We recently purchased the Netflix Player by Roku and signed up for the $8.99/month (1 DVD at-a-time) plan with NetFlix. This probably has been one of the best purchases in the past few years. Yeah, the selection of instant isn’t that expansive.
That is, until this week.
This week, Netflix announced agreements with CBS and the Disney Channel to stream current shows. For most people, that probably doesn’t mean a lot, but for our family, it’s a pretty big deal. We’re not into Disney as much anymore, but CBS is one of our mainstays because of a number of shows: N3mb3rs, NCIS, CSI, CSI:Miami and CSI:NY. As of today, the majority of the previous seasons are already available for streaming across our Roku. That means as long as I have my Netflix account active and the agreements stay in place, I never need to purchase the DVDs. Now if they could just cut a deal with holders of ST:TNG (good), ST:DS9 (so-so) and ST:Voyager (very good).
Also today at the Streaming Media West confernece in San Jose, the Roku CEO told an audience that they are working to get the box working with ANY content provider in the next few months. Yes, I’ll watch some Hulu on my TV, thank you very much.
The biggest item that caught my eye in the Wired article is that Roku is “We’re going to release the software developer kit, so anyone can publish any channel, and users can access web content on their TVs.” If you aren’t a programmer, you probably could care less. But as a programmer that has been spending a LOT of time recently with the iPhone and Android SDKs, I can tell you that this SDK has me more pumped than any other device right now.
It’s one thing to get onto someone’s phone. It’s something completely different to get onto their TV. What’s it really going to mean? Check back later after the SDK has been released and I’ll let you know.
For now, if you haven’t purchased a Netflix Player from Roku yet, run, don’t walk. Also, if you have a HDTV, I would recommend purchasing the cable kit for $19.99. It’s a great price for some very good quality cables. Plus, it means I didn’t have to get in the car and drive down to Best Buy or Radio Shack and pay exorbitant prices for cables.
Another note: if you don’t have a NetFlix account yet, wait for the Roku box to arrive before signing up for the NetFlix account. That way you get the full trial period to play with the Roku.