Roku HD Streaming Media Player Review

The Roku Player originally appeared as “Netflix Player” in 2008. Now, it is a family of players that offers much more than Netflix.

The Roku HD Player is similar in appearance to other products in its family. Its measurements are 1.75 “x 5.25” x5.25 “. On the back of the device, there are ports for HDMI, S-, component and composite video, and standard analog / optical digital stereo ports. (There is support for surround sound with HDMI and digital audio connections.

The Roku HD player uses your Ethernet or 802.11g Wi-Fi to connect to your network. You can expect smooth operation at 802.11g speeds most of the time, however this is only tested with a wireless router placed close to the device. If you are looking for a faster connection, you should use the wired option or buy the Roku XR box as it has faster 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds.

The remote control is very simple and works quite well. You can also easily program its functions into any good universal remote. If you want to use an iPod Touch / iPhone as a remote control, you can do so via Wi-Fi with the free Rokumote app.

The setup is simple. After starting the box, you can navigate through the simple setup wizard with the remote control. If you are using a secure wireless network, simply enter your security key through the on-screen virtual keyboard.

One negative point about the player is that you have to link channels individually to independent provider accounts through your computer’s web browser.

After setting your favorite channels, you can start enjoying them. Most of the channels have the same general interface. By using the 5-way direction pad on the remote control, you can move between horizontally placed program lists.

Netflix: With a paid subscription, you can choose from around 12,000 movies / TV shows on demand, with some HD content. Use your computer’s web browser to create an instant viewing queue, and then you can view those titles on Roku.

Amazon and MLB TV: Amazon offers more than 40,000 movies / TV shows for sale / rent on demand. These titles can cost you between $ 2 and $ 4 for rentals and between $ 6 and $ 15 for purchases. With the MLB TV paid subscription, you can watch live and prerecorded games; however, it is only available to out-of-area teams.

MobileTribe – This is a paid service that works by aggregating information from different social media accounts that you currently have, including Facebook, Plaxo, and MySpace accounts.

Free services: Pandora, the popular free audio streaming service, is available through the device. Other free services you can access include: Mediafly, which offers professional / amateur audio / video broadcasts; Revision3, a technology-focused video provider; TWiT, similar to Revision3; (free): aggregator and distributor of independent web video programs; FrameChannel, a photo sharing service; Motionbox, a YouTube-like site that allows you to watch your home movies.

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