Roku just announced a fresh upgrade to its lineup of streaming video boxes. The three new models will be known as the Roku 2 HD, the Roku 2 XD and the Roku 2 XS.
What’s the difference between the boxes? The low-end Roku 2 HD can only support 720p video playback (ironic, being the “HD” box and all), compared to 1080p for both systems. Both the HD and mid-range XD also lack an ethernet port and ship with a standard IR remote. The high-end XS, on the other hand, gets a port for wired internet connectivity, a USB slot, and the Roku Gaming Remote (a device similar to the Wiimote).
The Roku 2 boxes measure 3.3 inches on the sides and less than an inch in height, making them just a tad smaller than the Apple TV. The three different boxes share many similar features, of course, including WiFi, Bluetooth, IR, a microSD card slot, an HDMI out and a composite AV out (for use with older TVs).
For programming, all three get over 250 streaming channels right out of the box (including notables such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, and major sports networks). Netflix, in particular, gets an upgrade for this iteration, with support for Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and closed captioning of English subtitles.
What would you use the special remote included with the Roku 2 XS for? Gaming, of course. The box will come with a full version of Angry Birds, as well as support for many upcoming casual gaming titles.
Pricing for the Roku 2 HD, the Roku 2 XD and the Roku 2 XS are listed at $60, $80 and $100, respectively. Since you’re basically getting a mini-gaming console with the XS, we’re guessing that’s the best buy here at just $40 over the base model.