ReplayTV Founder Resurfaces With 'Roku'

By Michael Singer

September 22, 2003

Famed PVD pioneer Anthony Wood launches his sixth new company with a new digital media player for use with consumer devices including HDTV and PCs.

The man behind the ReplayTV digital video recorder is making a comeback of sorts.

After reassigning himself to strategic consulting position at SONICblue last year, Anthony Wood Monday began hawking a new digital media player with a new company - both called Roku (Japanese for "six").

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based privately held company's first offering is the Roku HD1000 (USD$499.99), which runs a Linux-kernel based operating system and connects to consumer devices such as HDTV, standard television, or PC.

The device accepts CompactFlash, SD/MMC, Memory Stick, SmartMedia and XD memory cards for plug-and-play. The Roku HD1000 also connects to devices through its 10/100 Ethernet jack or wirelessly with a Wi-Fi adapter. The Roku HD1000 includes component, VGA, S-video and composite video out, for use with standard as well as high-definition TVs. Other connectors include component in, S-video in, composite in, RS-232, audio in and out, and digital audio out.

The idea, according to Wood, is to provide a high-resolution canvas for digital media such as photos, art, music and other multimedia applications. "Roku's singular focus is to offer exceptional but convenient ways for consumers to enjoy digital media," Wood said. "The growing HDTV market has triggered a new wave of thinking that goes well beyond the capabilities of previous digital media products, providing Roku with the opportunity to address this untouched market."

That untouched market also includes third-party developers, which Woods says Roku is eager to work with. The company is already lining up partners to build applications. A software developer's kit for the Roku OS will become available in the coming weeks.

The company also introduced a new concept today called LiveArt. The screen saver-esqe software packs (USD$69.99) contains a set of stock images on CompactFlash memory cards that move the pictre around such as a field of orange poppies blowing in the wind or a rippling mountain lake.

Beginning in October, the Roku HD1000 and Roku Art Packs can be found on Amazon.com and in consumer electronics stores nationwide including Magnolia Hi-Fi and Tweeter Home Entertainment Group locations such as all Tweeter, HiFi Buys, Sound Advice, Showcase Home Entertainment and Hillcrest High Fidelity.

The devices were on display last week at the DEMOmobile 2003 Conference and Exposition in La Jolla, Calif.



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