My primary Christmas gift this past year was an Apple TV, a small box that plugs into a high-definition television (HDTV) and lets you stream your own content (video, family photographs, and anything in your iTune library) from any computer on your home network or use the internet to watch YouTube, audio and video podcasts, and access downloadable movies for sale or rent through your iTunes account. Interestingly, I’ve never been much of a television-watcher, but my wife thinks I’ve become absolutely obsessed with the new HDTV and the Apple TV device. There’s just so much to watch and explore, especially podcasts and YouTube videos!
So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Amazon just announced a $99.00 digital video player from Roku that offers very similar performance and gives you wireless access to 40,000 video titles from their massive online library. This looks really cool at a price that just kills AppleTV’s $229.00 box. Since a lot of Amazon’s library is only available to U.S. residents, I’m wondering if the Roku player will be sold internationally. By the way, Apple’s iTunes claims to have “thousands of movies available for purchase,” but I seriously doubt their inflated estimates: I would put it in the hundreds, not thousands.
If anyone gets their hands on one of these units, I would love to hear what you think about it. It plays in high definition and, according to the ad copy, it works on older analog televisions, which is something Apple doesn’t offer (most people don’t realize this until they get their Apple TV home, like me).