Netflix bows $99 STB for movies, TV shows

Tue, 05/20/2008 - 8:25am
Mike Robuck

Netflix announced today that its customers with broadband connections will no longer have to wait by the mailbox for DVDs of movies and TV shows.

Netflix has partnered with Roku on a $99 set-top box (STB), roughly the size of a paperback novel, which will instantly stream movies and shows to customers’ TVs.

With the $99 price tag, the Netflix Player by Roku costs half the price of a similar device by Apple. Netflix said the device will give its members access to more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes; but because of Hollywood rights issues, most of the Internet content is more than five years old.

"We're excited to bring the first Netflix-ready device to the market," said Anthony Wood, CEO and founder of Roku. "The seamless integration of the Netflix service into our player has resulted in true ease of use for the consumer. Now, streaming video isn't limited to people sitting in front of the PC; it's ready for the TV in the living room."

The device is connected to TVs and the Internet in homes. For homes with wireless Internet connectivity, the player is Wi-Fi enabled.

With the player's accompanying remote control, members can browse and make selections right on the TV screen and also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies. In addition, they have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding the video stream via the remote.

Additional features of the product include optimization of the Netflix video-streaming technology – which eliminates the need for a hard disk drive associated with video downloads – and built-in connectivity for automatic software upgrades, which will keep the device current with service enhancements.

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