Roku's Netflix Player handling HD content "by the end of the year"

If you're not a Netflix subscriber and aren't interested in becoming one, please pardon yet another post about streaming content from the formerly DVD-exclusive renter -- but for those non-Xbox owning, non-Live subscribing readers who want to get in on some HD Watch it Now action, we have some good news for you. Earlier indications were that other Netflix-friendly devices would see updates enabling high-def support and now, in what appears to be an official confirmation from Roku's VP of Consumer Products, that company's little $99 box will indeed be "delivering Netflix in HD by the end of the year," complete with a tweaked interface to suit all those extra pixels. Additionally, streaming here will operate over lower bitrates than the Xbox is expecting; good for those with iffy download speeds, but perhaps coming at the cost of quality. Finally, and teasingly, Roku devs are said to be working on "another major new feature" that will blow your mind. Oh, how we do love surprises.

Update: StreetStealth wrote in to let us know that Tim at Roku posted again, saying "Using a more advanced codec, we can deliver equal or better quality at lower bit-rates." We can't wait to see for ourselves.

[Via Hacking Netflix]