Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Netflix Player by Roku is now available

This new device gives you movies and TV episodes in your living room, instantly. It’s just $99.99 and it works with any Netflix plan that includes unlimited instant watching.

The player is extremely easy to set up and use. Just plug it into your TV, connect it to a broadband Internet connection (wireless or wired), activate the device with your Netflix account and you’re away. The player automatically picks up the instant Queue from your Netflix account giving you a list of movies and TV episodes to watch instantly on your TV.

We’re very excited about the simplicity and cost of this device. It lets you use the full power of the Netflix website to find movies for your instant Queue, then quickly and easily choose from those movies on the player. We think that’s a major improvement over the clutter of trying to choose from 10,000 titles on the TV.

Get yours now at http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer



  1. It has NO HDD. WHAT? Come on even with the best connections, drop outs and lags happen. I don't rent bluray from Netflix anymore because most of them wont skip or have other problems. Guess I'm being forced to buy an Apple TV.

    Oh yeah thanks for leaving us Mac users out of the loop for watching on the net! And the excuse that it's an Apple issue is crap, I have office 08 on my mac which installs Silverlight for your precious DRM.

  2. Please work with Sony to get a Netflix Player application running on the PS3. It supports WMV9 out of the box. All that would be needed is some sort of authentication.

  3. First off, excellent work to all involved on the set top project. I would EASILY spend $99 (or $120 with the added cables) on this box, and I'm very excited about its potential (as I have been since early last year), BUT... My hold-up is the lack of a guarantee that the Netflix service won't be made available to my Xbox 360 or other gaming consoles in the coming weeks/months.

    On How Netflix ready devices work? you can find the following line "The Netflix Player by Roku is the first in a series of Netflix ready devices." under 1) Buy a Netflix ready device

    Essentially, this is like buying the Nintendo DS and having the DS Lite come out VERY soon after.

    ALSO: Rumors are sometimes hard to ignore:
    - Will Microsoft partner with Netflix? - MSNBC
    - GIZMODO Source
    - Engadget Source

    Please give us more details rather than just a PR post to the blog. Your readers are smarter than that! Thanks.

  4. Thanks. Can we please have the Releasing This Week page back now? I know it won't make you a bunch of money like the Roku box, but it will make your customers happy and help to keep them, assuming that is important to you.

  5. Considering that up to 4 devices will be allowed to be used for 1 account, is Netflix going to add Watch Instantly queues on the additional profiles?

  6. If I have already reached the 4 device limit will I be able to watch on the roku? I would like to know this before I order one.


  7. The problem is the best streaming quality from Netflix is no better than a dark theater and grainy film.

    When I sit at my 37" LCD tv I want to see high quality stuff. HDTV and DVD quality or better.

    The box is nice but give us better quality for connections of 3mb+.

  8. I agree with Jordan. I want a Netflix-to-TV solution badly, and have a whole lot of Watch Now titles saved in the new Watch Now queue (thanks for that, too, BTW!) waiting for when I can stream to my TV. But I already have an Xbox360, and with so many Netflix/360 rumors flying around, I want to know what's really going on, and I won't consider another set-top box until the 360 situation is clarified. Please ask those in charge to stop being coy about this!

  9. I am also concerned about the 4-device limit. I accidentally hit that limit earlier this year without knowing there was a limit to my unlimited instant watching.

    If I buy the Roku device, which I want to, really I do, will it just be a $100 brick until my 12 month period is up? Or will you folks admit that the 4-device limit is artificial and you can in fact get around it when you want to?

    Please respond on this. The FAQ doesn't make it clear.

  10. Call Netflix customer service and they can make the limit to 5.

    If you have used up all 4 + 1 from customer service, close your account. And open a new one with a different email address. Problem solved.

  11. For those who have asked... I recall reading that you have a 4 computer limit and a 4 device limit. So you can have watch instantly in a total of 8 places.

    Of course, confirmation of this from a Netflix source would be nice. :)

  12. There has to be a way to reset this limit. I mean, even iTunes has a way to do this.

    I'm disappointed there is no way to attach an HD to this device. It would seem logical to have something so you can stream a movie down and then watch it on high quality if you have issues with performance on your internet connection which does happen.

    I'll second the vote about the 360/PS3 being used as a player too and wanting to know more. They both have HD's in them and the PS3 is a popular blu-ray player so it would seem to make sense to support these units.

    Finally, the spin on it being better since you don't get the clutter and you are limited to only what is in your queue is ridiculous. Just come out and say it. It is a cheap box and to keep it cheap some compromises were necessary. Don't insult our intelligence.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. will the other players coming out in the future be able to browse entire instant viewing library or simply choose from your instant viewing queue like the roku player?

  15. How about Netflix give away a couple of these to us mac only users as an apology for not bothering to get us a Watch Instantly solution?

    DRM boo hoo I've wasted at least 100 bucks waiting for you to stop discriminating against 20% of your customers.

  16. about the consoles, please consider partnering with sony on this for the ps3. i'm already considering getting one for the bluray support + games so I could remove my dvd player. i'd rather not have to then replace that slot with yet another device.

    that said, this is pretty sweet.

    can someone explain to me the necessity of a hard drive when you can still cache. it's not like when you play with your computer it saves to the harddrive. yet the player will still cache the movie and play.

  17. Based on the fact "anonymous" is peddling spam pharmy advertisements (see 3 comments up), no one from Netflix is keeping an eye on user comments.

    Wake up Brent and answer some questions!

  18. From what I've been told, they are working on getting a HD Roku Player asap. They said that they've gotten Numerous inquires about the resolution and, as of right now, it's max is 480. So, I'm going to wait until they come out with something that actually has good quality.

  19. Michael AndersonMay 23, 2008 at 1:53 AM

    I want to apologize for the other mac users- I know you'd provide the watch now service on the mac if you could either get apple to share their DRM or get the studios to agree to DRM that is available.

    That said, any word on when that is going to happen?

