Friday, January 09, 2009


Netflix player by Roku

I'm really not trying to turn this into a consumer blog, but it seems that lately I've had to deal with products new to me and so in turn I get to weigh in with my opinion.

Today's product is the Netflix player by Roku. As a Netflix subscriber I get to view streaming movies on my computer for no additional cost and now with the Netflix player by Roku I can stream them from my internet connection directly to my TV, or in this case through my DVD player, making Netflix a far more attractive and affordable option than premium services like HBO, Showtime or Starz through Dish Network. For $8.99 a month I can watch all I can stand in addition to the two DVD's at a time I get in the mail and, best of all, I get to pick the movies from, according to Netflix, 12000 titles.

I didn't count them.

The Roku box itself is nothing short of amazing. It's about the size of a router and has outputs for HDMI, S-Video and the standard RCA jacks. It operates either on wired or 802.11g wireless networks. The setup allows you to choose HD, Standard 4:3 or 16:9 Widescreen TV outputs. All for $99.99 and no extra monthly fee. Are you listening Dish Network? Outstanding.

The FedEx guy dropped this neat little gadget at my doorstep this morning and about 20 minutes later, including having to find the SSID for my network, two unrelated telephone calls and logging on to Netflix for the activation, the Roku was installed, updated, up and running with absolutely no hitches. It came with a large, easy-to-read installation guide that walked me through the process step-by-step. It couldn't have been easier.

After the debacle with the magicJack installation, I was absolutely thrilled with the ease of the installation. Hallelujah! Somebody got it right!

I had loaded a couple of movies into the queue in anticipation of the Roku players's arrival and settled down to watch "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" with my lunch. The player automatically adjusted for changes in video quality - a minor annoyance while in the process and I would like to find out if the problem is in the wireless network or the internet connection or Netflix. Still, I couldn't be more pleased with the product.

Roku promises more entertainment channels for the player beginning early in 2009. If they are to be anywhere near as good as the Netflix channel, I can't wait. I normally like to live with a product for a while before I praise it, but really this Netflix player by Roku is that good. Highly recommended.

Update: Coming soon to a Roku player near you - video on demand. $.99 for back catalogue titles to $3.99 for new releases. It just gets better.

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