What is Roku?

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Roku Review: Supports Netflix, Hulu and More

 

 

 

 

Most of us know that the Roku (and now the Roku – 3) is a small black box that allows you to instantly stream your favorite TV shows and movies to your TV, but most are unaware of how much content is really available. Not only can you stream tens of thousands of movies and TV shows from services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, & Amazon Video On Demand (VOD), but you can also stream sporting events and music from Pandora, iTunes, and MOG.

Roku Channels

Netflix Instant Streaming on the Roku offers an impressive library of new, classic and obscure movies and television shows. You can also purchase content from Amazon for more current television shows. To learn more read Amazon Video on Demand. And what recently made the Roku the streaming box to beat, was the inclusion of Hulu Plus and its practically bottomless archive of movies and TV shows.

Sports fans were also taken into consideration with the integration of  services like MLB.tv, where you can watch out-of-market games live or on demand, and local games shortly after they have ended. The Roku also offers a UFC channel with live and archived fights. Plus there is the Roku Newscaster, which combines into one offering – several different channels like CNN, NBC, ESPN, Fox, NPR and the BBC.

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Here is a full list of all the Roku Channels available

 

Roku Technical Requirements

With Wi-Fi and the High Definition playback, the Roku Player is probably the easiest way to stream movies and TV shows directly to your TV. To get the most out of your Roku, all you need is a high speed Internet connection, a TV and most importantly, the Roku Player. Your Internet connection must at least be 1.5Mbps, but if you’re a big fan of live sports events or high definition movies, it should be at least 3 or 5Mbps. To test the speed of your connection click here (Visualware). Standard AV cables come with the package but if you have an HDTV, it’s highly recommended that you buy an extra HDMI cable.

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There are 4 versions of the Roku (LT, HD, XD, & XS) and they all work with virtually any TV, offer 720p high-definition, have built-in wireless and a wired connectors, and provide a HDMI video output for HDTVs. The Roku XD offers everything previously discussed, plus 1080p high-definition, an enhanced remote, and an extended-range wireless N card. Finally there is the XS, which is another step up from the XD and if offers dual-band wireless technology, optical audio outputs, and a USB port for playing stored photos, music, and videos. The basic Roku offers free HD streaming (minus the cost of channel add-ons like Netflix) and costs ~$60 , which increases by $20 increments for each subsequent version. Roku is so confident that you will love their product, that they offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

 

Update: Roku 3 was just released

Roku just released the Roku 3, which offers some new hardware and a much needed refreshed user interface.  Roku 3 costs $120 (check Amazon Reviews) is now the number one Roku on the market.  Here’s a quick rundown of the specs and what’s new: faster processor, dual band wireless, HDMI only ports, 7.1 Audio Support, WiFi direct remote with headphone jack, and of course – a newer cleaner, user friendly user interface.

 

Roku vs Boxee: Boxee is cheaper version of Google TV that can play back every file type imaginable, as well as stream internet videos through its browser + Flash player setup. In reality, it only does one of those things well; it is “Good at one thing, bad at everything else“. Boxee can handle any random video file you throw at it. It is a fantastic box for playing back downloaded video, and most likely the most robust file streamer out there. But there is no Hulu access (as of now),  so what you are left with Netflix and a mish-mash of random internet videos. Plus the Boxee costs 2 times as much as the Roku – priced at around $200.  Unless you torrent a lot of shows and movies and need one box to play back all the various formats, this box is not for you.


Looking to buy a Roku?

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Now that the $10-a-month Hulu Plus service has launched, the Roku makes a compelling alternative to traditional cable or satellite. You’ll miss out on some content from standard cable channels and live sports, but the combined $19 cost for a Netflix and Hulu subscription is hard to ignore HD without cable when you look at your cable bill.

 

“15-20 % of Roku owners are cancelling their cable or satellite services agreement and are relying solely on a broadband connection to get their television programming,” said company VP Jim Funk in this exclusive interview with Beet.TV.

To learn more about other Streaming Video Devices check out Product Reviews Page

 

 

Similar Posts:

HD Without Cable – Using a Simple Indoor Antenna - Over-the-Air TV Stations for Free!

Amazon Video on Demand – Or is it Amazon Instant Video?

Hulu and Netflix are the Future of TV

Educational Cartoons with Netflix


 

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged. Cheers!

p.s. If you really enjoyed this post, please consider helping me out and spreading the word below! Thanks!

 

 

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  • Pat Bushey

    I had never heard of Roku until today so I do not know much about it, but the little bit I read would leave me to believe that since I have satellite internet (the only thing available where I live) with a download limit per day that this option is not going to work for our house as even short video’s use up our download limit and put us over our limit. Is this correct?

    • http://www.killthecablebill.com admin

      Hi Pat
      Yes I believe you are absolutely right. The Roku (like all the other Video Streaming Devices out there) is built to stream data from a standard Internet connection; and with a download limit – it is probably not going to work very well for your situation. Have you looked into OTA (Over-the-air) broadcasting? An indoor Antenna only takes 5 minutes to plugin and you’ll gain access to local television shows and several HD Major Network TV Stations – such as NBC, CBS, ABC & FOX. To determine if this is a good solution check out my blog at: http://www.killthecablebill.com/hd-without-cable/

  • Chevonne T

    is this available in uk?

  • Thomasp48

    The article says you need at least 1.5Mbps. If this is the only speed you can get, is Roku still worth buying?

