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Roku £50 set-top box gets iPlayer, goes on sale in UK

The cheap as chips Roku box is now on sale over here, and is rocking iPlayer for catch-up viewing on your TV.

Roku -- a budget set-top box that's big in the US -- is now available for us Brits. And it's rocking BBC iPlayer, the company has just announced.

It's good news, because while the box 'boasts' more than 40 'channels', we can't say we're that bowled over with most of them. Many are merely apps that give you access to a separate web service -- but that may be all you're looking for. Netflix and iPlayer may well be enough, especially at this price. 

Two models are available -- the Roku LT and Roku 2 XS. The LT is the basic model, costing £50, capable of playing 720p HD video, and comes with Wi-Fi. The XS, however, is the meatier of the two. It can play movies at 1080p HD, has Ethernet and USB ports, Bluetooth and you can expand the memory.

You can also play games on the XS, with the RF remote acting as a Wii-style motion control. It comes with Angry Birds to get you started, so you can get flinging on your TV as soon as you unpack. The XS is on sale now for £100, while the LT is listed as coming soon.

It'll pipe Flickr, Facebook, Vimeo and other online services to your TV, although not YouTube yet, which is odd. We'll have to wait for a full test to see if it can match up to Apple TV and Virgin Media's TiVo offering, but we wouldn't expect it to -- it's not able to stream files from your PC. Our colleagues at gave the US version four stars in their review, but we'll reserve judgement until we've seen the box in Blighty.

Of course, Apple looks set to change the televisual landscape with its own standalone TV. It's rumoured to come running iOS, the same software as Apple's iPad and iPhone, and let you download apps from the App Store. The controls are what will really set it aside though. Steve Jobs was reported as saying he wanted to "create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," in his biography. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud."

Would you buy a Roku set-top box? How do you think they'll stack up against the competition? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.