    Once the content is HD will the current ROKU box support it? (it does have the hdmi connection)

    Also, I don't want to complain about the lack of hard drive- I know that is also something that may come from the studio end, but is there some sort of DRM that would allow the use of large hard drives, or if not at least small buffer drives of around 30 gigs?

  20. "Oh boy, This is going to be Great" Having used and worked with the MCE platform and running a full PC all of which are like taking a gun to a hammer fight. This is great. Ordered one on Monday, looking for it any day now.

    Have some additional thoughts but they are here. http://blog.monroe-kc.com


    Couldn't find a NetFlix cutomer service topic to address this issue. Has anyone (regular customer) gotten this device yet?

    Thank you for ordering The Netflix Player by Roku. Your order has been received and will be shipped as soon as possible.

    Interest in the Player has exceeded our expectations and as such, we are experiencing some delays in shipping. We expect your order to ship next week. Please be assured that your credit card will not be charged until we ship your order.

    Once your order ships, you will receive a confirmation email from FedEx that will include tracking information. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 888-600-ROKU (888-600-7658).

    Thanks again for your support,

    The Team at Roku


    Thank you very much for your Roku order. Your order number is ####, placed 5/20/2008 at 3:00PM. You can expect your order to ship from our warehouse in the next day or two. At that time, we will send you another email to notify you that it is on its way. Thank you again for your order. If you have any questions regarding the status of your order, please call us at 888-600-ROKU (888-600-7658).

  22. I think this is a nice first step. I don't like the fact that there is currently only one choice for devices. I will wait until there are many more options to choose from before I even think of adding this to my TV. I currently have a D-Link media center and hope/expect that this will eventually be supported on that device.

  23. I don't want yet another device! I have a Tivo and love it! I already get movies and tv shows from Amazon Unbox when I get the craving for something right away. Partner with Tivo and you'd have all of their customers as potential new customers and keep those of us who are currently with both. I hate to say it, but if Tivo/Amazon comes up with a plan before you guys do.... I'll subscribe with them and drop Netflix - as much as I really like Netflix. So get busy and add Tivo to the list of folks you need to be negotiating with!

  24. Can the Roku get any stream from Windows Media player or just Netflix content?

  25. what is a device limit?

  26. The device limit is the number of these devices allowed on one Netflix account. I've read you can have four PC's and four of these Roku devices.

    As for the poster who is hoping for XBOX support and Windows MCE support, I wouldn't hold my breath. I'm betting XBOX/Microsoft and Apple all see this device and Netflix as a stealer of potential revenue on their own streaming/online rental systems.

  27. This thing is awesome. The limited quantity of movies to stream aside, there are quite a few documentaries to choose from.

    As far as waiting for it, expecting something else to happen with PS3 or Micorsoft, HAH. $100 for the box, $96 a year in membership to Netflix, this is a bargain entertainment device. I have had it since Saturday and my only concern is running out of decent content.

    The resolution has been flawless, the menu and setup is easy. Bravo to the best bargain of a box sitting in my system right now. Having a 360, PS3 and a cable DVR that says alot, I think. I love my little Roku.

    This little box is definitely going to disrupt the industry, only if the content can keep up.

  28. two things:
    1. Anderson doesn't speak for this mac user, I'm not the one who needs to apologize for sub standard (by definition) service. Imagine a drive in theater that only allows Toyotas in, since they are the best selling brand. Just borrow your friend's car for 3 hours, but they cant come with because the screen only fits one person.

    2. The more I think about this player, the less I'm interested. I have 175 (ridiculous, I know) movies in my queue and only FOURTEEN are available for Instant Watching. and the first one is at the irrelevant #56 not worth $99 now, nor $139 in 6 months when the price goes up.

    2a. In the new releases categories the only two movies I recognized by title were Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Mars Attacks from 1996!!!

    Peruse the movies available at iTunes and you will come to the sad realization (cancel or allow?) Allow... that this program is outgunned,

    It would have been a great feature... IN 2005.

    The best comments on here say, you should have partnered with Tivo, Xbox, etc to provide content. But Netflix missed out or is tight lipped and losing out.

  29. Are you following the GPL? Will your customers get source code for all GPLd parts of the system?

    And, just as important, are you following the spirit of the GPL? Will your customers be able to run their own modified kernel?

    Finally, you seem to have the ability to support Linux as a client in your Watch Instantly thing, yet when I try to use it from Linux I get an error saying that my system is unsupported. Then, when I click the "System compatibility" link, all it shows me is Windows. How long will it be before I can use Watch Instantly from Linux?

  30. I'd totally buy this product or use the watch instantly on the web . . except you don't support CLOSED CAPTIONING or provide subtitles.

  31. I'll agree completely that the content is lacking in the Watch It Now category. I seriously doubt this is Netflix's fault and more because the content providers aren't willing to provide the content in this format.

    Apple TV via iTunes certainly has a lot more premium content available but if you recall, this was not the case a year ago so things change. However, what makes Apple TV and Amazon Unbox and other rental services completely unworthy of my dollars is the 24 hr time limit once you start watching a rental. The Netflix service has no such limitations either in the physical form or streaming form.

    I refuse to support a service with this 24 hr timer. I frequently watch a movie, stop it part way through, and start it back up the next day. The problem is, I start watching @ 10 PM. What happens when I want to start watching it again, the VERY NEXT DAY, at 10 PM? I can't, I'm over the 24 hr limit. 48 hrs or 72 hrs would be a lot more reasonable. Once again though, do you think this is Apple or Amazon's fault?? I highly doubt it.

    As long as the masses continue to support a service with these limitations, they'll continue to force these limits without question. Why we are so gullible to allow this is beyond me? It is the same reason I refuse to go to the theater any longer. Why should I pay $10 to sit and watch 20 minutes worth of commercials?

