What You Get with the Roku XD

Netgear ships the Roku XD with a small no-frills remote, composite video cables, a brief manual… and that's it. Everything you need to get the device hooked up and running to an SD TV is included. The device can connect to your network via its RJ-45 Ethernet port or via the built-in wireless b/g/n adapter. If you want HD support and multi-channel audio, you will have to bring your own HDMI cable to the party.

The design is all about function rather than form. The remote is simple and black, without so much as text to let you know what the buttons do; instead, white images on black buttons is all you get. The box itself is a mere one inch tall and five inches wide and another six inches deep to make for an extremely unobtrusive footprint. While idling, my Roku XD used 3.8W of power; that "jumped" up to the 5.9W range while streaming an HD movie over Netflix. It's not as good as some other streamers we have looked at such as the Apple TV, but since we're not looking at a battery operated device 6W is hardly worth mentioning—it will raise the yearly electric bill by perhaps $5 if run 24/7.

Looking inside, I discovered the NXP PNX8935 SoC. This chip from NXP handles the latest HD video formats including H.264 and VC1/WM9 at resolutions of up to 1080p. It seems likely that the same chip powers all three Roku offerings, while the peripheral chips attached are likely varied—i.e. the USB controller, network chip, etc. Unfortunately, without the other two models on hand, I cannot comment on the exact differences at the hardware level. The picture below shows the general layout of PNX8935 SoC based systems.

The hardware should be more than sufficient for most streaming services; however, there isn't the sort of container format support you would expected from a local media streamer such as the Patriot Box Office or the WD TV Live. The primary goal of a box like this is streaming support, and while the XD/S adds USB support for local playback, the file and container support isn't anything to write home about compared to other streaming devices focused on local media.

Gallery: Roku XD

The Netgear/Roku Partnership, Bringing the Roku to a Store Near You Setup, UI and Content
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  • SilthDraeth - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I wasn't aware that Logitech specialized in routers and switches.
  • taltamir - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    me neither... :P
    I wonder if they meant to write linksys instead of logitech. But linksys isn't involved in any of that AFAIK, and logitech is involved with google tv.
  • sviola - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    "and it's in a completely different league from the Revue ($299), Boxee ($199) and Xbox ($199, $299). Those others offer keyboards and elegant UIs but not much additional streaming content over the Roku."

    Sort of unfair to compare the Xbox this way. Maybe it doesn't provide much additional contet streaming, but it is a far more complete solution as it can play dvds and games (and if you add the PS3 in the equation, blu-ray), as well as run espn.
  • sviola - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    damn fast typing and no edit option....where contet is read, the correct is content
  • JarredWalton - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Of course, also worth note is that it's not fair to compare these media streamers with the Xbox. The Roku sucks down all of 6W under load and idles at 3W; an Xbox 360 (the latest generation) still idles at 70W! And if you've got an original Xbox 360 (and it never died from the RROD!), you'd be at twice that... about as much as a good old Pentium D system.

  • nafhan - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Don't forget the Xbox Live requirement. A year of Xbox Live at full price costs almost as much as the bottom of the line Roku.
  • nafhan - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Before someone calls me a hater... I've got an Xbox and Live, and I'm pretty happy with it. However if I wasn't in to gaming, I'd definitely pick up a Roku.
  • Thermogenic - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I bought a Roku XD for this very reason - just slightly more than an XBox Live account, and streams Netflix just as well.
  • OneArmedScissorB - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Thank you for checking the power use and bringing that up. There are so many devices people have plugged into their TVs blowing large amounts of electricity 24/7, and it's nice to know that it really shouldn't work that way.
  • ajlueke - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    That is up for debate I suppose. The Xbox is similar in price to the Boxee box and Revue, but plays games and DVDs and functions as a media center extender as opposed to hosting less streaming content. Which then is more "complete" is defined by the user. But it is a streamign solution provided by microsoft, so i thought it fair to included it.

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