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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.