    On the other hand, the Roku box and streaming services have no such limitations but I'll grant you the lack of closed captioning is a problem for some. Those that don't like the lack of CC should refuse to purchase for that very reason. But consider that the more Roku boxes sold and the more streaming the general Netflix subscriber does, the bigger push Netflix can make to bring additional content to us. I see a potential chicken and egg issue here and if the Roku box is supported by the masses, then Netflix gets more clout.

    For the most part, I'd like to see this service become wildly successful. At the same time, I hope they continue to push for support from other devices such as the PS3.

  32. For the Mac user who wants to get mad @ netflix, please do some more research before you start trying to shout out facts,
    1.)Mac user's is 4% of the Netflix customer base (They checked)
    2.)Why would a company who wants customer to take advantage of a service purposely try to stop you from using it..?
    DRM has to be used in the process for the production studios to allow Netflix Rights to hosting these files, Apple does the same thing, sadly they don't allow 3rd party customers to use it, so that means "No mac", Netflix is working with Microsoft becuase Silverlight2.0 is supposed to be DRM compatible, if/when it is, Mac/Windows/Linux/ect. will all work. Don't blame Netflix because Mac won't share. If you did some digging you can find out that when Instant watch came out, Netflix had an agreement with both Microsoft and Apple for support, apple pulled out 2 weeks before opening and didn't say why, then a couple months later Apple TV comes out... still want to blame Netflix ..?


  33. I have a question about this Mac thing ... (not an expert on DRM and stuff). Why am I able to watch previews on my Mac but not the whole movie?

  34. This looks very interesting, but I'd like to confirm 2 things:

    1.) It only allows you access to your watch it now queue? So no browsing recently added or anything like that?

    2.) It has all the outputs for HD quality (if/when it becomes available on Netflix) but does the device itself actually support this? If Netflix decided tomorrow to offer HD quality movies over watch it now, would this device output in 1080p or at least 720p?

    These would be deal breakers in my opinion, but still a nice attempt a first device, especially for $99.

  35. Hey, this still needs work. I've been watching "The Office: Season 3" lately and the episode numbers are mislabeled, so they're playing in the wrong order. Check out the episode titles on the instant watch website versus what shows up on the Roku player. They're totally different, and it actually ended up with me watching the season out of order.

  36. why the hell do you guys use a DRM mechanism that is so damn limited? We pay for the damned service, we should get a product that's actually worth more than what we could get for free....


    I know it's not the fault of netflix entirely.... :\

  37. Is this a solution to the Mac exclusion issue? Is this device dependent at all on your computing platform? Or is it independent of your computer?

  38. Getting movies instantly through the Web is very interesting, but I think there's a long way to go. I have a 60" TV and the DVD's look great (95% of them anyways). But I'm all about HD quality. There's 2 ways you could make me want to buy something like this,

    1 - deliver HD quality movies without interruption, drop outs, freezes, or whatever else might annoy me in the middle of a movie when something important is happening

    2 - don't make me go to the computer first to pick my movie, then back to my device. let me do all from the device OR the computer. if i sit down to watch a movie, i don't want to have to run to the next room to pick it on the computer first. that's silly.

    i know there are a lot of issues and hurdles, but as a customer, frankly, i don't care. it's not my problem, it's yours :) you do this, and i'd gladly get a device like this. otherwise, forget it.

    as a side note, we're big apple users and i won't buy the apple tv b/c of it's crappy support for HD and big screen TV's with high resolutions. i'm not interested in watching shitty quality on my big TV.

  39. Dear Me:

    I'm going to start by pointing out that you are talking about the petty parts of the post, and are missing the big -underdeveloped business model- part.

    Your fact that Apple could and did pull out of negotiations reinforces my point Netflix shouldn't be in this market. Apple saw this as competition to AppleTV, so they jerked it. Why? Because they can. They have iTunes, and iPod, and the Music Store, why should they work with someone else?

    Does this device arm Netflix to compete against Apple Tivo or cable?

    Not yet, because it adds another box next to your TV and because it is nothing above what you could get elsewhere: Amazon Unboxed, AppleTV, (especially future iterations when they heed consumer demand and raise the rental time to 30 hours) or cable's On Demand features give you this already.

    (sidebar: before you argue that you pay extra for On Demand, I haven't spent 100 dollars on On Demand in my whole life, and would be able to see just about anything I wanted before I paid for a Roku box or, as Jordan points out, the next more expensive box, especially if I bought this box first.)

    The reasons I got (and continue to have) a Netflix subscription are it's cheaper than Blockbuster, and I can get just about any title I want. When they compete against rental places, I think they are a hands down winner.

    Does this make them a dinosaur in the race to digital delivery? Until they announce partnerships with other existing "boxes," yes. Count up all the people who want this to work with something already in their house. Are they just being selfish as consumers? Since Tivo forced cable companies into offering digital cable and a DVR in the same box, I say "not selfish".

    If the comments about the quality of the picture are accurate, this Roku deal sends them into competing with Youtube, not the major digital deliverers. btw isn't being able to watch Youtube on your TV an ancillary feature to some other content provider?

    Now to the petty parts,

    20% was a number I saw on this blog, so I used it. If we are holding comments to a journalistic standard, where is the source for your 4%? 7 of these 38 posts (including the first person to post) are about mac, which is 18%, which is closer to 20 than 4. so that would suggest (in this post that has nothing to do with mac service) our role and investment in the netflix community. just counting posters about mac brings it to 13% which is still triple your number.

    I doubt mac users are such jerks that we would complain at three or four times the rate of PC users. We are quite pleasant as a population.

    Second, "Why would a company who wants customer to take advantage of a service purposely try to stop you from using it.?" This makes you sound like a plant. I was not saying they are rubbing their hands together plotting new ways to screw over mac users. I'm saying Apple's reluctance to work with them should have been a warning that they are out of their depth. Stick with the good (niche) ideas of distributing independent films.

    Companies are designed to make money, and if they can get by with offering it to PC users and shrugging their shoulders to mac users, then they will. This box is an awkward work around at best.

