Roku’s streaming media players can shake off the “Netflix box” tag once and for all. TiVo, too, keeps its spot high in the set-top food chain. Both Roku’s three new devices and TiVo’s Premiere and Premiere XL boxes will be able to stream network shows with Hulu Plus this fall.
Hulu Plus, a $9.99/month subscription service that offers additional premium content in addition to the network TV shows and backlist films offered through the free Hulu web site, is already available for streaming with net-connected Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, Boxee’s set-top boxes, and Sony’s Playstation 3, with announced support for XBox 360, other Sony devices, and some Vizio TVs and Blu-ray players coming either this fall or in early 2011.
The announcements from TiVo and Roku did not specify dates on which the service would be available on either device. Roku currently offers access to Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Streaming Video, Pandora, and other streaming media channels. TiVo offers DVR capability in addition to most of the same services. Apple’s much-anticipated new version of Apple TV offers Netflix access and rentals through iTunes, but not Hulu at this time.
The emerging model for set-top boxes appears to be devices that offer a wide range of streaming services, whether free, for purchase, for rental, or through subscriptions. Either the boxes are inexpensive and dedicated for this purpose, like Roku and the new Apple TV, or relatively expensive but offer additional services like gaming, web browsing, or video recording, like TiVo, PS3, or XBox 360.
The devices have differentiated themselves according to three features: 1) price; 2) some exclusive features, as in the case of game consoles; and 3) the strength and ease-of-use of their interfaces — both the on-screen software and remote control capability.
All can be used in conjunction with traditional cable and satellite TV service, but some users are beginning to find the offerings of internet video rich enough that they can forego cable or satellite altogether. Hulu Plus on TiVo and Roku may be what pushes many of them over the edge.
Image via Hulu.com
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Fuente: Gadget Lab