On Demand, a good addition with movies from $.99 to $3.99 but….apparently NOT in HD.

Peter

I clicked update on my Roku player a bunch of times and finally it worked…try hitting update like 8 times in a row. You’ll get it…

Craig Rubens

I had a weird problem with my update. When I updated the box I then wasn’t able to connect to my wireless network. I had to reset the Roku to factory settings to get it to reconnect to the network. I haven’t tried updating it again.

Anyone else have this problem?

Christopher Gioconda

According to Netflix and Roku, the updated firmware will be rolled out according to serial number in a staggered fashion. I’m assuming this is to prevent their servers from going down as everyone updates their firmware (especially everyone who is going to receive the box for the holidays) and to prevent problems streaming HD. Oh well.

Tom Miller

I have yet to see this update as well. I factory reset my device hoping the update would come down, but no luck. I also try the update option and it says I am up to date. Will have to keep checking. Just got it hooked up to my HDTV about a week ago in preperation for this updated release.

Dave Zatz

Bummer, still no update for me. I checked last night, and I just checked now. Guess they’re doing a staggered roll out. Either their servers can’t handle it, or they want to see if any bugs bot caught in the beta spring up? (Or they want to make sure their reduced help desk staff can handle any calls.)

Glenn Fleishman

Not seeing this yet on my Roku, even after checking for updates via its menu. I’m using component for connecting to my HDTV (due to a shortage of HDMI cables).

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