  40. Hmmm.. I kind of like the idea of using the player's wireless feature to access Internet movies. Using the player's RCA jacks to connect it to a projector, my kids and I can then watch movies by the pool/patio during the summer. That's certainly worth $99.99.

  41. So why is it that the Roku player runs Linux (source), and has no problems as a Netflix Player but Linux/Mac "Watch Now" support still doesn't exist?

    Could you possibly release for download the software that allows you to run Netflix "Watch Now" on the Roku Linux-box to all of the Linux and Mac users out there who want to use the "Watch Now" service and have been patiently waiting for support for non-Windows computers?

  42. you people might already offer this, but I can't think of a better way to bring the whole world into the fold of netflix than to offer some (open-source?) way of adding subtitles in whatever language for each movie? The idea being that in addition to broadening your audience/customer base, you're encouraging people who might already be native speakers to download or run subtitle packs from other languages that they are trying to learn.

  43. Just so everyone knows, when the Watchnow service was first available, you COULD WATCH IT ON YOUR T.V. from your PC via s video cable. Then it was disabled. Now this device has come out, and it makes me wonder what other services will be disabled as these Netflix ready devices come out.

  44. come on now... you don't need your own box...work with Microsoft media center/Xbox, sony, tivo and any other vender you can... I know old people that would even use the service....

  45. You CAN still watch it now on a PC. I don't know why you'd think that feature was disabled but it still works. I just did it not minutes ago.

  46. What's this about netflix-360?

  47. to Anonymous: May 31st
    But that would require me purchasing more (Microsoft O/S) licenses, expensive PC/Laptop hardware, and pay extra for services (like Tivo). For less than $100 and using existing services, all the other hardware and licensing issues are moot.

  48. "Just so everyone knows, when the Watchnow service was first available, you COULD WATCH IT ON YOUR T.V. from your PC via s video cable. Then it was disabled."

    What? I just project my screen to my television. Works for me.

  49. Wow, look at all the hate. So it doesn't fit your needs. You don't want another box. ZOMG it might come out for something else you own! The content is not as good as iTunes!

    So don't buy it. That leaves more for people like me who actually want it for the convenience and ease of use. I have Vista Ultimate and a 360 and I've successfully gotten the homebrew watchnow plugin working. But you know what, I ordered one of these babies on the first day, and I've got it hooked up to my TV, sitting right on top of my 360. Why?

    Steps to watch netflix on 360:

    1. Turn on 360
    2. Navigate through menus to activate Media Center
    3. Navigate to Program Library
    4. Navigate to Netflix plugin
    5. Select content
    6. Wait a little under a minute for buffering
    7. Watch it

    Steps to watch netflix on Roku's device:

    1. Turn on device
    2. Select content
    3. Wait a little under a minute for buffering
    4. Watch it

    I know which I'd rather do, and more importantly, I know which my wife would rather do.

    And don't forget, Netflix and Roku have both stated that the device is not inherently limited to Netflix content. Hopefully they'll get Youtube on it next.

  50. That's great and all, but I'd much rather it be available through my PS3, even if it has a slight fee. Not a lot, mind you.

    I've been sold on Netflix for years, but to be a college student and to be able to have my PS3 that is a gaming console, DVD/Blu-Ray player, and can stream from my Netflix account...you would have my utmost loyalty.

  51. Sean - do you have a life, or are you just one of those dweebs that substitutes electronics for friends? Oh, and "ZOMG"? Please. Get a vocabulary. It's much better than just banging your head on the keyboard and pretending that the resulting mess is some sort of netspeak.

  52. OK, I just got mine delivered, put a bunch of movies in the queue, and sat down to watch - only I can't watch because the website is down for "scheduled maintenance."

    I don't begrudge Netflix some scheduled maintenance. I do begrudge them keeping the schedule secret. It's one thing if it is only a DVD ordering site, but something else when people's movies stop in the middle or one can't use a Roku box to watch movies.

    If you are going to have scheduled maintenance, then let others in on the schedule.

  53. To the folks who insist on folks running cable from PC to TV:

    Some of us live in our own houses, and not a dorm room or a bedroom in our parent's house. Quite often, the computer is in a different room than the home theater. Possibly they are on different floors! This is due to things like "taste" and "practicality" and "not having a living room that looks like some complete geek tool lives there."

    Nor do we have a TV and PC in our bedrooms anymore, because we have discovered other thing to do in that room.

    Now I know you're in the crowd that cannot understand why everyone in the world doesn't build an open source DVR system with $1000 worth of PC hardware, and spend more time fiddling with it more than actually enjoying shows and movies, but you're just going to have to wrap your minds around such concepts.

  54. I have a 60" TV and the DVD's look great (95% of them anyways). But I'm all about HD quality.

    The Roku looks great on my 52" Bravia LCD over HDMI. Having 5 Mbps Internet probably helps.

    You just all about dat HD, ain't ya!

    I'm sorry, but it's far too early in the HD lifecycle, especially from the POV of available content, for anyone to be an HD snob yet. You're just a dork. You like the graphics whores who were completely broadsided by the success of the Wii.

  55. The Roku is nice but without the Releasing this Week page on your site, it is difficult to add new releases to the Roku instant viewing queue. Please bring back the Releasing This Week page before deploying any more gimmicky props that are inefficient without it.

  56. And all of this will be for naught when cable ISPs start charging per usage. I hope Netflix doesn't stop renting actual DVDs!

  57. I installed my Roku box today and watched two shows from a Showtime series and one movie tonight. I had to email a bunch of friends about what an excellent service it was. This is what I sent out:

    Since most of us are interested in video I feel like I should share this. I just got the new Netflix box from Roxu. This is the box which is to allow us to play Netflix movies and other shows directly on our TVs using a small box connected to the internet over your network connections. I got mine today, installed it and watched two episodes of a Showtime series and one movie tonight. In the past I had watched similar shows over my computer. Those would hesitate and reload if the connection slowed. This thing never faltered. I was amazed at how good the reception was -- much better than the computer, not quite HD but better than SD (standard def).

