Roku Releases New Set-Top Boxes

Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — Roku, one of the largest players in streaming video technology, has followed up the release of its flagship Roku 3 earlier this year, with three new budget-priced boxes that are sure to put porn in more living rooms than ever before.

According to the company, Roku launched the first product designed to deliver movies from Netflix instantly to televisions via the power of the Internet, with its best-selling streaming players becoming” synonymous with amazing choice, control, and value in TV entertainment.”

All of the devices in the new lineup sport a sleek, sporty look.

Joining the $99.99 “fully loaded and lightning fast,” Roku 3 and now available for pre-order, are the $59.99 Roku 1, which offers instant streaming with 1080p HD video, plus the Roku 2, at $79.99, which includes a fancy remote with integrated headphone jack. Rounding out the offers is the bargain basement $49.99 Roku LT — providing what the company calls its “best streaming value” — but at 720p only, rather than the full HD of its pricier brethren.

While the Roku 3 lacks analog video jacks, it makes up for it with the addition of a fast dual-core processor — and also of interest to adult content fans, an SD card slot allowing users to easily display their content collection on the big screen.

The addition of M-Go provides premium VOD services tied to the Roku owner’s account and the credit card on file with the streaming service, with the added benefit of allowing users to access any UltraViolet content they have stored in digital lockers, perhaps giving this format an additional boost.

A free iOS and Android app is available for all Roku boxes, transforming the user’s mobile device into a remote control, able to browse and add new channels. iOS users will also be able to use their phone or tablet to send music, photos and personal videos to their HDTV as well.

Pre-ordering directly from Roku.com provides free shipping on all players and a 30-day money back guarantee, with delivery expected in October.

Studying the stats, it appears that the two lower end units feature an improved version of the earlier remote, with this latest incarnation adding channel shortcut buttons that allow users to directly access programming from Netflix, among other content partners. It is the remote included on the two higher end units, however, that is of more interest to adult-oriented program providers and consumers, as its integrated headphone jack allows for a more private viewing experience — perfect for late night porn viewing — and the type of feature that might push some potential purchasers over the edge, providing a promising future for these players.

Roku’s appeal to adult entertainment should also not be underestimated, as a wide range of companies are already targeting the device, including AEBN, CherrySauceTV, EroticVision TV, FyreTV, Helix Studios, Hotflix.tv, PinkTV, SCMDL, ScoreTV, SugarDVD, Vivid Entertainment, Wasteland and others. ABTV began broadcasting live cam shows on Roku earlier this year, using standard text messaging for chat provisioning.

SexEntertain.com also released its “Content Anywhere System” earlier this year, making it easy for publishers to start their own Roku channel, illustrating the platform’s appeal.

While Roku and similar devices are seen as marginal outlets by some industry players, it’s almost certain that product rollouts such as the company’s new lineup will only increase their overall adoption, making Roku boxes a viable platform for years to come.

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