Netflix-Dedicated Set-Top Now Streaming HD

Roku player get new software to do 720p

Hardware manufacturer Roku says that its “Netflix Player by Roku,” a set-top device which connects to the Internet on one end and a TV set on the other to deliver Netflix’s streaming movie service, is now supporting high-definition streaming of Netflix titles.

The $99 Roku box, which was first released last May to deliver standard-def Netflix titles in 480-line-progressive (480p) resolution, can provide instant streaming of content in the 720p HD format through a software update that will be automatically delivered to all Roku players free-of-charge over the course of the next few weeks. Netflix first started streaming HD titles to Microsoft’s Xbox game console in October.

“Netflix is a pioneer in streaming HD content over the Internet and the results are impressive,” said Anthony Wood, founder & CEO of Roku, in a statement. “Adding hundreds of HD titles to their catalog of more than 12,000 streaming titles provides tremendous value to Roku owners.”

While Netflix is the first content provider to deliver HD content to the Roku player, Roku says it expects to get HD content from unnamed “additional providers” in the first quarter of 2009. The Roku box is one of several “media extender” devices, including set-tops from Vudu and Apple, that can easily deliver on-demand movies to the TV set using the Internet.