“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Roku Netflix Player Now Does HD

by December 22, 2008

Roku today announced that it has released support for streaming high definition (HD) content from its Netflix Player. Through the use of advanced compression technology, Roku can deliver instant streaming of HD content over average consumer broadband connections - bringing HD to the mass market at an affordable price of just $99 - and no monthly charges for those already signed up for one of Netflix' unlimited rental plans ($8.99/month or higher).

We leaked this last month when Tim Twerdahl, Roku's VP of Consumer Products, mentioned that Roku would be first to market HD service, though it would appear through the Xbox 360 before it hit the set-top Netflix Player.

So far, the number of HD titles numbers in the 100s, but it's a step in the right direction and we hope to see more and more content coming through in high definition. If Roku delivers as promised, it should soon stream HD content from more sources and with a much wider selection.

Netflix, Inc. is the first content provider to deliver HD content to the Roku player. Additional providers of HD content are expected in the first quarter of 2009. The new software will be automatically delivered to all Roku players free-of-charge over the course of the next few weeks.

For more information on the company and its products, visit: http://www.roku.com.

About the author:
author portrait

Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

View full profile

Recent Forum Posts:

aberkowitz posts on January 05, 2009 08:25
Further update-

We watched 3 episodes of “Weeds” last night (phenominal show, I highly recommend). Downloads were no problem, had 4 quality circles and the image looked really good- I'd say close to DVD quality. Can't really comment on sound b/c it's a bedroom tv w/o speakers or a receiver. The only hiccup was that during the middle of the 3rd episode the unit automatically rebooted itself without prompting. Not sure if this was related to a network issue on my end (lost connection or something), but this only resulted in a 2 minute delay for the unit to restart and then go back to the show.

All in all, I'm very happy with the purchase so far. My only “complaint” is that I wish you could access the catalog from the Roku itself. It'd be nice to browse and add items to the queue without having to log on to the computer.
westcott posts on January 04, 2009 19:10
aberkowitz, post: 504314
Thanks for the suggestions. I did a couple of bandwidth tests, and I'm getting anywhere from 11-13mb/s consistently using a wireless connection, I figured that would stabilize even further with a wired connection. I'll continue to try it out and see if I can get a better conneciton.

Quick update- we just tried a couple of tv shows, one in HD and not, and both of them came up with 4 circles. I'll try out some more movies later.

Please keep providing updates, your thoughts on image quality, and the efforts you have to go through with the service. I and, I am sure ,others are very interested in what you have to say.
aberkowitz posts on January 04, 2009 16:17
Pyrrho, post: 504268
If you are only getting 2 circles out of 4, you are not getting the HD quality at all. So there won't be any difference between an HD source and an SD one in your case. You will only be getting HD quality if you get 4 circles and the letters “HD” next to them. What I suggest is making sure you have sufficient bandwidth with your internet connection, which can be tested from a page you should be able to find at both the Roku website and the Netflix website. This is the first thing you should do (or rather, it should be done before ordering, to make sure one can get the full benefit of the service). If you do have the bandwidth necessary, then it could be a server issue with Netflix. If too many people are trying to watch a particular movie at the same time, they probably cannot handle it at full resolution. So, you can try another film to see if you have better luck with it, or the same film at another time.

Unfortunately, the service is not 100% reliable for their best picture quality. And I absolutely agree, this service is not a substitute for a good DVD or Blu-Ray player.

Thanks for the suggestions. I did a couple of bandwidth tests, and I'm getting anywhere from 11-13mb/s consistently using a wireless connection, I figured that would stabilize even further with a wired connection. I'll continue to try it out and see if I can get a better conneciton.

Quick update- we just tried a couple of tv shows, one in HD and not, and both of them came up with 4 circles. I'll try out some more movies later.
Pyrrho posts on January 04, 2009 14:52
aberkowitz, post: 504231
So I got home from vacation last night to find the Roku waiting for me. I plugged it in and immediately upgraded to v1.5 (thanks for the advice!) and proceeded to test out a couple of movies- both SD and HD. Sadly, I was not very impressed with the quality of either movie. I have the Roku hooked up via wired internet to my router and by HDMI to the tv, but I was unable to get higher than 2 out of 4 for quality for any movie that I tried to watch. The picture was not sharp, a lot of blurriness around the edges, and colors were bleeding. Neither my wife nor I could tell the difference between and HD film and an SD film.

I'm not unhappy with the purchase b/c we specifically bought the unit to keep in the bedroom for catching up on TV series that we never got a chance to watch, and to watch movies before going to bed. For $99 it will serve it's purpose, but there's no way I could consider it a replacement for the PS3 or Oppo 981 that I have for watching BD/SD DVDs.

If you are only getting 2 circles out of 4, you are not getting the HD quality at all. So there won't be any difference between an HD source and an SD one in your case. You will only be getting HD quality if you get 4 circles and the letters “HD” next to them. What I suggest is making sure you have sufficient bandwidth with your internet connection, which can be tested from a page you should be able to find at both the Roku website and the Netflix website. This is the first thing you should do (or rather, it should be done before ordering, to make sure one can get the full benefit of the service). If you do have the bandwidth necessary, then it could be a server issue with Netflix. If too many people are trying to watch a particular movie at the same time, they probably cannot handle it at full resolution. So, you can try another film to see if you have better luck with it, or the same film at another time.

Unfortunately, the service is not 100% reliable for their best picture quality. And I absolutely agree, this service is not a substitute for a good DVD or Blu-Ray player.
aberkowitz posts on January 04, 2009 13:35
So I got home from vacation last night to find the Roku waiting for me. I plugged it in and immediately upgraded to v1.5 (thanks for the advice!) and proceeded to test out a couple of movies- both SD and HD. Sadly, I was not very impressed with the quality of either movie. I have the Roku hooked up via wired internet to my router and by HDMI to the tv, but I was unable to get higher than 2 out of 4 for quality for any movie that I tried to watch. The picture was not sharp, a lot of blurriness around the edges, and colors were bleeding. Neither my wife nor I could tell the difference between and HD film and an SD film.

I'm not unhappy with the purchase b/c we specifically bought the unit to keep in the bedroom for catching up on TV series that we never got a chance to watch, and to watch movies before going to bed. For $99 it will serve it's purpose, but there's no way I could consider it a replacement for the PS3 or Oppo 981 that I have for watching BD/SD DVDs.
Post Reply