Roku 2 – Nearly Upon Us?

Dave Zatz —  July 17, 2011

roku-hd

Since the Roku 2 passed through the FCC approval process a few weeks ago, we’ve learned a bit more thanks to leaks from a pair of beta testers and some industry info that recently came my way. As with Roku’s current lineup, the refreshed AppleTV-esque hardware will be available in three models:

  • Roku 2 HD (3000X)
  • Roku 2 XD (3050X)
  • Roku 2 XS (3100X)

However, in reviewing the details with a source, the XD and XS may also go by the 3050R and 3100R respectively – which probably isn’t so interesting and merely differentiates online merchandise sold direct, versus hardware packaged for brick and mortar partners. But what is interesting is the pricing info that came along with those model numbers… The XD is pinned at $80 while the XS clocks in at $100, matching existing price points.

In terms of hardware, a major change from the prior generation product is the inclusion of Bluetooth. So I went back through the FCC database looking for Roku’s new RF remote. Score! Unfortunately, only two small photos were made public and aren’t clear enough to determine what sorts of buttons the upgraded remote provides beyond the standard, but redesigned, IR remote shown above. However, we do know the new remote is partially intended to support causal gaming, starting with Angry Birds, and comes bundled with the Roku 2 XS. Whether or not owners of Bluetooth-equipped HD and XD units can pick up and utilize this remote after the fact remains to be seen.

roku-2-rf-remote

As far as timing goes, several factors suggest an imminent launch: What looks to be final or nearly final Roku 2 packaging and hardware from the beta testers, Roku.com is out of existing HD inventory, prior corporate mentions of a “summer” launch, and a source who seemed to think devices could have actually hit store shelves as early as 7/12. So it won’t be long now. But will these new units arrive with a modernized UI? Sadly, one beta tester tells Engadget it ain’t gonna happen.

Update: I’m told Best Buy will begin taking online orders 7/21 but any in-store inventory is supposed to be held back until 7/24.

15 responses to Roku 2 – Nearly Upon Us?

  1. Roku should just give up and announce the darn things. Unless they are counting on free publicity because your posts are picked up by the rest of the tech blogs.

  2. It’s somewhat ironic… Roku has had a bit of a personnel change in the PR department. And while I was previously tightly looped in, I was also tightly reined in. That’s the general trade for access. But no one has told me anything about new boxes or obviously sent one for review, so I’m free to publish leaks and speculate away. I’m hopeful of reestablishing a trusted relationship with the new guard at Roku, but until/if such time we’ll do it this way.

  3. Dave’s gone rogue! You could always claims you found a device in a bar (or, in your case, Starbucks).

  4. Are they running Google TV software yet? How else to get a decent access to ALL the web and web videos on the HDTV?

  5. Uh, I happen to possess a device running Google TV software. And it most assuredly canNOT access all of the web and web videos. Many sites, with that compelling content, choose to block access:

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2010-10/qotd-studios-versus-citizens/google-tv-content-blocked/

    I suspect Boxee might spoof a desktop browser and do better. Will have to verify that one of these days.

  6. Awesome design by Bould.com!

    Go Jeff!

  7. Matt Rafferty July 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Angry Birds and no price increase for the upgraded hardware — what’s not to love?

    Matt
    HowToGetStreamingVideoToYourTV.com

  8. Well, my commentary and all other references to the contents of this post have been scrubbed from the Roku forums. Which I’ll take to serve as confirmation that we just might know what we’re talking about here. ;) And deleting my posts is not how we go about establishing that mutual trust, Roku.

  9. All I can say is that the USB model had darn well better be able to handle a wider variety of local media formats than the old one. (especially *.avi)

  10. Dave,

    Don’t feel bad, my entire thread about Roku 2 was deleted.

    Oh and here is an 8 year old with some more Roku 2 info:

    I think someone’s dad might be getting in trouble at work today.

  11. @Dave — I have a Boxee Box, so if you want to email me a list of sites I should test on its browser, I can do that :)

  12. Thanks, scyber! Unfortunately the video has been pulled… BUT Engadget has preserved a copy:

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2011-07/roku-2-launching-with-angry-birds/

    Ivan, I’d start with Hulu and HBO GO. Can you manually set the user agent string and is it a desktop browser by default? Thanks!

  13. I haven’t tried but HBO Go and MAXGO are officially working per notes in 1.1 update (there was a bug that prevented logging in). Hulu isn’t working and apparently it’s not a user-agent string issue; Hulu is checking Flash version or something like that and throws a message saying they are working with Boxee on Hulu+.

    There’s also a bug with Amazon Video (can’t click Watch Now button). Only solution for Hulu and Amazon at the moment is to use PlayOn.

    Note: above is based on prior knowledge and forum searches. Will double-check myself :)

  14. Going to the Roku 2 release party Wed night in San Diego. Didn’t realize there was so much anticpation.

  15. I have HBO Go running on my ROKU. How is MAxGo applied?