Cracking Open the Roku Netflix Player
The ""="" href="http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer/">Roku Netflix Player is a small set top box that delivers streaming video over the Internet into your living room in a manner so easy even your grandparents could understand it.
The Roku Netflix Player is notably small.
The Player arrives with basic RCA video and audio cables. One of the few disappointments with the device is that you have to buy better connecting cables separately. I prefer HDMI myself.
Yeah, you have to add another remote to your ever-growing collection. Would someone invent a true universal remote already. I think a unifying theory of physics is actually closer to a reality at this point.
There are no moving parts on the Roku Netflix Player - which helps keep the cost down. There are air vents to release whatever heat is generated.
You have your choice of connections to your television. I think every conceivable connection is covered.
At first glance, there are no screws or other locking mechanisms visible. But I had seen this trick before -- there are hidden screws under these rubber stoppers.
After removing the two hidden screws I was hoping the bottom of the case would separate easily. Unfortunately, the device is held together with tabs. Two on each side and three along the front panel.
When tabs hold a case together, you just have to have faith that each tab can handle the stress of being separated from their locking notch. With steady force the Roku device pulled apart with a crack. A quick inspection revealed no broken tabs.
The circuit board is red not green. Not much to see from this angle -- except two chips.
The two chips on the under side are RAM chips, which buffer the streaming video to prevent pauses and lost frames. The Netflix Player has yet to have any of those glitches while I have been using it -- these chips are doing their job.
After removing an anchor screw in the back of the unit I could remove the entire circuit board.
The first thing you notice is the large CPU in the center of the board. It is made by NXP Semiconductors, which is affiliated with Phillips, the large consumer electronics conglomerate.
Next to the CPU from NXP Semiconductors is another memory chip from Samsung.
One other major feature we can see is the daughter circuit board that holds the wireless chip set.
Do you have a different opinion?
Nexperia is the brand name of the chip set made by NXP Semiconductors.
After publication, representatives from Roku contacted us for clarification on this image. According to those representatives, the addition of HD support will be accomplished through software -- no new hardware will be required. The connections here were for development purposes only. Thank you for the update, good information to know.
I am impressed by the sturdiness of this small circuit board. Even with all of those connections, the Roku Netflix Player feels solid. With normal use, the device should last a long time.
The wireless chips were provided by Atheros -- this is a chip maker we have not come across in our Cracking Opens before. The wireless connection worked flawlessly with my Netgear router at home so they must know what they are doing.
After putting the unit back together, I took it home to test it -- it still works great. I may "forget" to bring it back to the office for a few weeks too.