Roku's streamlined second-generation Internet set-tops will deliver games to big-screen TVs -- including Angry Birds, the immensely popular game for smartphones -- and the company plans to soon add Epix, Facebook, AOL and FoxNews.com channels available to all Roku users.
The Roku 2 video players, slated to be available before the end of July, are more energy efficient, using less than 2 watts of power, according to the company. The first-generation boxes use 6 watts in peak operation, and 4 watts in standby mode.
In addition, Roku 2 adds several enhancements to Netflix streaming, including support for English subtitles, Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 pass-through and up to 1080p HD video quality (on the XD and XS models).
Roku said it will make additional games available shortly after launch including Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Seasons.
The games are available only on the Roku 2 boxes, but the new channels from Epix -- the joint venture of Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate -- Facebook, AOL and FoxNews.com will be available to the current users of Roku's boxes as well. Roku said it has sold more than 1 million of the first-generation boxes.
Overall, the Roku platform offers almost 300 channels from partners including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Sony's Crackle, NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live, Ultimate Fighting Championship; Pandora, Flickr and Vimeo.
The new Roku 2 boxes are available in three models, each of which include built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for connecting a game remote and a microSD slot to support additional game storage.
The Roku 2 HD player ($59.99 list price) supports up to 720p HD video, while the Roku 2 XD player ($79.99) supports up to 1080p HD video. The Roku 2 XS player ($99.99) includes Angry Birds free of charge and includes the new Roku Game Remote with motion control.
The Roku 2 XS also includes an Ethernet port for a wired Internet connection and a USB port for playing music, videos, and photos off of any USB drive. However, it provides only enough memory for four games; the optional 2-Gigabyte microSD card ($4.99) expands that to 60 games, according to Roku.
For users of the Roku 2 HD and Roku 2 XD players, the game remote will be available as part of a bundle that includes the 2-GB microSD card and Angry Birds for a suggested retail price of $29.99.
The Roku 2 set-tops are expected to be available by the end of July. The devices can be ordered via Roku.com and from retailers including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics and RadioShack.