We've been in the market for another streaming player for an additional room in our home and were on the verge of purchasing one when we were introduced to Roku. If you are like us, our first thought was... what's a Roku? What I wasn't ready for was something more impressive than I could have ever imagined.
Roku is a small device that streams movies, TV shows, music, and other entertainment to your TV via the Internet. Since Roku streams (rather than downloads) video, you get instant access to a huge library of entertainment without having to store any video files on your computer or hard drive.
Once you set up Roku, you do not need a PC to use it. Roku connects directly to your TV and your high-speed Internet service home using your wireless home network. It then lets you access the streaming entertainment channels that you sign up for (like Netflix) right from your TV, using a handy remote.
- IR remote
- 2 x AAA batteries
- A/V cable
- A/C Power adapter
- Getting Started guide
- 30-day money back guarantee
- 90-day hardware warranty
For the purpose of the this review, we were supplied the Roku 2 XD. Upon it's arrival, admittedly I was extremely skeptical. We have a competitive device in the house (Apple TV) and I wasn't sure how well this new streaming player would live up to our current device. We love the ability to wirelessly stream movies, television shows and more throughout our home.
Right off the bat, we were immediately impressed with many of the Roku 2 XD's technical abilities. First, it gives you access to Netflix, Hulu Plus as well as other pay-for-type of shows/movies through other providers. You can also stream Pandora (which I absolutely LOVE), Disney, HBO, even Facebook, as well as hundreds of other channels, practically free. Some channels charge a very small fee for additional premium features.
If you store movies on your computer and want to access them via your Roku, there is the ability to add your OWN channels. Although it takes a little internet research and tech savvy, it's possible and not really very difficult. Installing the PLEX media server on your computer, then adding the PLEX channel to Roku makes accessing your files super simple.
- Quick performance speed
- Great wireless range
- Amazing picture quality
- Easy to install and operate
- Great interface, colorful menus
- 300+ channels
- HDMI cable not included
- Takes about 20 second seconds to load a show via Netflix
- Also takes another 20 seconds for the picture to fully come clear on the screen
- Show actually froze while on pause and had to unplug to reboot
Roku offers four different products in a variety of prices, but nothing super expensive (and less than it's competitors). The entry level model is just $49.99 and they offer FREE Shipping. The high end model Roku 2 XS features a Bluetooth remote with sensors for motion-based game play, as well as game-ready buttons. Popular games available include the Angry Birds series, PAC-MAN Championship Edition, Galaga, and Storm in a Teacup. In addition, they are continuously improving and growing their game collection.
I have had the opportunity to watch several movies and TV shows as well as listened to music using my Roku 2 XD box and playback has been more than impressive. It always started quickly (less than 30 seconds) and only encountered one small glitch with freezing and had to reboot. Works well with all the channels I have added as well as the channel I have added on my own. The included remote works well to control the box. You can also add an App to your smart device to control the box. I added the Roku App to my iPhone/iPad and device control was even better than with the included remote.
Overall, I'm super pleased with the performance of the Roku 2 XD. This little unit works great. Simple to set up and operate. Picks up my wireless signal with no issues (upstairs and furthest room away). I would recommend this to anyone looking for a streaming player 1080p HD.
Roku products are available on their site or
visit HERE, to find a retailer near you.