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Roku Drops Support for ‘Classic’ Streaming Boxes

Sorry, owners of older Roku boxes: You’ll no longer be getting new channels or updates for “classic” models of the video-streaming devices.

The company in an email notice to customers Wednesday said it is phasing out support for Roku players made between May 2008 and May 2011.

“We have made the difficult decision to no longer launch new streaming channels, update existing channels, push firmware updates, or develop the Roku mobile app for Classic Roku players,” the company said.

Older Roku and Roku-based players that are affected include Roku HD (2000C), Netgear XDS (NTV270), Roku XDS (2100X), Netgear XD (NTV250), Roku XD (2050X, pictured above), Roku HD (N1100) Roku SD (N1050), and Roku HD-XR (N1101 and N1000).

When Roku launched its first product in May 2008, it was the first device able to stream Netflix to TVs. The company has since added more than 2,000 channels available through its platform, but older models provide access to only 1,200 of those.

Roku had the No. 1 selling streaming devices last year in the U.S., with 34% share of units sold, according to Parks Associates estimates. As of Q1 2015, among American broadband households that owned a streaming device, 37% had a Roku, followed by Google Chromecast at 19%, Apple TV at 17% and Amazon Fire TV devices at 14%, per Parks’ research.

The company, in explaining why it was dropping support for its older models, said that streaming technology has evolved “and so have our Roku streaming players.”

“Over time, our channel partners have also chosen to focus their development efforts on the latest generation of Roku streaming players,” it said. The older devices also lack the performance of current-generation streaming players and thus have a more limited channel selection, Roku said.

Roku is offering customers with older models a limited-time 20% discount off retail prices for current Roku 1, 2 or 3 models, which are listed at $49.99, $55.99 and $79.99, respectively.

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