The much buzzed-about Netflix set-top box is out. Now. This version was created by Roku, with the LG version coming later in 2008. Consumers and industry alike have been anxiously awaiting this, as Netflix will now make 10,000 videos (movies and TV shows) available to stream just like it’s part of your digital cable. The cost is $100 for the hardware, and any Netflix subscriber with the $8.95 plan or higher, gets access to the library. Here’s a summary of the early reviews, which are mostly positive:
The first Netflix box by Roku is a 5-inch-by-5-inch device that will have access to about 10,000 videos, including movies, which means it is about 10 percent of total Netflix DVD catalog. Also, as Crave points out, only two of Netflix’s top 100 DVDs are available for streaming, for now: March of the Penguins and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The plus point is the price: it retails for $100, and delivers unlimited streaming to any Netflix subscriber on the $8.95 plan or above, without any additional charge. It is also simple to install and basic: it isn’t HD movie playing, like what Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) TV or Vudu offers, though those are pricier services. The LG Electronics box is expected to include the streaming capability in a Blu-ray DVD player, and is launching second half of this year, the company says.
From NewTeeVee (which includes photos of the device):
The whole setup is small and fits easily into a TV cabinet. Since it’s delivered over the Internet there is some pixelation on some action scenes, which Twerdahl says is the result of the compression used by Netflix to deliver the service to PCs. For the most part, however, content looked fine on my TV.
Other than the pleasures of instant gratification, the experience had a few nice features, such as the ability to fast-forward and rewind while looking at images of the action rather than moving a slider bar.