Folks, it’s CES time. So you’re gonna see a lot of digital media stories here for the next few days.
Roku, which now lets Netflix subscribers stream movies and TV episodes to their TV sets via a $99 box, will soon bring a similar capability to Amazon.com.
In the near future, Roku box owners like us can rent or purchase 40,000 movies and TV episodes from the Amazon Video On Demand service.
Currently, movies and TV shows from Amazon can be easily watched on the TV sets via a TiVo DVR and Sony BRAVIA Internet Video Link.
A Big Deal?
Sure, the deal with Amazon.com expands Roku’s capabilities beyond Netflix but is it really a big deal?
We’re not sure.
Giving the pricing of Amazon.com rental and purchases, we believe the Roku boxes will be primarily used to access Netflix content.
With Netflix, $8.99 per month gives you access to both a DVD rental (of 100,000 movies/TV shows including a huge collection of Bollywood, Kollywood offerings) PLUS online Instant Play through devices like Roku, Xbox 360 and LG Blu-ray disc player.
Let’s wait and see how all of this pans out. Perhaps, the Amazon.com model will change and they may roll out a subscription service too a la Netflix.
We’ve used Roku for nearly eight months and strongly recommend it. The installation process is smooth and the small device does the job well.
Our feeling is that eventually most TV sets will come broadband-enabled, which means a separate box like Roku will not be necessary. LG Electronics today announced plans to build in Netflix support on some of its LCD and Plasma television sets.
Impact on Apple TV
Roku’s support for the Amazon Video On Demand service is another nail in the coffin of the Apple TV device, which lets users buy or rent movies and videos from the Apple iTunes digital media store and watch them on their TV sets.
Never a big seller to begin with, we think Apple TVÂ will have an even harder time going forward.
We’ve played with Apple TV at our friend’s place and like it.
You can also watch YouTube videos on TV via the device. We watched the Ishq Di Gali song/dance sequence from the Salman Khan-Anil Kapoor-Bipasha Basu movie No Entry on a Pioneer Plasma TV via Apple TV and YouTube and it was cool.
But like all things Apple, Apple TV is way too expensive compared to the $99 Roku box. Apple TV costs $229 for the 40GB version and $329 for the 160GB version.
No, Apple TV does not support Netflix. At least not yet.
One of these days, we’ll rent or buy a movie from Amazon.com via our Roku box and let you know how the process works.
Stay tuned, folks.