Roku Refreshes Product Lineup, Adds M-Go Integration
Set-top box maker Roku announced a refresh of its product lineup today, one that includes a name change designed to make differentiating its products easier. It's overdue, although Roku could have gone further.
Roku's middle two set-top boxes have been renamed the Roku 1 ($59.99) and Roku 2 ($79.99), replacing the Roku 2 HD and Roku 2 XD. In March, 2013, Roku introduced the Roku 3 ($99.99), which replaced the high-end Roku 2 XS, so this move continues the simplified naming. However, the lowest-priced Roku is still the Roku LT ($49.99). Perhaps with the next generation Roku will completely simplify the names, and ask itself whether or not it really needs four models with slightly different features.
The Roku 2 is improved from its predecessor in that it has dual-band Wi-Fi and the remote has a headphone jack, previously only available with the Roku 3. The Roku LT has a refreshed appearance.
The Roku LT, 1, and 2 are each getting slight changes to the remote with the addition of a dedicated button for M-Go, the transactional video-on-demand service owned by Technicolor and DreamWorks. M-Go also now enjoys a top spot in the Netflix user interface: Users will see Movie and TV options in the left column of the interface which take them directly to M-Go rental and purchase pages. It's a clumsy move, one that puts M-Go in a far more visible position than other viewing options. Roku wouldn't discuss the promotional fees that M-Go is paying for the unique positioning.
Along with the product news, Roku passed along some statistics: The Roku channel store now includes over 1,000 channels, adding an average of 1 to 2 channels per day. Also, the average Roku customer streams 13 hours of content each week.
The refreshed set-top box lineup will be in stores by October. Roku will rollout software updates featuring the M-Go additions in October. M-Go will offer two free movie rentals to customers that activate M-Go on a Roku device between October 1 and December 31.
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