Roku 2 Review
Roku is a streaming player that makes it easy to access movies, TV shows, sports, music, and even games through the Internet right on your TV. Roku offers several products, but they are all variations of a box that connects to your TV and Internet connection to offer content from an ever-growing source of online content providers that they refer to as channels. Most channels are free, but there all also many subscription based channels such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. If you are already a subscriber, you can use Roku to access your account right on your TV. If not, you can pay the content provider for a subscription (Roku doesn’t charge anything to access paid channels) or stick to the free channels. The $99 version even offers a remote with motion control (similar to the Wii) so that you can play games such as Angry Birds.
It is important to remember that Roku doesn’t provide any content. What you can watch on Roku you could watch on your computer or even on your TV without Roku by connecting your computer to your TV. Roku still provides a valuable service for the one-time cost of a piece of hardware: ease of access. It provides an entertainment hub that’s as easy to access as turning on the TV. It makes all your online media content easily accessible from a central location without having to connect anything or even have a computer nearby.
What We Liked
- Entertainment on-demand: shows on your own schedule without having to remember to set up the DVR
- Pay only for content you actually watch
- Makes it easy to to watch content via Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc. on your TV
- Small and portable
- Affordable & offers centralized access to content (closest thing to a cable box)
- Missing some major content sources such as YouTube (supposed to be coming soon), Hulu (free version), and TV network websites, so can’t access all the content that you can through a web browser
- Roku is compatible with hundreds of content providers. For a full list (it’s constantly growing), check out Roku’s online channel store at: http://www.roku.com/roku-channel-store
- Some of the most impressive content providers include: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, NBA, MLB, NHL, UFC, Facebook, Pandora Internet Radio, Disney, and Fox News
- Anyone canceling cable—if you’re canceling cable, odds are you are going to love Roku
- People nervous about the transition away from cable—it makes it easy by collecting your new entertainment content sources in one location much as the cable box did
- Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime subscribers—give yourself a large enough library of content so that you don’t have any trouble finding quality entertainment to watch
- People who want to get the full value from any online subscriptions you already have and it even can work in conjunction with your cable service to give your more on-demand content from channels such as HBO
- Roku costs from $49-$99 depending which of the 4 models you choose (you pay more as you add features and increase picture quality)
- Free shipping is included
- You can access a lot of free content with Roku, but to get the most out of it you’ll want to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and/or Amazon Instant Video
- TV with an HDMI port or the standard definition composite AV cable (the one with the red, white, and yellow jacks–includes most older TVs)
- An Internet connection with a speed of at least 1.2 Mbps
- For all but the most expensive option ($99), you will need an wireless router for your device to be able to access the internet.