As we previously surmised, the redesigned Roku 2 digital media streamer will be offered in three variations: The 720p HD ($59), the 1080p XD ($79), and the 1080p XS ($99). The top end model comes bundled with a new Bluetooth motion (!) remote to support Roku’s casual gaming initiative… and Angry Birds will be made available for free at launch. Folks who pick up the HD and XD model can later upgrade to the gaming remote, as it’ll (eventually) be offered as a $29 accessory. Although, at that point, you’ll wish you had bought the XS given the pricing and Roku’s commitment to gaming:
Angry Birds is just the beginning. We are spending a lot of time with the major casual game publishers. Between now and Christmas you’ll see the games selection on Roku grow dramatically. My goal is to grow Roku into a major low cost family oriented gaming platform. And they’ll be in the $5 range rather than $30 range.
As something more than a casual gamer, Peggle doesn’t interest me the way Roku’s updated Netflix app might… bringing 1080p, subtitles, and perhaps 5.1 audio. Also joining the Roku 2 launch are new premium content partners that include live FOXNews, for those so inclined, and Major League Soccer.
Of course I intend to get my hands on some product in the very near future and will report my findings. Which will hopefully include expanded USB codec/file support.