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Roku’s $99 Player - Worth it Now

Tuesday’s announcement that it would begin providing about 2,500 titles from Starz to Netflix’ web streaming service-a free service that allows existing Netflix subscribers to stream full movies and TV shows.  The deal gives a huge boost to the fledgling Netflix watch-now service, which has suffered from a fairly limited selection of titles.  As of this morning, over 1,000 Starz titles are already available on the service, including Superbad, Ratatouille and No Country for Old Men.

More significantly, the announcement all of a sudden makes the the $99 Netflix Player by Roku a worthwhile investment.  The tiny player, which plugs directly into your TV and/or home theater system via a good selection of inputs, frees customers from having to use the Watch Now service on their PCs and adds the convenience of a remote that controls playback.

Some consumers may decide to wait for LG’s BD300 Blu-ray player, which includes Netflix Watch Now Playback, when it ships later this year.  LG has promised the unit will be “under $500.”  But at just $99, the Roku will be hard to pass up given that you’ll be getting the full Starz selection (Starz usually costs $12 per month on cable or satellite).

The biggest winners in this deal may be Roku and LG.  You have to believe there were some high-fives in their hallways when they learned that Netflix had inked this deal.

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