Roku adds HBO Go and announces cheapest streaming player yet

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Streaming media maker Roku really wants you to have one of its tiny boxes underneath your TV. They have a Roku model for just about every budget, from the top of the line Roku 2 XS for $99.99 to the modestly priced Roku 2 HD for $59.99.

But what if $60 is still too much? Roku understands that the economy is in the toilet and times are tough, I guess, because now they're coming out with an even cheaper model, the Roku LT, which is going to launch for $49.99.

So what's the catch? You must be giving up something, right? Well yes. There's no Bluetooth in this model, which means you can't add the fancy Roku motion controller that supports gaming on the device. There's also no microSD slot (used for storing games and extra channels). And as with the $59.99 Roku 2 HD, output is limited to 720P with the Roku LT.

I'm a big fan of Roku (I have the Roku 2 XS as well as the original Roku player from back when the series launched) since I use a lot of streaming media services. Roku is the only set-top device I own that can bring Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Video on Demand to my big screen. Just to be clear, this is just a small subset of the channels avaialable on Roku; they have hundreds of channels supporting all kinds of streaming video, streaming music services and video podcasts.

And soon they're adding HBO Go. That means over 1,400 pieces of content from the premium cable channel. Now, as with HBO Go on the PC or iPad, you're going to need to be an HBO subscriber through a supporting cable provider to access this; that's just the way HBO Go works. As a fairly recent convert to HBO, I'm looking forward to catching up on all the shows I missed.

We don't have a date for when HBO Go is launching. I've reached out to Roku in hopes of getting a specific timeline but haven't heard from them yet. If I do I'll update this post. For now the best I can tell you is "Later this month" (according to the Roku Blog).

The Roku LT should be in stores by next month and if all goes as planned HBO Go should be available by then as well.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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