    • Anonymous

      I think so, but it really depends on what type of content you are looking to watch. If you want to watch Blu-ray from time to time (for example) then the Roku would not work. Your best bet is to get a PS3 IMO. If you are looking for best video streamer out there, like Netflix, and dont need any of the other bells and whistles… then YES the Roku is the best product out there for the money. If you have not already, you should read “What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Video Streaming Device” http://www.killthecablebill.com/product-reviews/#comment-374391279

      This article will give you a great overview of all the different options out there, and what will work best for your particular needs.. Good Luck. and please check back in and let us know what you decide on.

  • Djrpub

    just heard of this device and very intersted as R some of my family and friends. It sounds like I would just keep my internet conection and cancell my tv service. Is his true? How would I watch my local TV stations?

    • Anonymous

      The Roku wont allow you to watch local TV stations (yet), so for this I suggest you look into buying an Indoor Antenna. For more details read: “HD Without Cable – Using a Simple Indoor Antenna” http://www.killthecablebill.com/hd-without-cable/

  • Jenningsplace

    We got rid of our cable tv, but kept our cable internet and are currently watching programs through our pc. We don’t watch much tv, so paying the high cable bill just didn’t justify keeping it. I found out about Roku about a month ago & it sounds like that would work better for us. We already have internet in our office, but would need access in our living room & bedroom. Would getting it in these rooms cost extra or would they just run extra cables in these rooms under our existing account or would it be better to have wireless cable added. Just trying to figure out what all we would need to do to get Roku set up the cheapest way possible. Thanks.

    • Bali1228

      I stream through my wii, xbox 360, and a Roku xs. The Roku accesses our internet through our existing wifi (although you can run an ethernet cable to it). Also, it can be moved from TV to TV ( I don’t, because I have my game systems hooked up to the other TV’s), so I would suggest buying the top model Roku and moving it to whatever set you’re viewing if you don’t watch much TV, and if you don’t have one already, buying a good quality wireless router. Also, you need the correct input/outputs to hook it to the TV, and an HDMI cable is preferable (it’s not included), but a regular AV cable will do.

      I can’t give any direction regarding channel selection, as I haven’t had much of a chance to really fiddle around with it. I already had an existing Netflix account, and my husband and I are considering either Hulu Plus, or Playon accounts. I don’t like that many of the free channels in Roku’s channel store are mostly clips, but again, I haven’t had a chance to check out any private channels like Nowheremantv.com. If anyone else has any suggestions for viewing, I would appreciate it, and I hope this helps you OP.

    • Anonymous

      I stream through my wii, xbox 360, and a Roku xs. The Roku accesses our internet through our existing wifi (although you can run an ethernet cable to it). Also, it can be moved from TV to TV ( I don’t, because I have my game systems hooked up to the other TV’s), so I would suggest buying the top model Roku and moving it to whatever set you’re viewing if you don’t watch much TV, and if you don’t have one already, buying a good quality wireless router. Also, you need the correct input/outputs to hook it to the TV, and an HDMI cable is preferable (it’s not included), but a regular AV cable will do.

      I can’t give any direction regarding channel selection, as I haven’t had much of a chance to really fiddle around with it. I already had an existing Netflix account, and my husband and I are considering either Hulu Plus, or Playon accounts. I don’t like that many of the free channels in Roku’s channel store are mostly clips, but again, I haven’t had a chance to check out any private channels like Nowheremantv.com. If anyone else has any suggestions for viewing, I would appreciate it, and I hope this helps you OP.

  • Mcdlane

    Would it be worth it do do away with Directv? Also, would I need to have separate add-ons for each Roku in each room?

  • Mcdlane

    Would it be worth it do do away with Directv? Also, would I need to have separate add-ons for each Roku in each room?

  • http://twitter.com/getmoviestream Eric Roos

    Absolutely love my Roku 2xs. Although I am now addicted to Angry Birds. For the money Roku is the way to go. Indoor antenna will get you your local stations and there are plenty of free television streaming sites and subscription based streaming sites for new episodes of your favorite shows that will save you a lot of money each month over cable or dish. I think Roku has over 350 channels now.Best part is you don’t pay for what you don’t watch!

    • http://www.killthecablebill.com/ KTCB

      Yes Roku is awesome. What are some of your favorite Roku Channels?

  • Bdukes

    I have laptop brand new, and an old LG 420 that keep detecting through Bluetooth ROKU. I don’t know if they are finding it through my Smart TV or my Smart Blue Ray Player and I don’t know how to get ROKU to talk back. The TV and Blue Ray come with Netflix, Hulu, Face Book etc. How can I find out where ROKU is and who the comp and old phone are trying to connect to. I don’t have ROKU as a separate item anywhere that I am aware of

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1568582909 Rick Bauer

    I just purchased one the other day as I ween myself off cable (gotta let the contract expire). It is excellent and have found myself watching it more than the cable.

    There is a lot of junk on there, and by that I mean channels that show movies and tv shows in poorer picture quality and throw commercials in at the wrong time. I guess they want to aggravate me enough to order the PPV for a buck. That’s not going to happen.

  • Hoops and Horses

    The video for the Roku device embedded into YouTube has been removed because of multiple third party violations.

    • http://www.killthecablebill.com/ KTCB

      Thanks for the note Hoops and Horses. Do you mean that Youtube is not working on your Roku? And has the problem been fixed yet?

      • Hoops and Horses

        No, I meant the video on this site.

  • Min Mack

    What are the spectrum of channels the you can watch? Is there a channel lineup somewhere I can find online?