Recently I spent $100 and bought the Roku 2 XS an online streaming Device for TVs. The Roku comes in a few models and seems to be a very popular streaming device along with the Apple TV. It is a small and cute little black box that does wondrous things. It streams Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora and countless other TV/video services. Essentially this is the first small step to replacing your cable box with a streaming device. The little black box is no more than a few inches in length and supports eye comforting full HD picture quality as well as the standard definition with composite. The Roku has both an ethernet port and the ability to stream wirelessly and one more neat feature, a USB port so users can load up music, pictures and videos. It does not support too many video file types but, it’s still a good addition. The Roku also comes with a small and cool looking remote with a motion sensor so users can play some games on their Roku. The remote feels solid and does the job well navigating the clean user-friendly interface.
After a few days of using the Roku XS I have to say I am thoroughly pleased with it, but I still see lots of room for improvement. It has some great services available for free and with memberships like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora, HBO GO and Amazon Instant Video, the main reasons why you would buy a streaming device. Through the Roku channel store users can download other free and premium channels that encompass a wide variety of genres. Cooking, exercising, news, weather, sports and oddly enough a lot of religious channels are just a few of the available channels. While there are a lot of cool channels like the TED talks channel and the Giant Bomb channel it falls short in terms of live content. Most channels I have tried have pre-made videos and audio recordings to check out. For the Roku to truly become a strong alternative to cable boxes it need to have more live 24/7 channels like the free Russia Today news Channel. Along with that the picture quality of the channels needs to be improved. Most channels have decent picture quality, but not HD quality like on the Netflix channel. The Roku does have a small gaming library and while it is not a dedicated console it’s a good way to kill some time and play some casual games with friends and family.
Overall the Roku XS is a great product especially if you want to stream any of the big free and subscription-based streaming services. I recommend picking up the Roku XS over the older models since, it supports full 1080p HD and has both an ethernet port and built-in Wifi along with a USB port. It also comes with a remote with motion control and a free copy of Angry Birds that works surprising well and similar to the Nintendo Wii. With new channels being added to the Roku every week and an already robust library of good channels plus the big streaming channels the Roku is a purchase you won’t regret.
+ Lots of channels & Apps
+ Supports games
+ Full 1080p HD
+ Easy Interface & Easy Setup
– Many channels don’t have HD quality
– Most of the best channels require paid subscriptions