Tag Archives: Roku

Quick Review – Roku 2 LT out for only $49

This is probably the cheapest media streamer on the market to date – Roku just released a new member of the Roku 2 family, called Roku 2 LT. The miniature box features all the features of its big (and more expensive brothers) like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, Pandora, Facebook, Tweeter, Revision 3, HBO Go and hundreds of other installable channels but no gaming capabilities (sorry Angry Birds), no Bluetooth and no wired Ethernet, but it does include WiFi. The max resolution is capped at 720p, which is fine of you are limited by the TV anyway. The price? $49 which makes it really budget friendly and no excuse not to add it behind every TV in your house.

Beside the limited resolution, LT is remarkable through its purple case. As we mentioned, the software capability is similar with the rest of Roku 2 family and you can read a full review of Roku 2 XS right here.

Roku 2 XS Review (3100X model)

Yesterday I had the pleasant surprise to find a package in front of my door – the new Roku 2 3100X has arrived. I unpacked it immediately so I can put it to the test – here is the Roku 2 XS review summing my impressions. I also own the previous Roku (review here)  box for more than a year, so I knew what to expect. I knew the software would be similar, so I was mainly interested in the new box responsivity and of course, the new gaming platform Roku just launched.
A bit of history on the side – Roku was the first company to release a dedicated streaming box and they are now at the 3rd generation. While weak for local content, they have arguably the lagest selection of streaming choices with content from Netflix to Vimeo and UFC to FoxNews. Private channels can be added as well to support Plex, YouTube, PlayOn, etc.


Read More…

Roku 2 to ship by the end of July – gets Angry Birds, waving remote and new channels

Thanks to the FCC leaks, we all knew Roku 2 is coming, but we weren’t sure about its capabilities. Today, Roku made Roku 2 official and here are the details: There are still three models similar with the previous product line called Roku 2 HD for $59 that still keeps the same 720p HD limit (it is 2011, Roku, why to you have to artificially add this limit?), Roku 2 XD selling for $79 that upgrades the resolution to the max 1080p and ultimately, Roku 2 XS selling at $99 price point and adds Ethernet and USB ports.

Beside streaming media, Roku figured out the consumer also want some gaming capabilities ($5 range), so they included a 3D capable GPU that should enable some decent gaming, including Angry Birds available at launch (free if you buy Roku 2 XS). There is also a new Bluetooth remote  – Wii style announced that should enable users to interact in a modern way with their new toy. It does come with a hand wrist strap so you won’t put your TV in danger.

While all the models have Bluetooth capability, only the most expensive Roku 2 XS will include the remote in the box, for the other models it is an Read More…

Best Media Streamers / Players 2011 – Top 10

Note: there is a newer Best Media Players / Streamers list for 2012 that will be maintained from now on.

A new year, a new top 10 list that tries to offer a comprehensive view of the top 10 best media streamers for 2011.

If 2010 was a year in which the media streamer boxes sales experienced a big grow and many new web clients launched, in my opinion 2011 is a year of consolidation, partnerships and jump from technologically inclined users to wide adoption. Apple TV is one box that helped the transition due to its simplicity and customer friendlies. Although Apple TV was one of the boxes that took streaming to mainstream, I decided not to include ti in my list due to lack of support for local content and low number of web clients supported.

In terms of pure streaming, Roku deserves to be on the first place due to its excellent implementation of web clients and the support for all important premium clients such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, etc.

Local files support continues to be critical and Boxee Box and Western Digital boxes are among the best in this category (even with their inherent bugs), without stepping into the pro-sumer category like the Dune BD Prime 3.0 media player for example which is in my opinion the best in terms of codec support.

As usual, I’ll update the list as new devices come on the market and I would also appreciate your input / votes as well. Considering that some will prefer a stronger codec support for local media and some will only care about web streaming, this top 10 will obviously not make everybody happy. However, I tried to add as many technical specs as I could so you can perform a side by side comparison.

Read More…

Roku Media Streamers will get HULU Plus, one month of free service

Roku adds HULU Plus support to their really cheap line of media streamers and, combined with the other big announcement we published (HULU slashing their Hulu Plus monthly price to $7.99 from $9.99) should make it easier to get rid of your cable TV service and switch to a far more slicker (and cheaper) Roku set top box. Currently, if we are talking strictly about online content, Roku media streamers are by far the best (and cheapest) on the market offering access to services like YouTube, Netflix, NASA, Flixster, Vimeo, Amazon Video On Demand , Pandora, MLB.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship and now of course, HULU Plus.

There are 3 different members in Roku media streamers line and, while all models support the entire line of online streaming services, there are some other variations to justify the price:

  • Roku HD at $69 (wired and wireless network adapters, 720p streaming)
  • Roku XD at $79 (includes upgraded 1080p streaming support
  • Roku XDS at $99 (features a USB port for local streaming (not supported in firmware yet) and dual-channel 802.11n wireless adapter.)

