[mythtv-users] Netflix's new Roku product.

Marc Barrett mnealbarrett at cox.net
Tue May 20 23:06:10 UTC 2008

Netflix has a new set-top product, apparently designed by a company
called Roku.  It is designed to be used with their subscription service,
and in most ways resembled the AppleTV.  It doesn't have HD, but
there are rumors that this is limited through software for now; 
apparently, they are not ready to deliver HD content, so they have
disabled it or now, and will enable HD later when they are ready.  It
is less expensive than the AppleTV, though, at about $100 compared
to about $230 for the AppleTV.

This thing reminds me of a product from about 10 years ago called
the iOpener.  This was a 486 system with an LCD display, for 
connecting to the internet via a built-in modem.  It was being sold 
WAY under the manufacturing cost, with the idea that the company
would recoup the resulting losses by forcing users into a subscription
service.  The downfall came when users figured out how to connect
a hard drive and get Windows running on it (Linux wasn't as viable back
then).  Lots of people were buying them and not subscribing to their 
service.  I have a feeling that, like the iOpener, this Netflix STB is also 
being sold WAY below the manufacturing cost.  Especially if the rumors
are true and it does have HD capability in the hardware that is being 
disabled in software, then there is no way it is costing them anywhere
near $100 to make these things.

Anyway, there are other rumors that this product is running Linux, as
some people are concluding from looking at the end-user licensing
agreement, which alludes to things like OpenSSL.  If this is true, it
would be interesting if someone will find a way to get a general-
purpose distribution like Ubuntu running on it, and hence a MythTV
frontend.  An HD-capable MythTV frontend with component-out  for
$100 would be very attractive.

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