The player through which, subscribers of Netflix stream movies from the Internet to their digital TV, is a product of Roku. According to an announcement from Roku on Monday, this hardware will now support content that is high-definition as a result of its recent upgradation.
Over the next few weeks, Roku will provide Netflix subscribers automatic update of the new software for free that will add the advanced technology of compression to their $100 player. According to Roku, this software will help viewer’s stream HD movies even on their normal and average broadband connection.
As of now, the only online rental company offering content through Roku is Netflix and according to them this player will be available from the month of May. Other content providers are expected to join the bandwagon from early next year. At present, this paperback book sized player is sold online by Roku.
Netflix is one of the popular online rental services offering over 12,000 movies and TV episodes in HD. Competition in the online rental field is hot with Netflix’s rival Blockbuster launching direct-to-TV service with 2Wire as a partner last November.
Launch of these players places Netflix and Blockbuster close on heels with Apple to consolidate their places in living rooms of people. Last year saw Apple releasing the Apple TV which enabled customers to directly connect to their video and iTunes music store with the Internet connection. This device also enables people to rent TV shows and movies.
All these developments have poised the online video market to grow from $1.2 billion to $4.5 billion by the year 2012 according to statistics released by an analyst firm.