Saratoga, Calif. -
launched Wednesday a next-generation version of its popular TV set-top Internet streaming box, highlighted by a more compact form factor, an interactive Bluetooth remote that will support new video game play, and expanded entertainment offerings.
The new Roku 2 is billed as a new family of streaming players that will be available in three (good-better-best) versions -- the Roku 2 HD ($60 suggested retail), Roku 2 XD ($80) and Roku 2 XS ($100). All will be available at the end of July and retailer outlets, including Roku.com, Amazon.com, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics and RadioShack.
The new line introduces popular casual game play, including Rovio's Angry Birds (free with the XS version), to the system.
Game play is better facilitated through the use of a highly responsive motion-control remote that links to the Roku 2 set-top via Bluetooth. It is included in the package with the Roku 2 XS version, and is available as an after-sale option to the Roku 2 HD and Roku 2 XD units.
The Roku Game Remote will be available in the coming weeks as part of a bundle that includes a 2GB MicroSD card for a $30 suggested retail at Roku.com.
Each player includes a MicroSD card slot to enhance the built-in memory, for storage of various casual video games.
In addition to being much smaller and lighter than previous Roku hardware, the Roku 2 players are also said to be more energy-efficient, using less than two watts of power.
The Roku 2 HD player supports up to 720p HD video while the Roku 2 XD player supports up to 1080p HD video. Roku 2 also adds several significant enhancements to its acclaimed Netflix experience, including support for English subtitles, Dolby Digital Plus and up to 1080p HD video quality (on the XD and XS models).
The Roku 2 XS includes the new Roku Game Remote with motion control; an Ethernet port for a wired Internet connection; and a USB port for playing music, videos and photos from a USB drive.