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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 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.

Roku calls a stream source on the internet a channel. Channels can provide on-demand content or live streaming video. Both free and paid channels are available; they include services such as PBS, YouTube, BBC iPlayer (UK only), Google Play Movies and TV, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Now TV (UK only), Amazon Instant Video, Crunchyroll, WWE Network, HBO Go, Hasbro Studios, TheBlaze and others. Users can add or remove different channels through the Roku Channel Store.

Some games are also available for the devices. In May 2011, Roku stated the devices had over one million viewers and had delivered 15 million channel downloads.

Roku Streaming Players[edit]

First generation[edit]

Roku announced the first Netflix Internet video streaming receiver box—the Roku DVP—on May 20, 2008. The NXP-powered 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 (as well as an Ethernet connection), and an HDMI output. The middle of the line model, the XD, adds 1080p resolution (if channel programmers provide it), an enhanced remote with replay capabilities, and single-band wireless-n WiFi. The flagship XD|S offers the same feature set as the XD but also adds component video and optical audio outputs, dual-band wireless N, and a USB port for playing videos, photos, and music (USB Playback Support is available as of February 1, 2011).[7]

Second generation[edit]

A Roku 2 XS

On July 20, 2011, Roku updated its product lineup with three new boxes, each in the same price range as before. 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]

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] The Now TV-branded Roku LT lacks access to Netflix, however.

Third generation[edit]

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]

Feature comparison[edit]

ModelIntroducedDiscontinuedVideo outputsVideo resolutionsAudio outputNetworkUSBRemoteProcessorMemoryChannel storage [fc 1]micro
Component, HDMI480i, 480p720p, 1080pAnalogOptical, HDMIEthernet802.11
First generation
Roku DVP (N1000)May 2008Oct 2009BothBothBoth720pYesBothYesb/gNoIRPNX8935 400 MHz [16][17][18]256 MB64 MB[19]No
Roku SD (N1050)Oct 2009Sep 2010CompositeNeither480iNeitherYesNeitherYesb/gNoIRPNX8935 400 MHz[19][20]256 MB64 MB[19]No
Roku HD (N1100)Nov 2009Sep 2010BothBothBoth720pYesBothYesb/gNoIRPNX8935 400 MHz[19][20]256 MB64 MB[19]No
Roku HD-XR (N1101)Oct 2009Sep 2010BothBothBothBoth[fc 2]YesBothYesa/b/g/n dual-bandYesIRPNX8935 400 MHz[19][20]256 MB256 MB[19]No
Roku HD (2000)Sep 2010Jul 2011CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMIYesb/gNoIRPNX8935 400 MHz[19]256 MB64 MB[19]No
Roku XD (2050)Sep 2010Jul 2011CompositeHDMIBothBoth[fc 2]YesHDMIYesb/g/nNoIRPNX8935 400 MHz[19][21]256 MB64 MB[19]No
Roku XDS (2100)Sep 2010Jul 2011CompositeBoth[fc 3]BothBoth[fc 2]YesBothYesa/b/g/n dual-bandYesIRPNX8935 400 MHz[18][22]256 MB256 MB[19]No
Second generation
ModelIntroducedDiscontinuedVideo outputsVideo resolutionsAudio outputNetworkUSBRemoteProcessorMemoryChannel storage [fc 1]micro
Component, HDMI480i, 480p720p, 1080pAnalogOptical, HDMIEthernet802.11
Roku LT (2400)Nov 2011Apr 2012CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMINob/g/nNoIRBCM2835 600 MHz[19][23]256 MB256 MB[19]No
Roku LT (2450)Apr 2012Sep 2013CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMINob/g/nNoIRBCM7208 405 MHz[19]256 MB256 MB[19]No
Roku HD (2500)Apr 2012Sep 2013CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMINob/g/nNoIRBCM7208 405 MHz[24]256 MB[24]256 MB[24]No
Roku 2 HD (3000)Jul 2011Apr 2012CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMINob/g/nNoIR[fc 4]BCM2835 600 MHz[19][25]256 MB256 MB[19]Yes
Roku 2 XD (3050)Jul 2011Sep 2013CompositeHDMIBothBoth[fc 5]YesHDMINob/g/nNoIR[fc 4]BCM2835 600 MHz[19][25]256 MB256 MB[19]Yes
Roku 2 XS (3100)Jul 2011Mar 2013CompositeHDMIBothBoth[fc 5]YesHDMIYesb/g/nYesBluetooth & IRBCM2835 600 MHz [25][26]256 MB256 MB[19]Yes
Roku Streaming Stick, MHL (3400, 3420)Oct 2012NeitherMHL only480pBoth[fc 6]NoHDMINob/g/n dual-band[27]NoWi-Fi DirectBCM2835 600 MHz[19]256 MB[28]512 MBNo
Roku Streaming Stick, HDMI (3500)Mar 2014[29]NeitherHDMINeitherBothNoHDMINoa/b/g/n dual-bandNoWi-Fi DirectBCM2835 600 MHz512 MB256 MBNo
Third generation
ModelIntroducedDiscontinuedVideo outputsVideo resolutionsAudio outputNetworkUSBRemoteProcessorMemoryChannel storage [fc 1]micro
Component, HDMI480i, 480p720p, 1080pAnalogOptical, HDMIEthernet802.11
Roku LT (2700)Sep 2013Mar 2014CompositeHDMIBoth720pYesHDMINob/g/nNoIRBCM7218 600 MHz512 MB256 MBNo
Roku 1 (2710)Sep 2013CompositeHDMIBothBothYesHDMINob/g/nNoIRBCM7218 600 MHz512 MB256 MBNo
Roku 2 (2720)Sep 2013CompositeHDMIBothBothYesHDMINoa/b/g/n dual-bandNoWi-Fi Direct & IRBCM7218 600 MHz512 MB256 MBNo
Roku 3 (4200)Mar 2013NeitherHDMINeitherBothRemote[fc 7]HDMIYesa/b/g/n dual-bandYesWi-Fi Direct & IRBCM11130 900 MHz512 MB256 MBYes

