Apple introduces a Roku box

Apple TV Now we know why Roku slashed prices on its $99 set-top box to $69 on Monday: Apple was about to introduce more or less the same box, with more or less the same functionality, at more or less the same price.

And now Apple has. With a patented “one more thing” turn, Steve Jobs on Wednesday introduced a $99 revamped Apple TV (not iTV) set-top box. Like the Roku box, the new Apple set-top has no on-board storage (allowing Apple to shrink the footprint to something close to Roku), relying instead on streaming to get content to the TV. Also like Roku, it has WiFi, Ethernet and HDMI connectors.

Like Roku, the Apple box comes with the Netflix app and also offers streamed HD movies on demand, albeit from iTunes rather than the Amazon VOD channel on the Roku box. And yes, you can rent TV shows for $99, but only from Fox and ABC (Disney) for now.

So, not exactly the game-changer some were expecting. But not exactly a so-what? announcement, either. The most interesting feature was the ability to stream content from any iOS device to the Apple TV set-top for display on the big screen. Not a surprise, but it does hint at a future integration by Apple of in-home and mobile video platforms, with cloud-based syncing and content portability between devices.

Wouldn’t surprise me if that capability were already in the box, in fact, just waiting to be turned on via remote update if and when Apple can ever secure the necessary rights from the studios.

Further readings:

Steve Jobs Shows Off $99 Version of Apple TV with Netflix Streaming

Tiny New Apple TV Costs $99, 99 Cent TV Episode Rentals Confirmed

Netflix Comes to Apple TV

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