Although it's only just been revealed and won't actually go on sale for four long weeks, Apple's new hockey puck is far from the only media streamer on the market -- and with Sony's Netbox and the Boxee Box on the way, the sub-$200 set-top box market is exploding with options. So let's line up the revised Apple TV against the (post-price cut) Roku HD-XR, Popbox, and even an LG Blu-ray player in the same price range and see what you're actually getting -- and more importantly, getting access to -- on each device. Oh, and there's some choice words from Roku after the break.
Update: You asked for them, so we added the PS3, Xbox 360 & WDTV Live as well, after the break.
|Device:||AppleTV||Roku XR||Pop Box||LG BD550|
|Price:||$99||$99||$129||$130 - $150|
|Form Factor/Size:||3.9 x 0.9 x 3.9||5 x 5 x 1.75||8 x 1.4 x 6 inches||16.9 x 1.8 x 7.9|
|Available Content:||HD TV shows from ABC & Fox ($0.99), HD Movie rentals ($4.99/$3.99), Netflix, iTunes, YouTube||Netflix, Amazon VOD (now with $0.99 HD TV show purchases from Fox & ABC), MLB.tv, UFC, NBA GameTime, YouTube, Pandora||YouTube, Revision3, Blip.tv, h.264 / XviD / MPEG-4, MKV / AVI / WMV||Blu-ray discs, VUDU, Netflix, CinemaNow, YouTube, Pandora, Napster|
|Apps / SDK:||N/A||Roku Channel / SDK available||Popapps Store / SDK available||NetCast widgets|
|Connectivity:||WiFi N, Ethernet||WiFi N, Ethernet||Ethernet, optional WiFi adapter||Ethernet, Disc|
|Video Quality:||720p, 5.1 audio||720p (1080p upgrade coming soon), 5.1 audio||1080p, 5.1 audio||1080p, 7.1 audio, DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD audio|
|Device:||AppleTV||Sony PS3 Slim 250GB||Xbox 360 S 250GB||WDTV Live Plus|
|Form Factor/Size:||3.9 x 0.9 x 3.9||11.42 x 2.56 x 11.4||12 x 3 x 10||4.9 x 1.5 x 3.9|
|Available Content:||HD TV shows from ABC & Fox ($0.99), HD Movie rentals ($4.99/$3.99), Netflix, iTunes, YouTube||Blu-ray, PlayStation Network, Netflix, Qriocity, DLNA, DivX Certified||HD DVD (lolz), Zune Marketplace, DLNA/PC streaming, XviD/DivX, Netflix, ESPN3 coming soon||Netflix, DLNA streaming, AVI / MPG / MKV, YouTube, Pandora|
|Apps / SDK:||PlayStation Network||Xbox Live, Community Games||N/A|
|Connectivity:||WiFi N, Ethernet||WiFi b/g, Ethernet||WiFi N (no 5 Ghz), Ethernet||Ethernet, USB, optional WiFi or Powerline networking|
|Video Quality:||720p, 5.1 audio||1080p, 7.1 audio, DTS-HD MA / Dolby TrueHD||1080p, 5.1 audio||1080p, 5.1 audio|
Response from Roku:
Roku created the category for streaming players over two years ago with the original Netflix player for $99. Since then the category has continued to grow rapidly with large hardware entrants like Xbox, PS3, Wii, blu-ray players, and now AppleTV adding streaming capabilities. At the same time, content is becoming more readily available thanks to Netflix's increasing popularity, but also from Amazon, MLB.TV and most recently Hulu Plus. During this time Roku sales have continued to accelerate as the overall streaming market grows, and customers enjoy our simple interface, low cost and large selection of services. Our customers are using the box more and more. Two years ago the average Roku customer used our product 11 hours a month, but now it's 43 hours a month.
Beyond Netflix we have introduced over 50 additional content partners on our open platform that offer customers access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows, live sports, music, photo and video sharing, and more - all while continuing to reduce the cost of our products. Today, a customer can get a Roku player for as low as $59.99 and an HD-capable model for as low as $69.99, plus a 1080p model for $99.99. By selling direct to customers (on roku.com) we can offer more while maintaining lower prices.
Roku is completely confident that our strategy of offering more features and lower cost than competitors continues to be the right plan.