Also see Roku's product comparison table.

  1. ^ a b c In the first generation players, the size of flash memory limited the number of channels that could be installed. Later models (>2100) removed that limit.
  2. ^ a b c 1080p at p24 or p30 only.
  3. ^ The component video connector on the Roku XDS (2100X) is a nonstandard 3.5mm connector and a proprietary adapter cable, which is sold separately, is effectively required to use this. "What is the component cable?". Roku. July 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Bluetooth remote optional.
  5. ^ a b 1080p at p60 only.
  6. ^ 1080p at p24.
  7. ^ Analog audio output is available only through the headphone jack on the remote.

Online Roku channels[edit]

Content on the Roku DVP is provided by Roku partners, and are identified using the "channel" vernacular. Each separate channel supports content from one partner though some content partners have more than one channel. 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] Both on-demand content and live streaming are supported by the devices. For live TV streams, Roku supports Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) adaptive streaming technology. The primary movie channels which are available on Roku in the U.S. market are suppressed in Canada.

Service creation for Roku Player[edit]

The Roku is an open-platform device with a freely available SDK that enables anyone to create new channels.[30] The channels are written in a Roku-specific language called BrightScript, a scripting language the company calls "similar to Visual Basic".[31]

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.[32]

There is a NDK (Native Developer Kit) available, though it has added restrictions."[31]

Services listing[edit]

Partial list of services currently available through the Roku Channel Store.[33][34]

Free channels[edit]

Channels with both free and premium programming[edit]

Premium channels[edit]


†: Only available on Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku LT and HD models

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "NXP and Roku Enable Instant Enjoyment of New Release Movies" (Press release). March 4, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2011. The Roku digital video player, powered by the PNX8935 multi-format source decoder from NXP 
  17. ^ "Netflix Player source code released". Hack a Day. July 2, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b Higgins, Tim (September 29, 2010). "Roku XDS Reviewed – Inside". SmallNetBuilder. Retrieved November 11, 2011. the original Roku and XDS, which both use Nexperia's PNX8935 multi-format source decoder. It's obvious that a newer version of the PNX8935 is used in the XDS, given the device's smaller size. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Developer Guide". Retrieved February 11, 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c "MIPS-Based Products". Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Roku HD-XR Digital Video Player ... Roku SD Digital Video Player ... Roku HD Digital Video Player ... Licensee Chip Used: PNX8935 
  21. ^ Lueke, Alan (November 12, 2010). "Netgear Roku XD: Streaming for the Masses". AnandTech. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Looking inside, I discovered the NXP PNX8935 SoC. 
  22. ^ Detwiler, Bill (January 14, 2011). "Roku XDS Teardown". TechRepublic. Retrieved November 11, 2011. XDS uses a Trident Microsystems / NXP Semiconductors PNX8935 multi-format source decoder. 
  23. ^ O'Brien, Terrence (September 27, 2011). "Budget-friendly Roku LT pops up at the FCC as the 2400X (Updated with pics)". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Inside is the same Broadcom 2835 SOC that powers the Roku 2 XD, XS, and HD 
  24. ^ a b c "New Roku HD player hits the FCC with composite out, new remote, does away with microSD storage". Wireless Goodness. March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c O'Brien, Terrence (June 29, 2011). "Roku 2 line passes through the FCC with modest hardware updates and a reset button". Engadget. Retrieved November 11, 2011. Inside that tiny case is a new Broadcom 2835 SOC 
  26. ^ "Roku 2 XS 3100R Streaming Media Adapter". Hearst Electronic Products and iSuppli. October 26, 2011. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. The new design twist on the 3100R is the use of a Broadcom (BCM2835) A/V Processor. ... BCM2835MIPPG, TE1119 P31, 136664 B3 W (Die Marking: Logo, BCM2708, 2010) 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Roku Bows Online Store". Home Media Magazine. November 23, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  31. ^ a b "Developers". Roku. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  32. ^ "What Are Private Channels?". Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Roku Channel Store". Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  34. ^ Roku device, "Roku Channel Store"

External links[edit]