Roku rolls out HD, new content in 2009

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Roku started its rollout of HD content to Netflix Box owners beginning today. I’ve been a latecomer beta tester, and am generally happy with the quality of the stream I’m getting.

Only about 100 movies are HD at this time. Many of the shows provided by CBS, including Star Trek the first season, are being rolled out as HD quality. The Star Trek shows are exceptionally nice—crisp, campy, and colorful.

I have a 720p television, connected via HDMI. The stream sizes I’m seeing are 2.6 for HD, and 1.5mpbs for SD quality. The SD quality shows are actually using less bandwidth with the new profile.

There are some hiccups, including shows that end abruptly, some audio/video sync issues, but these are issues that Netflix is aware of, and working to resolve.

No new content for Roku box owners, at least not until 2009. There is now a screen option in the Roku box that will provide access to the new content when it does release. No hints, either, about what the new content will be. Most folks are still hoping for Hulu.

All in all, after a few bumps along the way, the Roku box, with a subscription to Netflix, has turned out to be the best video value this year. Costwise, the combination costs a fraction of what cable costs.

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