It happens that I own all three of the Netflix streaming devices mentioned in this thread -- the Samsung BD-1590, the LG BD390, and the Roku. They all do a decent job of streaming Netflix, assuming a fast enough connection. I suppose if one was shopping for a new blu-ray player and also wanted Netflix streaming, either of the blu-ray units would be the most cost-effective solution. But the Roku has a lot going for it.
Here's what I like and don't like about each:
LG 390 - the good:
- Only device of the three with VUDU, high-quality 1080p streaming;
- Includes YouTube streaming in addition to Netflix (also has CinemaNow, but service not competitive with Amazon's);
- Can stream photos and videos wirelessly from your PC;
- Nicely designed player; clean, understandable on-screen interface;
- WI-FI included
LG 390 - the not-so-good:
- No Pandora (included on Samsung device; soon to be included on Roku);
- Its WIFI doesn't seem to work that well in my setup (so I connected it to wired Ethernet; performance much improved, comparable to Samsung via Ethernet or Roku via Ethernet or WIFI)
Samsung BD-1590 - the good:
- Includes Pandora in addition to Netflix;
- Also includes YouTube (with firmware upgrade);
- About 1/3 cheaper than LG 390
Samsung BD-1590 - the not-so-good:
- On screen interface more confusing, less intuitive than LG product;
- No built-in WIFI (its an $80 option);
- Noisy player -- sounds clunky, especially when you first turn it on.
Roku - the good:
- Clean, intuitive, responsive interface;
- Simple, easy to use remote;
- Ethernet and WIFI built in (wireless networking was easy to set up, and works well);
- Includes Amazon Video on Demand in addition to Netflix;
- Rapid startup (since its not also trying to be a blu-ray player);
- Device will soon add up to ten additional streaming services -- confirmed and/or rumored to include Revision3, Mediafly, Blip.tv, Flickr, Pandora, others;
- $99.99 -- with a 30-day money back guarantee;
- 1 year warranty both parts and labor (note: both the Samsung and LG players have only a 1-year parts/30-day labor warranty -- a concern on my end, as my first blu-ray player, a Samsung 1500, died after nine months).
Roku - the not-so-good:
- YouTube apparently not one of the services that will be added soon.
- It's not a blu-ray player (but you knew that)
I thought for a while that the proliferation of blu-ray players that do streaming and their declining prices might make the Roku less competitive. But Roku's imminent addition of a number of additional streaming services adds a lot of value for this user. It's a simple, elegant little box that just works.
Roku has just come out with two additional models in addition to its original $99 model: a budget $79.99 unit with SD only and no HDMI out, and a deluxe $129.99 unit that adds 802.11n networking, and a USB port designated for future use.
There's one more possible downside to the Roku: if your monitor or AV receiver has two HDMI inputs, and you're using one for a blu-ray player and another for a DVR or a gaming device, you'll be out of HDMI ports and have to connect the Roku some other way. I solved that problem by buying a manual 2 x 1 HDMI switcher for about $16 from monoprice (which worked just fine -- though I later upgraded to a 4 x 1 HDMI switcher with remote for about $30).