One would have thought that when Google and Apple entered into the streaming video market place, that the little Roku would be swallowed up by the big guys. Instead the Roku has doubled in sales and are approaching 1 million units. So what makes the little box so attractive?
The units are inexpensive. I have purchased two of the Roku XD 1080p units from Amazon for $80. The little box is simple to set up using your home wireless network and a HDMI cable to your TV. Once it is set up you can start to select channels from the channel store and begin streaming.
So how are sales?
Today, as last-minute Christmas shoppers flock to Amazon, Roku is placed high on its list of the best-selling electronic devices. (Amazon represents about 25% of Roku’s sales, according to Wood.)
The $80 Roku XD streaming player is #9 on Amazon’s best-selling gadgets list, while its $100 XDS player (more features) is #11. Roku’s low-end “HD” player is #42.
Meanwhile, the $100 Apple TV, which is backordered at Amazon, is #23. Logitech’s Google TV box is #110. And the other buzzy competitor, the $200 Boxee Box by D-Link, is #171.
For die-hard Apple fans, Apple TV might be the best product, Wood concedes. But for everyone else, you can get similar features from Roku for $60, and more features than Apple TV — including 1080p output — for $99.
If you have a Netflix account you can set up streaming movies via your computer and they will appear in your Netflix queue on your Roku. I found this the easiest way to set up movies for viewing later.
Comments as always are welcome.