Roku starts taking pre-orders in UK, Ireland; hopes to ship by end of month

Roku has begun selling its connected devices in the United Kingdom and Ireland, currently on pre-order only. The Roku LT and the Roku 2 XS are available on Amazon and list at $77 and $154 respectively, and they are expected to start shipping at the end of January. The Roku 2XS is the company's full-featured model. It includes built in Wi-Fi, plays 1080p video (when it's offered by a channel), offers an expandable memory slot plus Bluetooth and has an Ethernet port and USB port. The more limited LT has built in Wi-Fi and tops out at 720p.

The U.K. version of Roku, however, currently has a much thinner content offering that the 350-plus channels available in the United States. The company says its British counterpart currently features 40-plus entertainment channels, including on-demand films and programs from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Crackle (Crackle is currently not available in Ireland); live and on-demand sports from MLB.TV and the UFC. Users also can get music from Classical TV and TuneIn, as well as photos and videos from Facebook and Flickr. Roku has relentlessly added programming in the U.S. market, so it's likely to follow the same course in the United Kingdom, where the BBC and 40D currently are available on other connected devices like Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox.

Roku first announced it intention to expand to expand internationally in November and said it would be expanding its platform to international developers. U.S. offerings include authenticated channels like the Epix movie channel and HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) Instant Video, Pandora radio and other aggregated offerings. The company says it's the leading streaming platform available in the U.S. market, reporting it sold about 1.5 million devices in 2011, triple what it sold in 2010, and was available in about 12,000 stores.

For more:
- see this Roku blog

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