Roku Capable Of HD Streaming, Netflix HD Content Only On Xbox 360 For Now

Thanks to the folks at Microsoft and Netflix, I am currently testing the new Netflix streaming functionality to the Xbox 360 and will have my review up in a few hours. While Netflix is not currently offering HD quality video via Roku or the Netflix watch now service, about 300 pieces of video content are available in HD from the Netflix app on the Xbox 360.

In addition, while some have speculated that the current Roku box can't do HD streaming, and is the reason why Netflix does not offer HD video quality, this is not the case. Roku confirmed for me this morning that the current version of their Roku box is currently capable of streaming HD quality video. The lack of an HD offering by Netflix via the Roku box is not due to any technical limitation of the Roku hardware. While Netflix won't say what their time line is for adding HD quality video via Roku and their watch now service, they did comment to say that their HD rollout would be modest to start. To me, that makes sense. Netlfix is kicking off streaming to the Xbox 360 next month, has just added Mac support for the watch now service, thanks to Silverlight, and is adding more content from the likes of Starz and CBS to their library. Netflix will bring the HD content, but all in due time.

This is a an exciting time for Netflix, Roku and the Xbox 360. Between new console updates, Netflix streaming on the Xbox 360, Mac support for Netflix's watch now service and additional funding for Roku, things are really heating up.

  • shaun noll

    i would imagine that its not the technical limitations that are stopping Netflix from streaming HD video to the roku but just that the cost is much higher with very little benefit since their business model for this is far from established. and what other real competitors are there out there to push them? until they start getting paid more for this streaming stuff or it gets much cheaper, i would think that available HD movies will be quite limited.