We had big hopes the Roku HD-XR streaming player would add local streaming when those leaked pics showed a USB port
, but we just got the official launch materials and a review unit, and as of right now the only difference between the new $129 HD-XR Player and the existing model is an upgrade to 802.11n WiFi -- the USB port is for "future use." Now, we're big proponents of 802.11n
, so we're not complaining, but we've never had a problem streaming HD Netflix
with our regular Roku HD Player on 802.11g, so we're not too sure the HD-XR is worth the $30 premium right now. Roku is gearing up to launch a new Channel Store with additional content in the coming weeks, however, so there's a chance this little box will need the extra bandwidth sometime soon -- we'll have to wait and see.
Roku's also launching the SD-only Roku SD Player for $79, which might actually be the more interesting product here, as we know tons of people with old TVs in bedrooms and basements who would love some cheap movie streaming. It'll be in the same enclosure as the HD Player and the HD-XR Player, but only have 802.11g WiFi and RCA audio / video outputs.
Roku HD-XR Player unboxing and hands-on
Roku HD-XR and SD Player press images