Roku, a set-top streaming player, officially launches in Canada today and is available to pre-order for April 30. Canada is the latest country in Roku's plans of global domination, which began with sales in the U.K. starting earlier this year.
Canadians have the choice between Roku's two highest-end devices, the Roku 2 XD and the Roku 2 XS. Both give access to 100 entertainment channels at launch, the Financial Post reports, with the intention to increase the number of channels over time, like they have in the U.S. Currently, Roku users in the U.S have access to more than 450 channels of content.
Channels include content like movies and TV shows from Netflix and Crackle, sports content from the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, music from Rdio and TuneIn Radio, photos and video from Facebook and Flickr, news content and casual games like Angry Birds, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, the press release says. Roku works in conjunction with your current subscriptions to services like Netflix and Rdio.
Those games will only be available on the top-end model, the XS, and it comes with a 'gaming remote,' which looks quite similar to Nintendo's Wiimote in regards to its button placement.
Both models include built-in WiFi and can support high-definition video up to 1080p.
While not necessarily as well known as Apple TV here in Canada, Roku has made a splash in the U.S., providing content streaming from a device that costs significantly less than its competitors. Unlike Apple TV, it streams content directly from the Internet (instead of from your own media library, which is what Apple TV does). There are a number of devices that can do this, like the Boxee Box, but Roku's vast library and integration of games makes it an option worth considering. The Boxee Box costs about $190, and Apple TV costs about the same as the Roku at around $110 (or slightly more, depending on the Roku model).
The Roku devices are currently available to pre-order online through Amazon.ca and LondonDrugs.com. The Roku 2 XD retails for $89.99 and the XS will run you $109.99.
(Image from amazon.ca)