    I have two HD sets, one a 37" and the other a HD projector suspended from the ceiling with a 107" pull-down screen (almost 8 ft. wide) with outputs to either through a composite switch box. Both sets were VERY watchable. They are advertised as near DVD quality and they didn't lie. I feel like I've just seen the future of TV. It should only get better.

    Right now I pick up local channels through an antenna and movies through the box. The box cost $99 but my monthly bill is $15 to get two revolving DVDs plus all the downloads over the box I want at no additional charge. I don't know how long it will take for this to make a dent in cable but I can see that happening as well as the end of mailing of DVDs. This is too easy.


  58. I just received my Roku box, and I am very happy with the service. Considering the low price of the monthly rental fee, this is great. I am surprised by all the criticism. The set-up was simple, the selection is good, and the transmission quality is also good. Limits are reasonable considering the price,- if you have a problem with the limits,- don't be so cheap and buy another subscription.

  59. In response to Howard and the Releasing this week question, it is there just a little hidden.


  60. Have you all ever considered desiging a widget that bloggers could put on their blog sites so readers could link through and either sign up for Netflix or choose a movie/tv series we have recommended? You could pay the blogger a percentage for each click. I talk about Netflix all the time on my blog and it would be nice to get paid for all the people who then go to the site! Thanks. http://iknowwhereyoucanfindit.blogspot.com/

  61. Thank you zirax. I know about that page. The problem is that Netflix has removed all official links to to it on their site. They plan to eventually do away with it altogether.

    There is another blog thread on this subject. The Netflix blogger promised at least four times that Netflix would let us know what their plans are for it. Sadly, the Netflix execs don't seem to care enough to address it for their customers. Of course, Netflix customer service has really deteriorated over the past year. This is just an extension of that.

  62. I've been watching Movies on my PC for years now. I have a Acer 22 widescreen and it works great for Netflix, Hulu and other services.

    What I really want though is the capability to use Netflix with (a) Firefox and (b) Linux.

    It's been quite a while since they released the watch now capability, yet they have never expanded the platform to other operating systems and browsers.

    Why not??

  63. Like hell its available.

    I ordered mind 5/23 "7 to 10 days" I was told. I inquired 6/6 and was you should have on on 6/12. Today (6/15) I called again. Guess what "7 to 10 days".

    ROKU is out of control, they don't know when they can deliver this thing - and this is giving NETFLIX a bad name.

  64. True. I called yesterday as I want to know the expedited shipping options and was suggested not to waste money on a faster delivery because they were backed up. Did the sales exceed their expectation or are they testing the market?

  65. Thanks ROKU and Netflix. The box is EXACTLY what I wanted. I use it for the kids, no more buying or renting piles of kid shows that end up all over the house. In fact I was able to drop cable, so the box pays for itself in less than 2 months.

    As to those who complain about a lack of a hard drive, I have NEVER had a drop out; perhaps you should get a better ISP.

    BTW, Netflix could you PLEASE add more kids content.

  66. I have a very fast connection 14MPS down and always get 4 bars with my wireless connection. I am very impressed with the picture quality which seems to be much better than the streaming on my laptop, so I am asumming that they are not using the same technology for streaming to the Roku as they are for the online service. They need more current movies and television shows, but for $99.00 its great and I do not like the Apple and Vudu model of having to pay $1.99 for a television show to own it. I am only going to watch it once anyway.

  67. Summary: You need to immediately increase your "Watch Instantly" selection or end the program. Right now you're simply cheating your customers.

    Long Version: I feel cheated by your "Watch Instantly" selection. I'm not too interested in DVDs - I suppose I'm impatient and don't want to wait a day for shipping. Regardless of the reason, I was excited to learn about your "Watch Instantly" program. I bought a Roku player and signed up with you on the 1/month DVD program so I can watch unlimited on-demand style shows.

    Well your selection is terrible.

    Of course, your response will likely be "caveat emptor". I know - you post a link to browse a sub-selection of on demand movies and I did review this before I signed up. But until I received the Roku player ($100 later) and actually tried to download something, I didn't realize just how sparse your selection is. It is in fact so terrible you don't even allow one to search the selection... so you're clearly aware of the issue.

    Your 10,000 viewable programs seem to be mostly forgotten 80's sitcoms, or just plain movie flops that most people won't want to watch.

    It is dishonest of you to market a product like this which is clearly in it's licensing infancy. Until you've got an agreement with big studios to show popular modern movies and shows in this medium, you're simply cheating your customer base.

    I've told almost everyone I know not to purchase this item, and explained the dishonesty in your marketing. I'm also going to post some VERY lackluster reviews on Digg and Slashdot.

    I hope to stop millions of people from making the mistake I did.

  68. Sounds like your pissed because you didn't do your homework first. If Netflix had allowed no mechanism for you to evaluate the service before purchasing the Roku device I could understand your ire. However, that isn't the case. It is pretty easy to see what is available on the instant watch service.

    It is pretty clear on the website that the selection is of older materials and in many cases, substandard movies. I think the value of the Instant Watch service is dependent on the audience. There is a boatload of stuff my kids can watch and it works great for that purpose.

    I don't recall Netflix marketing this as an alternative to their DVD rental service. They in fact don't charge for it. It is free with the rental fee.

    Go buy an Apple TV and sell the device to someone who actually would use it (I'm sure there are plenty of takers since it sounds like the device might be hard to get right now). You'll pay $5.99 for HD and $2.99 for SD movies but you'll get them right away. Of course, in the long run, you'll pay a whole lot more than just waiting a day for the DVD.

  69. It is so rude, to say the least, calling Netflix a dishonest" business First because everything about What Instantly is very clear, as long as you take the time to browse its website and FAQ's. Second because if you are not happy with the box, just send it back - you have 30 days money back guarantee! I had not decided to purchase the Roku box until I read your posting. I placed my order today!. So go ahead and tell everybody. I'm sure our community will grow faster thanks to members like you. By the way, why don't you go ahead and get yourself an Apple TV instead?

