I’ve been a Netflix junkie for the past three years. I really enjoy the service and I only have a couple problems with it: Damaged discs and the dreaded “Very Long Wait” for some highly anticipated new releases. I was a bit intrigued by the Roku Netflix Player when it was released this past spring, but I’ve been holding off until their selection of available titles increases. Currently, they offer roughly 12,000 titles, a fraction of what is available in disc form. Everything I have read about the Roku is fairly positive. It is easy to set up, the user interface is straight forward, but the picture quality is a bit less than the DVD itself. I’m also awaiting the inevitable upgrade to streaming HD content. Surely, bandwidth is the main obstacle to that becoming a reality. Roku says that the player is HD ready and will stream HD movies and TV shows when Netflix is able to send the content. While the Roku box costs $99.99, the streaming of Netflix does not cost you anything extra if you already have an unlimited monthly membership (starting at $8.95 per month).
While I’m waiting for the perfect Netflix player to come along, Engadget is reporting that LG has a Blu-Ray player that will stream Netflix content. I have yet to upgrade to Blu-Ray, but this is definitely the unit I would go with when/if I go that route. The Blu-Ray player is still limited with the content that Netflix is offering, but it also plays Blu-Ray and standard DVDs. This offers a bit more versatility to the player where the Roku just streams Netflix.
I’m a big fan of being able to leave the physical media in the past and these developments, while not perfect, are approaching something I would be interested in purchasing. With options from Apple TV and Amazon’s Unbox, the inevitable end to the physical disc will be here before you know it.