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It's the All-Digital Future — $100 Netflix Box Streams 15,000 Films At the start of 2008, the Web-streamed movie experience still felt like a half-baked preview of its potential. Digital delivery required expensive hardware, and you paid extra for each rental (cough, Apple TV ... cough, Vudu). It wasn't the future we'd hoped for. Then came Roku's Netflix Player, the $100 video box that could summon more than 15,000 titles at no charge for Netflix subscribers. It was a revelation, wherein we learned what streaming video was supposed to feel like: nothing. That nothing changed everything. So go ahead, tear through all four seasons of The Office on a whim (then the original British version for good measure). Watch Strays because there's nobody home to exercise a Vin Diesel veto. For movies you can't stream, you still get your little red envelopes. And the same Roku box you love now will support hi-def streams when Netflix offers them. This little treasure chest is the real thing, straight from the all-digital future
My answer is a qualified yes. On the technical end, this small set top box is dead simple to configure and use with my existing Netflix account. Plug it in, hook it up to the HDTV with an HDMI cable, plug in an Ethernet cord, and then use a confirmation code to link it to your account. I was running within five minutes. The box streams movies from Netflix -- it doesn't download them. I was able to get the 1.0 Mpbs stream in my testing, which resulted in perfectly acceptable video quality. Higher quality streams are available, and over time, HD streams will show up, which the box can handle.
The great thing for current customers is the cost: $100 for the box, and then $0 a month extra. That's right -- if you have an "unlimited" Netflix plan, you can stream as many movies as you like for the same flat fee you're already paying.