  70. Let's suppose that I, as a Netflix customer, suspected that Verizon was severely limiting my bandwidth from Netflix servers. How would I go about proving this? Is this a common problem or am I one of the first victims?

  71. Less then 10% in Watch Instantly is simply not enough!

  72. Ahah, and already roku seems to have a serious competitor.

    Has anyone seen this?


    I read through the complaints on this blog and saw quite a few faults with Roku's little box, although I will say it's a great bit of first attempt effort.

    ZV Player really seems to have chomped into this issue hard, and by bypassing the requirement of creating an entirely separate computer to deal with software, drm and so forth, now you can not only have a netflix-specific device, but you can also tap into iTunes, Amazon's unbox, and so forth...not to mention basically projecting your computer onto any screen in your house. And-- it supports HD.

    So, for mac users, I think it's time to refer back to Netflix and ask why, after over a year's time of information regarding silverlight:


    ...which will now enable streaming video onto mac browsers (and firefox on any platform), why hasn't this route been pursued? I don't claim to know anything about the specifics of the software the Netflix team has developed, but it seems like this might all have been a holdout for Roku's device.

    Personally, I've been waiting to buy a Mac until Netflix delivers support for them- but my old dell laptop is really starting to hurt, and I've been eyeing a replacement so I can still hook my laptop into my projector for movie time.

    Anyway, it sounds like the jury's still out on the end result of the Roku player, but it's looking to be lacking. We'll see if the ZV device can deliver.

  73. Yeah, I've seen it. I also saw the price: $499.99. I can't afford it right now. But I agree with you, it is great and it puts Apple against the wall for sure.

  74. Absolutely agreed on price-- for $400 over Roku's box, I don't know if you're really getting your money's worth at this point, unless you're desperate for a solution (I might be for $300).

    Fortunately, we consumers buy from a system that breeds competition. I'd imagine that pricing will drop as soon as people see the success, if this device can deliver. Think of wii vs. xbox vs. ps3, or even cell phone pricing.

  75. once again netflix proves the end user paying everyones salary is the last person being thought of by this company...no more profiles??? what the hell who is in charge around there? web page changes not because the customer wants it but some corporate jack ass wants it...now families cant separate there movies they now have to mix them all together????

  76. I was looking for a better place to give feedback but unfortunately I did not find a more appropriate way to contact you.

    This comment is regarding the removal of the profiles feature. While I have not used it frequently, it is incredibly useful for situations where one member of the family goes on vacation, or when my mom comes to visit.

    Besides, the email I received making the announcement does not mention any reason for this change other than to "improve the Netflix website for all our customers". I would at least like to know what improvements we're getting in exchange for losing this feature.

    The FAQ at http://www.netflix.com/Help?p_faqid=3962 does not provide further information either.

    I really hope that the announced removal is just a temporary thing and that we will be getting a new and improved version in the future.

    Thank you!

  77. YES! I wish someone would address this whole profile thing! It's completely ridiculous! My husband and I each have separate profiles as well as one devoted just to TV series. This is going to cause MAJOR headaches with trying to juggle the movies in our queue!

    How in the HELL is this change continuing "to improve the Netflix website for all our customers?"

    Bad idea, Netflix. Real bad.

    And get some damn email feedback. The phone-only way of handling things is insane. I have better things to do with my time than sit on hold.

  78. Dear Netflix, April Fools' Day was a couple months ago - removing profiles is an incredibly asinine idea... please don't do it!

  79. Netflix, please don't drop profiles. They are one of your best features.

  80. Removing profiles?! What on earth are you people thinking? You add all this stupid crap like the "instant queue", and you're taking away one of the mose useful features on the site? I'm seriously going to Blockbuster if you do this... I dunno if they have profiles, but at least they have larger queues...

  81. I can't believe Netflix is droping profiles. This was my favorite feature!

  82. Please...seriously, don't drop profiles. My wife and I won’t bother with netflix if we can’t keep our cues separate.

    If your strategy is to get each member of a family to sign up it won’t work - we'll stop using netflix and rent movies on demand on cable.

    And also: the marketing genius who wrote the email announcing this needs go to a continuing-ed class on marketing. Don’t send me an email telling me you’re going to do something that sucks and then not offer something in return. It's like having a diner and saying "sorry, no more eggs" without explaining why. This whole thing is a bad idea wrapped up with lousy, amateurish marketing – a real surprise from a company that until now seemed to do everything right.

  83. Please re-think removing profiles. Or at least offer a better solution than printing out profile queues. Ridiculous!

  84. Eliminating profiles? Are you insane?

    My wife watches five times as many movies as I do. She gets two, I get one. Mine usually sits there a week before I can watch it.

    Without profiles, she'll no longer get her steady stream of movies. "Why are there three of your movies here? When are you going to watch them??" Where the hell are my movies???"

    And that will be the end of Netflix for us.

    What on earth prompted this bonehead move?

  85. As I just wrote in the email I sent to Netflix, the day you delete my profile is the day my wife and I cancel our Netflix account.

    Please don't do it.

  86. you are insane to remove profiles. blockbuster, here i come. how on earth does this continue to improve your service? that's ridiculous.

  87. Netflix giveth and marketeth, then Netflix taketh away.

    When you take away a verrrry useful tool like profiles while bragging about a useless waste of bandwidth like the "Instant" queue (why bother when you already have the icon in the main queue?), you send not-too-subtle signals about what you really think of your customers.

    We just downgraded our account by one disc.

  88. Blockbuster Announces Personal Profiles™ Feature for Online Subscribers

    Company Sees Added Opportunity for Online Growth; Every Family Member Can Have Their Own Personal Queue

    DALLAS, September 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI)(NYSE: BBI.B) today announced further enhancements to its online rental subscription service, giving new and existing subscribers the added choice of BLOCKBUSTER Personal Profiles™, an individual movie queue for each family member. The new subscription feature is now available to all current and new subscribers to Blockbuster's online rental service.

