Hands On: $99 Roku Netflix box upgraded to sweet HDTV

Remember that Roku set-top box we told you about, the cheapest way to stream Netflix video? Now the $99 player has gone HD with its updated version 1.5 software and firmware, delivered online automatically in the past few days. Besides offering decent 720p video with quality that's no Blu-ray but certainly better than standard def, it has one smart detail that all the other Netflix streamers miss: it actually shows you which movies you can stream in HD. That's a nicety that's inexplicably omitted on the HD Netflix streaming interfaces of the Xbox 360 and TiVo.

Once the update is downloaded, the Roku/Netflix setup is short and sweet, where you choose HD, and you're off and running. We especially enjoy the improved user interface in all its HD glory — it was horribly ugly on an HDTV before, all stretched out in the wrong aspect ratio with no way to fix it. Now if Netflix could just expand its streamable offerings beyond the paltry 150 titles it now offers, this Roku box would be the best HD home theater value in the world.

Via Roku