Roku High Definition Playback Unit

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Parker Clack, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Anthony Wood (founder of ReplayTV) has started up a new company called Roku. Their first new product to the market is the Roku HD1000 which is a High Definition playback machine.

    You can read more about it http://www.rokulabs.com.

    Parker
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Thanks for that Parker—a very interesting idea

    This would seem to be a very niche market, but so far these guys will have !00% of it.
     
  3. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    TIt seems like this would be something great for people who have plasma's or some type of wall mounted flatscreen. But I can't imagine using this for a rptv, just to see pictures.
     
  4. John Telleria

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    I purchased a Roku HD1000 a month ago. I'm VERY happy with the purchase and would do it all over again. I will say the Roku isn't for everyone. $500 is too much to pay if all you're going to do is use it to display digital photos from one of it's built-in digital media slots (Compact Flash, SD/MMC, Memory Stick, SmartMedia). But, if you have a home network and home theater with an HDTV, the Roku is definitely a nice fit.
    The Roku has an Ethernet port for wired network connection and a USB port for USB wi-fi adapters if you prefer wireless. I have my Roku networked using a Linksys 801.11g Ethernet bridge connected to the Roku's Ethernet port. I have access to my entire digital photo and music collection via network shares. The 6 mega-pixel photos I've taken with my Canon Digital Rebel look incredible at 1080i on my Toshiba 65" widescreen. The last few days I've been downloading hi-resolution color Mars images from the NASA website and viewing them in 1080i resolution through the Roku. The Roku photo viewer is pretty flexible, giving you the ability to zoom in/out for viewing photos in their entirety on the screen or zooming in to view details. Once in zoom mode, you can pan up/down/sideways. The photo viewer also lets you rotate your images. And there's a slideshow mode which can be paused at any time.

    The Roku not only displays digital photos, but plays digital audio as well. Right now it supports MP3, WAV and AIFF formats, with support for additional audio formats in the works. I'm in the process of ripping my entire cd collection to high-quality MP3 format including scanning in the cd covers, artwork and liner notes. All accessible from my Roku via my network. With my Roku connected to my Sony DA50ES receiver via digital coax, the sound quality is excellent. As long as you have your MP3's organized by folders and subfolders, the Roku makes it easy to navigate your music collection by artist/album.

    The Roku can play back MPEG2 video as well. Right now MPEG2 playback is limited to MPEG2 transport streams (.TS format). If you have a PC with an HDTV capture card, you'll be able to play your high-definition .TS captures through the Roku, provided you have your Roku connected via wired Ethernet or a 801.11g bridge adapter. 801.11b wi-fi doesn't have enough bandwidth to support high-quality video. One of my PC's has an ATI All-in-Wonder 8500DV video/tv tuner card that I use to record tv shows off cable in MPEG2 format. I've been experimenting with converting tv shows I've recorded with the ATI card to .TS format using VideoLAN's VLC, a free utility. It works, but not perfect. Some of the converted clips play back perfectly with the Roku, but with other converted clips I only get video and no audio. Roku developers are working on the ability to play back MPEG2 program streams, including support for VOB, so hopefully soon conversion to .TS transport stream will be unnecessary.
    Updating the Roku's system software is easy. You download the software update file from Roku's website, copy it to a CompactFlash card and boot the Roku with the card inserted.

    The Roku is Open Source and Linux-based, meaning any software developer who knows Linux and C can develop apps for the Roku using the free SDK provided on the Roku website. So there's a lot of untapped potential with this product.

    You can view all the Roku HD1000 technical specs and even download the user manual from the Roku website, http://www.rokulabs.com

    There's also a Roku community message forum at http://main.myfreebb.com/rokuforums if you want to ask questions from current owners like myself.
     
  5. John Telleria

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    If the $499 price of the Roku was keeping anyone from buying one, this press release from today might be of interest to you.....


    Roku Lowers Price and Broadens Retail Distribution for Leading Digital Media Player; Introduces New Gallery Collection Package for High-Tech Art Enthusiasts

    PALO ALTO, Calif., March 4, 2004 – Roku, the company that designs advanced digital media players that significantly enhance the home entertainment experience has lowered the price of its HD1000 high-definition digital media player by $200. The Roku HD1000 lets consumers enjoy digital media - photos, music, video, art and more on their TVs. Beginning today, the HD1000 will sell for $299, and will be available to more retailers as Roku aggressively broadens retail distribution for its digital media products. The Roku HD1000 and Roku SoundBridge, a network music player that allows people to play digital music from their computers anywhere in the house, were recently honored with Innovations Awards at 2004 International CES.

    In addition, Roku introduced a new SKU, the “Roku HD1000 Gallery Collection” for $499. The Roku HD1000 Gallery Collection combines the Roku HD1000 with six Art Packs –Aquarium, The Classics, Nature, Space, Clocks and Holidays- on one compact flash card. Roku Art Packs, which sell separately for $69 each, will be bundled with a Roku HD1000 digital media player for a total price of $499, providing a significant discount for those who like to showcase art on their televisions.

    “The adoption of HDTV over the past few months has been phenomenal, supporting strong Roku HD1000 sales,” said Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood. “As prices for HDTVs have dropped, sales have increased, allowing HDTV to become mainstream and easier for consumers to purchase. Roku is following that same pattern. We are now broadening our retail distribution which enables us to lower the price for the HD1000, and pass the savings to consumers.”

    The Roku HD1000 can be used with any TV, providing an upgrade path for consumers who are interested in buying an HDTV, and giving it both immediate and long-term value. No other digital media player can be used for both standard and HDTV. The Roku HD1000 easily connects to a home network, PC or Mac for accessing digital media, yet it also has slots on its front bezel to allow consumers to simply plug in a memory card. Once the memory card from a digital camera is plugged in, an instant photo slide show begins, or when a Roku Art Pack memory card is inserted, images from Monet and Picasso resonate throughout the home.

    Pricing and Availability
    The Roku HD1000 is priced at $299.99. Roku Art Packs - The Classics, Nature, Space, Clocks, Holidays and Aquarium are $69.99. The Roku HD1000 Gallery Collection is priced at $499.99. The Roku HD1000 and Roku Art Packs including special-priced downloadable Space and Holiday Art Packs can be ordered at www.rokulabs.com .
    Consumers who purchased a Roku HD1000 on or after Feb. 4 from Roku's Web site are eligible for a $200 rebate or a free Roku SoundBridge M1000 network music player, valued at $249. Contact support@rokulabs.com for additional details.

    Additionally, the Roku HD1000 and select Roku Art Packs can be found in consumer electronics stores nationwide including Abt, Anderson 's TV, Good Guys, Harvey Electronics, J&R Music, Magnolia Audio Video, Sharper Image, ThinkGeek and Tweeter Home Entertainment Group locations such as Tweeter, HiFi Buys, Sound Advice, Showcase Home Entertainment and Hillcrest High Fidelity. Roku products can also be found at www.amazon.com .
     

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