It’s now offering its 3 boxes for $60, $70, or $100, depending on whether you want to be able to watch in HD, use the latest flavour of wi-fi, etc. That’s a $20 or $30 discount, based on which box you get.
Roku says it will also offer 1080p support to its “HD-XR” customers — that’s the $100 box — later this year, via a free software update.
The backdrop for all of this, we assume, is Apple’s event on Wednesday, during which it may announce a new Apple set-top box, potentially called the iTV. It’s expected to sell for $99, and offer access to Apple’s iTunes video service, and potentially more, via apps.
It’s nice that Roku’s boxes are now cheap enough to be in the impulse-purchase range, but the bigger question is whether Roku is ever going to become mainstream enough to matter. As of January, the company had passed “more than 500,000” unit sales, and was expecting revenues to almost double to about $75 million this year.
But while Roku had an early start in web TV set-top boxes, it’s a tough market where even big companies have struggled, and Roku is a small player.
But things are about to get interesting: Apple is coming back for more, Google is about to make a big splash with Google TV, Hulu is spraying its videos everywhere (but not on Roku), and the video game giants like Microsoft and Sony are doing interesting things with web video.
Is Roku big enough to last on its own?
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