    "The online rental market is poised for further growth and through BLOCKBUSTER Personal Profiles™, we intend to capture our share of that growth, broaden our customer base and remain the fastest growing online rental service in the marketplace," said Shane Evangelist, senior vice president and general manager of BLOCKBUSTER Online®. "Consumers have a choice and we're making it easier for them to rent movies in a way that best fits their lifestyle -- BLOCKBUSTER Personal Profiles™ are one more way we continue to provide unparalleled convenience and value."

    About Blockbuster
    Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI)(NYSE: BBI.B) is a leading global provider of in-home movie and game entertainment, with more than 7,700 stores throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company may be accessed worldwide at http://www.blockbuster.com/.

    SOURCE: Fictitious and Cautionary Partners, LLC.

    CONTACT: Tami Cannizzaro of Blockbuster Inc., +1-214-555-1212

    Web site: http://www.blockbuster.com/

  89. Seriously. The profile thing means I will no longer be able to use NF to organize my movies. I guess I'll just give up and rent from the local BB store then.

    I have over 1000 disks, organized by types and viewing (e.g. series, me alone) in FIVE profiles. Forget the inconvenience of no organization but an ordered list, how do I fit 1000 disks into a 500 disk queue? How about a migration feature? Hell, how about a CSV export feature for my queue so it doesn't just go away?

    And... explain. The marketing email is filled with bull!@#$. I have worked plenty in IT circles, as have many of your biggest paying customers. Give us a serious reason or we're gonna assume you just hate individual customers who have been with you since before the envelopes were read, in favor of some elusive (and all too often, short-sighted and pointless) growth goal.

    Churn is expensive.

  90. Hey I don't actually care about the netflix player (interesting idea tho') but what about this thing I got in my mailbox today?!

    "We will be eliminating Profiles, the feature that allowed you to set up separate DVD Queues under one account.

    When? Profiles will be eliminated on September 1, 2008.

    Why? While it may be disappointing to see this feature go away, this change will help us to continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers.

    Do I need to do anything? Consider moving all DVD titles in your Profiles Queues to your main account."

    Yeah.... see the part in bold? What the f*** is up with that? That's not even a real answer. It's an evasion. If you're going to do something that will make people mad, at least give them a legitimate answer for WHY you're doing it!

  91. I'll be canceling come September if the profile feature really goes away. And I am a LOOOONG time customer. Not happy.

  92. Hell, there may in fact be a good technical reason. I can think of a lot of ways a crappy design somewhere in the application tier could make it a pain to support profiles.

    There just isn't a good technical reason that doesn't involve one horrendous code base.

  93. I am sure glad I did not buy this device, since it appears Netflix is telling me to go away by September 1. I would've really felt like a chump.

  94. Just hook your laptop/computer up to your TV (aka monitor) and save yourself the $100.

  95. Better never need to contact n e t f l i x. You can never talk to anyone. Even after requesting phone call they won't. They would rather have you leave then to keep you happy. Blockbuster Online is better you can talk to someone when you need to.

  96. Without closed captioning, it is not something that I will use a lot.

  97. I have the Roku box, and I have to say it has been a nice addition to our household. If I can make a couple of suggestions, they are: work on the lag time of loading the movie to the box, and for Pete's sake, put some true "New Releases" in the Play Now section. ...Don't get me wrong, I've been meaning to bone up on my documentary viewing, but I'd like there to be a choice in the matter. All in all I like the box, and would recommend it to friends.

  98. Netflix execs,

    I have and LOVE the Roku player. It's the best innovation in video rental since Netflix itself. Kudos for a job well done!

    I do have three requests, though:

    1. Please allow us to automatically alphabetize our Watch Instantly Queue with a button click. it would be much easier to scan movies on the Netflix Player by Roku if this feature were implemented.

    2. Please allow us to have more than 500 movies in the Watch Instantly Queue. TV shows can suck up a lot of that easily. I think 1,000 items in the queue would be more reasonable.

    3. I know this is the goal, but I urge you to get more decent movies in the Watch Instantly library. You know what I mean: There's a ton of B-movies, Troma videos, and films that have reviews of two stars or less, but not as many mainstream films and big features. While I love the classics and enjoy B-movies, I would also like to be able to watch more titles that actually graced theater screens, rather than the direct-to-video glut I'm currently seeing.

    - This device was well worth the money, and you have now captured me as a long-term Netflix subscriber.

    Oh, and for the people waiting for this to be out for their Xbox 360 or PS3:

    Trust me. As an Xbox 360 owner since launch day, I can tell you that the Netflix Player by Roku is the BEST choice for watching movies, and would be FAR better than watching via your Xbox 360 or PS3.


    Because the Netflix Player makes NO noise. Needs NO fans. Has NO hard drive. It's totally silent, uses only 5 watss of power, remains pretty cool, and takes up very little space.

    If you were to watch on your 360, you know you'd have to contend with the fan noise while watching your movies, and you'd be using WAY more power (you probably use 5 watts just to power the fan!). It would lessen the life of your console, and the experience wouldn't be any better for it.

    I assume the same would go for the PS3.

    This Roku box is SMALL and LIGHT. It's dedicated to its function.

    Best of all, you can still play your console while someone else is in another room watching a movie on the Roku box! Do you really want your 360 or PS3 tied up by your family so they can watch a movie when you'd rather be playing a game?

    Think about it.

  99. I agree with the previous post. The only thing I didn't like at all was the FedEx left it at my door, since no signature was required. I didn't realize they would do it and I was lucky it was still there, many hours later (I was at home all the time). They should require a signature for delivery, don't you guys think so?

  100. As a Mac user, I was definitely disappointed about not being able to use the Instant Viewing feature of my subscription. I'm thinking the Roku box is the workaround solution. I ordered mine and love it!