All three models support HDMI and component outputs for the best video quality.

Update: If you order now one the Roku boxes, you will get one month of free Hulu Plus service!

Netgear Roku XD media player / streamer box launches

You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them and since Netgear doesn’t really have any amazingly successful media streamer box, they partnered with Roku to sell theirs. Is it a move to counter the upcoming Boxee Box from D-Link? Not sure since Boxee box doesn’t look like it will support Netflix, but time will tell.

Anyway, the model Netgear will sell is Roku XD which right now is available at Amazon for $79. Supposedly, the deal will enable Roku to benefit from Netgear’s larger distribution network so soon you’ll see the little box available everywhere from Best Buy, Frys, etc. Do people still buy from brick and mortar stores anymore?

The price, interestingly enough seems to be $10 extra compared with the original Roku XD media streamer box, not sure why and also not sure why you would pay it, but then again, Best Buy for example was never a store dedicated to lower prices…At this range, it is in a direct competition with media streaming boxes that are additionally capable to play the content stored on your home network like Western Digital WD TV Live Plus (Review) capable of playing from network shares and also implementing a DLNA client. Which one would you prefer?

Hulu Plus coming to Roku media streamers this fall

Roku media streamer boxes get better and better and Roku might just see their wish come true and have at least one Roku unit in each house. Today, they announced yet another partnership in media streaming, this time with Hulu. Starting later this fall, the popular $10 streaming service will be available on all Roku boxes, the cheapest one being the Roku HD at $59. All the new Roku boxes include wireless adapters and HDMI output. The cheapest box at $59 outputs 720p, the other ones ($79 and $99) care capable of 1080p playback. You can pre-order them now at Amazon.

Beside Hulu, Roku streams a large number of web services including Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand , Pandora, MLB.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship, etc. Check after the break for the full press release. Read More…

Roku launches new HD, XD, and XDS media streamers

Roku just launched several upgraded streaming boxes as part of their popular media streamers family: Roku models HD, XD, XDS and simultaneously cutting prices as well. First of all, there is no standard definition only model anymore with the cheapest model, Roku HD selling for $59 and containing both wired and wireless network connections and capable of streaming video up to 720p. The next model is Roku XD selling for $79 and includes upgraded 1080p streaming support. Roku’s top of the line media streamer is the $99 Roku XDS which features a USB port for local streaming (not supported in firmware yet) and dual-channel 802.11n wireless adapter. All three models support HDMI and component outputs for the best video quality.

A first in the industry is the inclusion of a buffer that can hold about 10 seconds worth of video. This feature enables a sort of quick skip which might come in handy if you just missed a scene.

Currently Roku is offering the largest selection of media streaming sources among all media streamers manufacturers supporting the most polished Netflix client in the industry and additional clients for Amazon Video on Demand, Flixster, Vimeo, Pandora, Nasa, Flickr, Major League Baseball, Facebook Photos, etc, over 75 channels to choose from. The current capabilities and streaming  offerings position the new Roku boxes above the capabilities of recently announced Apple TV, especially 1080p streaming capabilities. And, in the future, Roku also promised to add DLNA support which will put them also in direct competition with other media streamer boxes as Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD and Viewsonic VMP75.

You can currently pre-order the new Roku media streamers at Amazon and they’ll ship on October 7.

Deal of the Day – Roku player new prices trickles down on Amazon

We announced yesterday that Roku’s intention is to have not one but three Roku players in each US home. To sustain this plan, Roku has slashed prices across their whole line of media players / streamers to fairly low levels. Yesterday, the new prices were only available on Roku’s website but it looks now that the same prices are available on Amazon as well (where you don’t pay taxes  / shipping) and they have really great reviews. Here are the models:

  • Roku HD-XR Player – built in WiFi, outputs in HD 1080p ($99)
  • Roku HD Player – no WiFi, output in HD 720p ($69)
  • Roku SD Player – no WiFi, outputs in SD ($59)

All three Roku players include Netflix client as well as Amazon VOD, Pandora, UFC, MLB.TV, Flickr, FaceBook Photos, Revision 3, NASA TV, etc.

Netflix expands streaming deals with Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM

In a contract that could cost the company a round billion dollars over the next 5 years, Netflix expanded their streaming library to include movies produced by Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate through a deal with EPIX, a paid TV channel. This is certainly good news for the avid NETFLIX consumers (as myself) and the new movies (new for NETFLIX, that is) should be available by September 1st. The movies will be available for instant streaming from Netflix 90 days after their premium pay TV and subscription on demand debuts.

While new content will still not be available on Netflix, the deal will certainly improve the company’s streaming library and add more values to our little streaming boxes. Netflix streaming support is currently available on the three gaming systems (XBOX 360, PS# and Wii) as well as a plethora of dedicated boxes as Roku, Viewsonic VMP75 and Western Digital TV Live Plus, available around $100. Check after the break for the full press release text.

Read More…