Peer Review: Critics love Netflix's $100 Roku box, long for more content

Blockbuster hinted at a set-top box, but Netflix beat it to the punch this week, announcing an inexpensive little box that operates seamlessly with your pre-existing Netflix account. It's manufactured by Roku and costs $99. Any Netflix subscription over $9 a month qualifies for unlimited video streaming. So what's not to like? As with the Hulu launch, critics seemed to think that while the technology is there (and in both cases, at the right price), the amount of available content leaves something to be desired. Click Continue to read excerpts from reviews from around the web.

"If every piece of media in the Netflix catalog were streamable, this would be a 10 for sure."
"Textbook definition of a simple setup. Good video quality from streams. Box automatically upgrades as new software features become available. No cost above normal Netflix subscription… Just not as much content as we wish was available. , Wired

Meh. Wait 'till this box can do more than just Netflix
"If and when the Roku box serves up other streaming services it'll be a nice little node to stick on your TV to slurp up some free(ish) web media. Until then, it's probably for 'Netflix.com die-hards only,' a phrase I'd like to see more of." , Boing Boing Gadgets

Soon, Roku's features may be integrated into your TV
"Despite minor flaws, the Netflix player from Roku offers near-instant streams of movies without increasing your subscription cost. My sincere hope is that Netflix cribs from Apple's playbook and offers a wider Instant queue selection in the future… My guess is that eventually, the streaming feature will be part of Blu-ray players and TVs. But for now, the Netflix Player by Roku strikes me as a great value for early adopters and film addicts alike." PC Magazine

As long as you don't only like first run movies, it's great
"This is one of the most elegant and surprisingly usable dedicated devices I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike, say, the Kindle, everything here is almost perfect. As the literal incarnation of a web service, the Netflix Player by Roku is a true gem." , Crunchgear

It's flexible (take that, Apple TV)
"We were happy to see the presence of composite and S-Video jacks, as well an aspect ratio (standard or wide screen) toggle— which lets the Netflix Player connect to any old TV, not just HD set. (Apple TV can only connect to HDTVs.)" , CNet

It may be old content, but it's unlimited
"While appearing to have double the collection of Apple TV or Vudu, what do you get in Netflix's 10,000 movie collection? Basically, you get a lot of back catalog (classic movies) and a lot of TV shows (unheard of in rental situations!) right as they hit the market… The business model behind a flat rate unlimited streaming system is unheard of. Sure, they're taking a lot of older content, which is inherently cheaper. But think of it this way: For a nine-dollar-a-month account, you can hold off on buying older DVDs." , Gizmodo

Image was not impressive, though better than expected
"Personally, I found the image quality underwhelming… I saw minimal artifacts, but the image looked flat, with muted colors. Some standard def content was downright blurry: the opening credits for some films and television shows were difficult to read… Still, the image quality was better than I'd expected considering the Roku was outputting at 480p to a 50-inch Pioneer plasma television" , PC World

Easy enough for the grandparents
"It's pretty easy to learn to love this little hundred dollar bugger, even despite the fact that we need another set top box in our living room like we need a hole in the head. Sure, it's great that Netflix subscribers get a cheap, easy avenue for additional content to their TV, but the real beauty here is that this might actually be a streaming video box friendly enough to rival the Apple TV — or to give your folks." , Engadget

Almost perfect
"Is the Netflix Player, then, the movie box the world is waiting for? Not quite. It falls short on the age of its movies, the smallish selection of good ones and the not-quite-pristine video quality… But it comes darned close. For movie lovers who already subscribe to Netflix, at least, this one-time $100 expenditure is practically a no-brainer." , The New York Times


What do you think? Have you run out and bought one yet? As Netflix lovers, we're pretty excited…


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