Roku 2 Revealed, Angry Birds In Tow?

Dave Zatz —  June 29, 2011

roku-hd

Why thank you, FCC. Once again our government regulatory agency has kindly spilled the beans on an upcoming gadget. Meet the Roku 2. Granted, we already knew Roku had new hardware in the pipeline… given recent allusions in support of their upcoming casual gaming app initiative (starting with Angry Birds).

Having owned the original Roku media streamer, and iterations from two successive generations, I’m not quite certain how they came up with Roku “2” — perhaps it’s that new gaming angle. And perhaps these new models will also be mated with a refreshed interface. Regardless, as with the prior two pre-holiday revs, Roku intends to offer a three box lineup (HD, XD, XS). Which is probably one too many. But, marketing aside, the spec sheet included with the filing (below) offers up some interesting details. Whereas wireless network connectivity was a differentiator amongst previous Roku models, all members of the new line feature the same chip. However, the two lower-end models do away with Ethernet. Not a problem for me, as I only attempt Ethernet when I’m on the road.

More interesting is the inclusion of Bluetooth within all three boxes. And this is presumably how Roku will offer some sort of accessory that serves double duty as a traditional remote control and game pad. The two lower end models ship with an IR remote, while the high end unit ships with probably that unidentified RF remote (and will hopefully show up in its own FCC filing). But given the capabilities of the units that do without, I assume it’ll be an optional add-on – at least for that middle tier box destined for retail. (TiVo should be taking notes here.) Also, while we’re talking remotes, even the standard model has been redesigned as it’s classified as an 11 button remote, versus the existing 12 or 8.

Of course, what we don’t know is Roku 2 pricing or timing other than earlier corporate mentions of “summer.”

Update: Looks like one of the Roku beta testers took the FCC leak as permission to snap and share some shots of their box. So I’ve swiped one of the pics submitted to Engadget and run it above. Without the awful “HD” model identifier scored across the top, you might mistake the new Roku line for an AppleTV given the new plastic polish and rounded corners. However, the device does appear a bit taller. Also, we’ve confirmed my remote redesign theory – it’s looks a bit more ergonomic and carries along Roku’s now signature purple accent. Unfortunately, it looks as if they’re dropping the most compelling instant replay button. Lastly, what’s up with this microSD card? Yuck. Is that the best Roku can do to overcome memory and storage issues?

(via Engadget)

10 responses to Roku 2 Revealed, Angry Birds In Tow?

  1. Of course, what I really want beyond that refreshed UI is more premium content partners. Give me Showtime or HBOGo. Heck, HGTV would work (an authentic app, not swiped static iPad video files).

    Also, what’s up with the additional power consumption from the top tier model? Is something else going on beyond that RF remote support? And does it suggest the middle model won’t handle it? Hm. And, USB connectivity is only found with that top tier model, probably reinforcing it’s low priority for Roku. But, hey, if they ever incorporate DLNA streaming with broader codec support most geeks would be satisfied.

  2. Hey, Dave, what’s with the truncated RSS feed? I can no longer read your posts in Feedly without clicking through. Please bring back full-text in RSS!

  3. Based on some discussion in the Roku forums, it looks like it may have been a beta tester that spilled the beans first by accidentally posting a question about the box they were testing in a public forum. The post was quickly removed, but apparently not fast enough. It supposedly prompted someone to search for the model number in the FCC database, and…voila…there’s your leak. Is it true? Can’t say for sure, but it would be pretty funny if it were.

    http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=40867

  4. Netflix is working on the content front- signed a deal yesterday for streaming rights during the pay-tv window for a new film with DeNiro and Clive Owen. Plus it’s got that Kevin Spacey original TV series in the works.

  5. Chad, then it probably happened simultaneously as I’m fairly certain Engadget has a tool that crawls the FCC db for certain companies and Roku’s entry appeared yesterday. They publish slower since the recent staff defection and management shakeup, but I suspect they had an internal alert. Of course, I will try to beat them now and then, and not all words are indexed or checked which is how I got a Flip scoop under Cisco. :) And speaking of blog dynamics…

    Phil, we were hit by Google Panda towards the end of February. It was a search indexing algorithm update intended to penalize content farms. Well, it got us too. So either we’re just not worthy or it’s a case of friendly fire. Regardless, there’s been a variety of behind the scenes things going plus some visible ones too like less posting on my part and I put the site redesign on hold.

    In the past, I didn’t care too much about the “scrapers” who republish our content, but given the significant traffic drop I’ve made a concerted effort to go after them and hopefully reclaim some Google juice (because Google doesn’t always know who’s the real author or which site published first). One of the techniques these folks use is republishing RSS feeds and I made it pretty easy for them. I’ve been sending out DMCA takedown notices to ISPs with pretty good luck. But it’s time consuming. Also, some sites just don’t know what they’re doing – a cable industry site, owned by a cable company, thought they were doing me a favor (and others) by running my posts in that manner. So another method to reduce my exposure is by publishing just excerpts. Of course that sucks for regulars, and I like to run the kind of site I’d like to read – with an ad-free, full feed. But it’s on hold now. I was hoping a few weeks of the excerpts could be helpful, but I’ve had enough complaints that I just may turn it back on and we’ll see what happens.

    For more thoughts with additional tips and tricks, check out my pal Brad’s Kicking the Panda story. We’ve been discussing this for several months and have taken some of the same steps. For him, it’s a much bigger deal as his blog properties feed and house his family. We live by the (Google) sword, we die by the (Google) sword. And this is why we need folks to share our stuff on Slashdot, Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, etc. Let the readers, rather than the computers, decide the good and relevant stuff. Before the smaller publishers pack it in.

  6. Full text feeds are back on for now. Cross your fingers and, please people, share the stuff you find interesting. It takes a village…

  7. I just want them to include vudu.

  8. Thanks for enabling the full feeds again.

  9. Given the lack of discussion on the Roku forum about this, I suspect many of the regulars and developers have beta hardware. Unfortunately, one pretty critical developer in my opinion has been left out and I don’t know what to think other than he may want to find other companies/projects to support.

  10. Dave, I would be VERY surprised if Roku didn’t get TheEndless involved with testing the new hardware at some point. They’d be stupid if they didn’t, given all the great channels he has developed.

    Speaking of TheEndless, I saw that he developed the NokNok channel that came out in beta yesterday, only to be pulled by Roku in less than 24 hours. It’s PlayOn all over again!

    http://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=40849