    It took minutes to set up and now I don't have to sit in front of my computer. My kids can also watch their vids in the tv room where there's more space.

    Lovin it!

  101. Love the Roku player. Great quality, even with a 2.8Mbps down connection.

    Please, please, please improve the selection of available content. Without decent stuff to watch, this amazing little box will end up on a shelf.

  102. I did a test using my daughter's connection and it worked fine under 1.0 Mbps too.

  103. When is the 360 going to get Netflix support? That is the only thing holding me back from switching to it from Hollywood Video.

  104. Netflix streaming video w/Roku works flawlessly, it is the way of the future. I can't wait till all movies are available to Watch Instantly. I have watched a half dozen movie and they have never locked up yet. Works better than my DVD Player. If I want theater quality I would go to the theater. Next purchase will be the Bose Cinemate Sound system.

    I am running it on 1.5M Internet, with a A-B Ethernet switch
    (No Router), I can't watch and be on internet at same time. But, it works and I have not been lucky with routers in the past.

    It was a little tricky getting activated, (since Player must stay connected while entering the code)but I call Netflix CS and Sonny helped greatly. I needed to get my activation code fron the Roku player, then go to another computer to access my account and enter the activation code. It worked great, just remember you only have 30 minutes to do this.

    Best $100 I ever spent.

  105. I have to say that I also really love the Roku box and have told just about all my friends about it. Yes, as everyone here who has it has mentioned, the movie selection is sparse, but I have no doubt that it will get better with time. For the time being however, I'm really enjoying the BBC, documentary and tv show offerings.

    Although, I do have to say I'm a little disappointed that some tv seasons of the shows they offer don't have all their episodes. Instead we get a little graphic telling us that the episode is available on DVD. I don't quite understand this. One would think that if they have the rights/DRM(whatever that is?)to a tv show season (or show in its entirety), then every single episode should be available.

    But, to me, this is only a minor problem and I do expect that there will be glitches with new products. I'm looking forward to see what improvements lie ahead.

    I *heart* my new $99 toy!

  106. HA! I knew it. Microsoft just announced at E3 that Netflix will be coming to the Xbox 360 "at No Additional Cost"! Save your money fellow Xbox owners. The service is supposed to be available this fall.

  107. The little Roku box works great. I like it's simplicity and how I interact with it. The video and sound, while not HD and Dolby, are decent and I don't get many dropouts. The main disappointment is the lack of content. I don't get why the Roku is any different than receiving a DVD in the mail. Why isn't any movie available at NetFlix available for instant play over Roku? It seems the movie industry is afraid of technology and is using contracts to slow adoption of interesting technology. The main result will be the industry losing customers as producers and consumers find technical ways around using the middle men. There is no technical reason streaming to the Roku should be any different than renting and watching a DVD. NetFlix makes copies of DVDs anyway. What's the difference?

  108. I've been running a Roku box for over a month now. There are some pros and cons, but overall I'm glad I got it.


    * Price is good.

    * No fan noise is nice.

    * Lack of a hard drive hasn't been a problem. Out of about 30 movies, I've had it stop to rebuffer for a few seconds only twice (I'm on a 3 mbit Knology connection). Percentage wise, that makes it more reliable than frequency of scratched and broken DVD's through the mail from more than one vendor.

    * Easy to setup. Runs fin on a wireless connection.

    * Picture quality is good.


    * The remote is a bit under powered so you have to be within 5 feet of the box to use the remote. A bit inconvenient when your recliner is 8 feet from the TV.

    * Picture quality is too good. I have a standard NTSC TV. I once got one quality bar when my daughter was playing WOW on the same connection and it looked a bit fuzzy. At two quality bars, it seems to match NTSC resolution. I'm often running with 4 quality bars, which means I'm downloading more data than my TV can display, thus swamping my network connection and annoying the kids playing WOW. It would like to have a way to tell it that my connection should only go to NTSC resolution.

    * It doesn't turn off. I have this and the DVD and the VHS all piping to the same line in on my TV. That works great as long as only one at a time is turned on. I have to physically unplug the Roku in order to use the DVD or VHS.

  109. It would seem that they set the $99.99 price point by jacking up the shipping. I was about to order one with a set of cables, but $20 for ground shipping is ridiculous. There's no way that reflects the true cost of shipping and is in fact an additional revenue stream. I'll wait to see if Amazon starts selling them.

  110. If you decide to place the order, be careful because they leave it at your door without prior notification. I found mine just like that on the following morning.

  111. I ordered my Roku and it worked very well. Then it stopped working. I emailed their customer support. They took a couple of days and told me to call. I called and was taken through all of the steps I had already taken. This was August 27. I sent my box overnight. They listed it as received August 29. They said it would be 3 - 5 days. Two weeks later, they said it would be a few days. Last week they said it would be 24 - 48 hours. Today I was told that it would be expedited.

    This is the absolutely worst experience I've ever had with a company selling me a product. It is completely unacceptable. I had become a walking advertisement for Roku. Now I've become a walking anti-Roku advertisement. They put these poor guys in India on the front line but don't give them any information. Their so-called technical support functions more like a boiler room for selling swamp land in Florida to unsuspecting senior citizens.

  112. Update: I found the number to the actual warehouse online and spoke with someone there who said he'd ship it out personally today. Maybe I just got caught in a systemic loop somewhere. If I don't receive the device by October 6 I'll post a followup. Otherwise, it means that the problem was solved.

  113. My husband called me today, he was all excited because he had purchased this box. After he explained what it was, I was kind of excited about it too. Then he realized that there was no closed captioning. What?! I am profoundly deaf and heavily rely on captioning while watching a movie. Are you telling me Netflix didn't have the foresight to include millions of customers that are hard of hearing or deaf? or did they just totally disregard this huge chunk of customers? Am I deeply disappointed? Yes, but I'm more disgusted than anything. Here I was all excited about being able to spend some time watching movies with my husband and three kids...and as it turns out. I can't. Thanks a lot.