Roku set-top boxes coming to the UK

Roku is bringing its set-top boxes to these shores early next year. But can it take on Virgin Media's refreshed TiVo offering?

US tellybox giant Roku is bringing its set-top boxes to the UK early next year, with region-specific channels and maybe even Angry Birds. Couch potatoes rejoice.

It didn't give a specific date when the boxes would be available, just "early 2012" for the UK and Canada, CNET News reports . And going on its success across the pond, it should prove a worthy competitor for Virgin Media's recently refreshed TiVo box .

Roku is doing well in the States due to low prices and exclusive deals: boxes sell for between $60-90 (£40-60); the company offers more than 350 channels of music, video and games; and even inked a deal with Rovio to let you play Angry Birds on your TV through your Roku box. So we should be in for a treat.

Expect UK-specific channels as well as the usual gubbins. It'll be up against Virgin Media's generally well-received TiVo service , which is being updated over the next two weeks. New features on the TiVo include the ability to search BBC iPlayer, simpler typing, and you can record programmes using a brand-new iPad app. There are new parental controls, prohibiting little Johnny watching anything after the watershed, and Express Series Link lets you record a series at one click from the guide, discovery bar, or programme info.

But home cinema addicts have even more reason to be excited: Apple TV may well get an update very soon, if the information change on Amazon is anything to go by. Should prove a nice stop-gap before Apple's standalone TV set is ready -- we're expecting it at the tail end of 2012 or sometime in 2013.

Have you used a Roku box in the US? How did it compare with its UK equivalents? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook or Google+ pages.

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