We're big fans of the $100 Roku HD streaming media player, letting Netflix members and Amazon Video on Demand users stream HD video on the cheap. Now the company rolls out two new models, the $130 Roku HD-XR that adds faster 802.11n Wi-Fi, and the cheap Roku SD, playing standard definition video at a rock-bottom price of $80.
That lower-end Roku SD is an excellent value, especially because most of Netflix's and Amazon's current offerings only stream in standard definition. You'll also sacrifice an HDMI connector and optical audio in that Roku SD player, which might not make much difference, given that there's no HD playback involved.
On the higher end, the Roku HD-XR offers another tantalizing feature in addition to its faster wireless-N Wi-Fi capability: there's a USB port on the back, but currently it does nothing. Roku says as soon as the unit's firmware is updated, that port will allow you to play video files from an external hard disk. This we gotta see. Let's hope Roku includes support for lots of video types.
Take a look at closeups of the business ends of these babies: