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Roku Drops Prices of Set-Top Boxes

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Good news for thrifty consumers: Roku, maker of the most popular set-top boxes, has dropped the prices of all three models. The Roku SD is now $59.99 (down from $79.99), the Roku HD is $69.99 (from $99.99), and the Roku HD-XR is $99.99 (from $129.99). Roku's boxes are popular because they offer an inexpensive and simple method for bringing Netflix's unlimited streaming service to any TV. The price drops will likely make some who were on the fence about going with Netflix decide the time is right.

The timing is a smart move by Roku. Apple is holding a press event tomorrow where it will likely unveil a redesigned Apple television device, rumored to be called the iTV. If the buzz is correct, it will list for $99 and offer instant streaming of online content. Apple is said to be in talks with premium video studios about offering lower-priced rentals. The iTV may also bring the iOS app experience to the television.

By lowering prices, Roku makes its devices more affordable or equal to Apple's box. The move should also get the company a lot of free press, since Roku is now more likely to get mentioned in Apple announcement stories.

The reduction seems to be working already, as the Roku SD model is currently out of stock on Roku's site.

Roku also announced that HD-XR owners will get 1080p streaming later this year via a free software upgrade. Most content providers stream at 720p, so this is mostly aimed at streaming personal content from a USB drive, a Roku representative notes.

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