Review: Roku Digital Video Player

I recently had the opportunity to review the Roku, a digital video player that allows you to watch any of the 12,000+ movies and television shows from Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature right on your television. I’ve been intrigued by this idea for awhile, loving the idea of being able to watch a movie or tv series on the spur of the moment when there are lags between DVDs from my queue and nothing on tv (we have a very small, inexpensive cable plan so this does happen frequently and we have no movie channels or On Demand options to fall back on).

I was really impressed with the Roku – the set up was so simple, I never even glanced at their instruction manual during set up (but glancing through it afterwards, I did see that the manual was very straight forward and easy to understand). Just connect the box to your internet connection via wireless or wired Ethernet and you are good to go. Literally within minutes of opening the box, we were up and running and watching a movie (Gattaca).

The picture quality and speed were excellent – honestly I can think of nothing to complain about in regards to the Roku, which sells for just $99 and works seamlessly with your current Netflix subscription (meaning that if you have Netflix already, you won’t have to sign up for a subscription) and the movies and tv shows you watch won’t affect your queue or billing at all. And the good news doesn’t end there. You’ll be able to use the Roku with Amazon on Demand in the near future, gaining you access to over 40,000+ movies and tv shows available for purchase or rental.

There are currently a small handful of devices that you can use to watch Netflix’s Watch Instantly shows on your television (including your XBox 360, a TIVO or an internet connected blue ray player) but nothing is as inexpensive as the Roku. For just $99 you’ll have access to all 12,000+ shows available on Netflix and all 40,000+ shows soon to be available on Amazon on Demand. I think that’s quite a bargain, especially considering the excellent quality of the device.

Have you tried the Roku yet? What did you think of this digital video player?


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