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 Roku Press Release


After a year in secret development, Roku unveils its business and launches its first product Monday, the Roku HD1000


The HD1000 can play slideshows, video or music files from its four built-in memory card slots, or play files streamed from a computer via an Ethernet network connection.


"By trying to establish a beachhead in a large, but rapidly growing market, we could own it, because there's no competition today," Wood said during an interview in his office, sparsely decorated with memorabilia from his past startups. "It's called getting in early on a trend."


With a price tag of $499, Roku is targeting the high-end consumer, those already spending $3,000 or more on an HDTV set.
 

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Note this is a digital media PLAYER, not a recorder. Future products may include a hard drive and DVR features, but the HD1000 is just a networked media player.
 

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Seems overpriced for what it offers.


I've seen photo viewers that hook up to TVs for much less.


So it does HDTV, that is not excetional enough to justify a $400 price difference (when the needed electronics are probably a $15 price difference)


And networked media players, i expect you'll see more of them from just about everybody over the next few years.


This has "waiting for my non-compete to expire" written all over it.
 

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Quote:
This has "waiting for my non-compete to expire" written all over it.
This is exactly what I was thinking too. I figure 7 - 10 years?


Tim
 

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Well, the lack of a DVI output is kind of disapointing.


Also, the lack of HD content to send to it is going to limit it's usefullness for a bit, but I guess it's a start.
 

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Hey guys!


Thanks for your interest in the Roku HD1000. All of us who've been working on it for the last year or so are pretty excited about it.


Let me just take a second here to clarify a few things.


First, the $15 estimate for component price difference is way off the mark. The components to do HD and do it well are still quite expensive. Don't forget that we need a much faster processor, lots more memory, etc. Remember, the HD1000 is a media computer, not a single-purpose gizmo.


Next, let's just think about whether HD is really worth it, compared to SD. You know that 1080i has SIX TIMES the number of pixels of standard NTSC. What most people don't think about is that their digital cameras are actually HD-resolution devices, if they're 3 megapixels or more. You wouldn't want to watch other HD content on a regular TV, so why would you do it with your photos?


Let's also talk for a sec about how we stack up against SD photo viewing products. Most of these little gizmos hook up to your TV with composite connections! Not even S-Video. Not a recipe for a good-looking picture. Most of them will only allow you to use one memory card in them at a time, and have limitations on the maximum size picture you can display. Many of them don't display images in true color (a lot use dithered 16-bit). AND, none of them support both direct use of your camera's memory card and also display of pictures from a networked computer or computers. Most of the ones that do networked playback also require some sort of "client" software on the PC, which is a nuisance. We don't require that. Just share your pictures & music and go.


So, that's a lot about photos, but the product is a long way from being "just a photo viewer". Of course, we also play MP3 from cards or the network. Also, read the specs and you'll see that we are able to play full-bandwidth HDTV in all ATSC-supported formats! And, since it's a Linux computer, there are all sorts of other applications possible for it.


Right now, we use the HDTV playback capability for a feature we call "LiveArt (tm)". It's really very cool, and you almost have to see it to really appreciate it. You get the beautiful picture of the mountain lake, except that the water ripples and the mist rolls over the lake. Or, you get the wind-blown wheat field, where the wheat actually blows in the wind. If a picture makes you wish you were there, the LiveArt makes you feel sort of like you are there.


Anyway, one thing you may have missed is that our product is an open platform with a developer SDK. A third party (maybe one of you guys) could use the SDK to write a "thin client" to play streaming SD and HD video from a PVR or PC recorder. Wouldn't that be pretty groovy? I personally would be pretty stoked to have a disk-less player in my bedroom.


Last, just a quick factual correction: Anthony's non-compete agreement has expired. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by FreeBrian
Seems overpriced for what it offers.


I've seen photo viewers that hook up to TVs for much less.


So it does HDTV, that is not excetional enough to justify a $400 price difference (when the needed electronics are probably a $15 price difference)


And networked media players, i expect you'll see more of them from just about everybody over the next few years.


This has "waiting for my non-compete to expire" written all over it.
Anthony beat Tivo with the ReplayTV by 3 months and sold it for $125 million. I guess his vision is different than yours.


HDTV needs something just like this to tap into it's tremendous potential. It's got to start with something - why not the first HD multimedia player?


Yes, you can wait a few years and there will be a lot more choices - that's what the majority does.
 

