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For the electronics company, see Roku, Inc.. For other uses, see Roku (disambiguation).

The Roku Streaming Player (or simply Roku) is a series of digital media player set-top boxes manufactured by Roku, Inc. Roku partners provide over-the-top content in the form of channels. A Roku streaming device gets data (the video stream) via a wired or Wi-Fi connection to an Internet router. The data is output via an audio cable, video cable or both signals over an HDMI cable. The device can be connected to any television set (or other device) with appropriate input connections. Content is available from services such as PBS, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Google Play Movies and TV, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Now TV (UK only), Amazon Instant Video, Crunchyroll, WWE Network, HBO Go, Hasbro Studios and TheBlaze.

Roku Streaming Players

First generation

Roku announced the first Netflix Internet video streaming receiver box—the Roku DVP—on May 20, 2008. The device runs Linux.[1] Before Autumn 2010, three versions of the Roku DVP were available: the Roku SD, HD, and HD-XR.[2] The Roku SD only streams standard definition (SD) content.[3] The Roku HD streams both SD and HD (720p) content.[4] The Roku SD and HD both have an Ethernet connection and built in 802.11g Wi‑Fi compatible with wireless b, g, and n routers.[5] Their third box was the Roku HD-XR, which streams both SD and HD (720p and 1080p) content, has built in dual-band 802.11n WiFi support, and has a USB port on the back.[6]

Roku revamped its lineup of devices in September 2010. The revised HD became the basic model of the line, offering 720p resolution, 802.11g WiFi reception, and an HDMI output. The middle of the line model, the XD, added 1080p resolution (if channel programmers provide it), an enhanced remote with replay capabilities, and single-band wireless-n WiFi. The top XD|S offered component video and optical audio outputs, dual-band wireless N, and a USB port for playing videos, photos, and music.[7]

Second generation

A Roku 2 XS

On July 20, 2011, Roku updated its product lineup with three new boxes. However, the Ethernet connection and remote with motion control for games are available only on the XS model.[8][9] The Roku Game Remote uses Hillcrest Labs' Freespace motion control technology, so users can control games with natural gestures.[10] The Netflix application was revamped for the Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS. The current models now provide the option of subtitles, when the program provides them.[11]

The feature "Roku Search" was added on October 29, 2012. This feature allows users to search movie and TV show titles, actors and directors for multiple services on Roku such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go. The feature is only available on Roku 2, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku LT and HD, due to technical constraints on earlier models.[12] This useful feature appears to only work in the USA.

On May 14, 2013, an updated software interface was released for second generation Roku units. This is the same interface that was introduced with the release of their third generation player.[13]

On July 26, 2013, BSkyB launched a Now TV-branded Roku LT, allowing users to stream Now TV content to their television, as well as being able to access content from BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify and Sky News.[14]

Third generation

On March 5, 2013, Roku announced the release of their updated media player, Roku 3, with a CPU that's five times faster than the Roku 2 XS, and a Wi-Fi Direct remote instead of Bluetooth. The Roku 3 remote includes a headphone jack (with headphones provided) for a private listening mode.[15] Roku announced two new versions of its streaming set-top boxes for 2015. named Roku 3 (2015) which has a new remote control, with a microphone for voice search, and the Roku 2 (2015) which has a much faster processor than the old Roku 2, but its remote control no longer has a headphone jack built in. The Roku 3 2015 model number is 4230R the 2014 model number is 4200R. The Roku 2 2015 model number is 4210R for the new version, and 2720R for the old one. This has caused some confusion among consumers [16]


The Roku box runs a heavily modified version of Linux called Roku OS. The first-generation Roku players first came with Roku OS 1.0. After that, Roku has continued to update the software with bug fixes, security updates, feature additions, and many new interface revisions.[citation needed]

Online Roku channels

Content on the Roku DVP is provided by Roku partners, and is identified using the "channel" vernacular. Users can add or remove different channels from the Roku Channel Store. In May 2011, Roku stated the DVP had over one million viewers and had delivered 15 million channel downloads.[citation needed]

Service creation for Roku Player

The Roku is an open-platform device with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels.[17] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls "similar to Visual Basic".[18]

Developers who wish to test their channels before a general release, or who wish to limit viewership, can create "private" channels that require a code be entered by the user in the account page of the Roku website. These private channels, which are not part of the official Roku Channel Store, are neither reviewed nor approved by Roku.[19]

There is an NDK (Native Developer Kit) available, though it has added restrictions."[18]

Services listing

Partial list of services currently available through the Roku Channel Store.[20][21]

See also


  1. ^ Altavilla, Dave (May 29, 2008). "Inside The Tech Of The Netflix Player With Roku". HotHardware. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Roku Streaming Players | Roku HD Player, Roku XD Player and Roku XDS Player". Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Roku Labs Roku SD Home Theater Product Product Information". PCWorld. November 24, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ Carnoy, David; Falcone, John P. (September 24, 2010). "Roku N1100 HD player Review". CNET. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "What compatible Wi-Fi devices work with my Roku player? : Featured Questions". Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Roku HD XR Player Review – Watch CNET's Video Review". Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "What media file types does the Roku USB Media Player channel support? : Featured Questions". Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ Roku Expects User Base to Triple in 2011 Retrieved May 10, 2011
  9. ^ Roku Hits 15 Million Channel Downloads PDF
  10. ^ CED Magazine September 30, 2011. New Products – October 2011.
  11. ^ Introducing Roku 2
  12. ^ Introducing Roku Search (In addition, see follow-up in "Comments" section from Roku) Retrieved October 29, 2012
  13. ^ Rolling out the new Roku interface Retrieved May 16, 2013
  14. ^ Martin, Chris (July 26, 2013). "Sky launches Now TV Box for £9.99". PC Advisor. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  15. ^ Roku 3, a faster and more powerful media player, to go on sale Retrieved March 15, 2013
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Roku Bows Online Store". Home Media Magazine. November 23, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "Developers". Roku. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  19. ^ "What Are Private Channels?". Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Roku Channel Store". Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  21. ^ Roku device, "Roku Channel Store"

External links