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[web site was having traffic problems, but has been tweaked and is now working well]
 

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One more thing. This is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread if I'm going to be able to play all those Replay files that I've modified into various MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats. No further conversion? That'd be great!
 

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At first glance I would say a Picture Viewer/MP3 player for $500 is too much. I can use any old Pentium computer I have laying in the closet to do this. However the ability to play back HDTV may change my mind. MyHD get's the HD recording job don't but it is not at all pretty. I really miss my ReplayTV ease of use front end. ReplayTV spoiled me, I rarely watch anything live. If the Roku can play a HD show while the MyHD is recording another show then I think I will cave. I have tried using Main Lobby to make the HTPC easier to use but still does not compare to ReplayTV. The wife can stream between two Replays no problem. Currently she hates using the HTPC. If someone can confirm the Roku can play the MyHD files and SD shows I use DVArchive to pull from my two Replays I will buy atleast one. If it works I will need another HD set for the other room and another Roku. My wallet is being crushed. I would have liked to see a DVI output port though. Can it play DVD's I have ripped to my HTPC?
 

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We should all try using the right side of our brains once in a while.


"Live Art" sounds very cool. The mountain lake, maybe an aquarium,

or a fireplace. In HD, with a bigass screen on the wall is like something out of those sci-fi movies - I like it.

And "Live Art" packs you can buy, maybe some Rembrandt today or some Pollack for the dinner party - Yes.


Unfortunately I have just a 27" TV and no HD but it's nice to know this is out there.
 

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For the last couple years we've hosted HD "parties" for things like the Super Bowl and the Oscars, and each time at least one of the guests has commented, "wouldn't it be cool if you could play the ocean surf or autumn leaves falling in a meadow with a brook going through it with this good of a picture?"


Here in Kirkland I can't afford to buy a house on the lake and still have time to enjoy it, so I think this "Live Art" stuff could be a real nice pseudo-substitute.


Now, I've got to figure out the best way to break this to my wife? With the money I'm saving by not buying that waterfront property, maybe I can afford plasmas throughout the house. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jvidalny
Hey JustMike, how exactly does the Component (pass-through) work?
Thanks for asking!


Basically, we have a set of Component input jacks on the back of the unit as well as the Component output jacks. When the unit is in "standby", it passes through the input signal to the output. Turn it on, and the Roku display comes up. That's the default behavior.


You can also enable two automatic features, as follows:


1) If the input signal goes away, the HD1000's display comes up. You can set your HD1000 up with a slideshow or Art Pack running, or just sitting in its screensaver, and this is what will appear when your input signal goes away.


2) Similarly, if the input signal stops moving for more than a set period of time, the HD1000 display comes active.


In both of these cases, as soon as the input is restored, the HD1000 automatically goes back into "bypass" and you see your other sources.


The S-Video connection has a similar bypass feature but we do no format trans-coding. Either you use S-Video in and out or Component.


Hope that answers your question!
 

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Just the other day, we were using a computer that had one of those sunny tropical isle scenes as a background. My colleague suggested that it would be interesting if the weather changed in the background (hurricane coverage was on everyone's minds).


Here's my "LiveArt" application for you Roku guys..... design a LiveArt background scene whose weather reflects the mood of its owner. This would tip-off other family members to stay away (the "perfect storm") or when to try to head-off a conflict (gales picking up). Not only would this be a cool demonstration of your technical capabilities, it would promote domestic peace and tranquility.
 

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Just saw a little demo of the Roku on local NBC news at 5. Looks interesting, and was presented as a photo album displayer and music player for parties where a lot of people (family gathering...) want to see photos, etc. No mention of DVR/disk drive that I recall. (I could back up my RTV and replay it... :D )
 

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Hey Mike,


Just to let you know there are those of us who are still waiting for HDTV PVRs. If you can throw an HD tuner, disc drive, and DVI port on the Roku then you'd have a real winner. The only 1 box solutions out there right now come from Zenith and they don't hold a stick up to the design of Roku.


Just wanted to let you know that there is some demand for HDTV PVR.


Personally the current box doesn't interest me too much. The idea of a PVR is great - I can watch shows when I have time to. I very rarely have free time to sit down in front of my TV and look at pictures - and if I ever do I'd rather spend that time with my wife and kids. For me TV isn't a necessity, it's a luxury and I'll buy products which make the luxury more convenient. Now if you could have CD archiving along with the PVR then you'd be on the right track.


-phil
 
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