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455 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So tiny, so simple
Why Roku:
I have been looking at getting a Roku for a few months now and when I saw that the Roku 2 had just been released, I figured it was time to take action. I've never owned a streaming video box like the Roku before, but I have a Wii I use to watch Netflix and my parents have an Apple TV that I've watched Netflix and other video on. I was originally planing to...
Published on August 2, 2011 by RavenRing

versus
152 of 168 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simple to use, but doesn't live up to the original
I have an original Roku Netflix player. I swapped it out for this new Roku2 HD, and was sorely disappointed!

Pros:
- It's small. Like really small. About half the size of the original, and a bit bigger than a couple decks of cards.
- Comes with HDMI. Not a bunch of inputs/outputs to confuse unsophisticated users.
- Extremely easy to set up. Head...
Published on October 3, 2011 by Jason Stokes


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455 of 463 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So tiny, so simple, August 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Why Roku:
I have been looking at getting a Roku for a few months now and when I saw that the Roku 2 had just been released, I figured it was time to take action. I've never owned a streaming video box like the Roku before, but I have a Wii I use to watch Netflix and my parents have an Apple TV that I've watched Netflix and other video on. I was originally planing to get an Apple TV, but decided on the Roku for a few reasons. First, the Apple TV requires a HD TV, which I don't have, whereas the Roku can handle both a regular TV and HD (nice if I upgrade :). Second, as much as I love Apple products, I wanted a device that had more streaming selection. Specifically, a device that had a Crunchyroll channel. And finally, the Roku is just the least expensive device of this kind.

Setup:
So I got my Roku yesterday and had it set up in about 10 minutes. It would have been quicker if I had been using a computer instead of an iPad. The Roku itself is TINY. A little taller than the Apple TV, but much smaller around (it fits in the palm of my hand). It comes with an A/V cable, the power cord, a remote, 2 AAA batteries (for the remote), and a very short manual (it doesn't need a long one). To set it up, you plug in the cable and cord, hook it up to the TV and power, then turn on TV and set to the correct input. Like the Apple TV, the Roku doesn't need to be turned on and off, it take so little power in its standby state that you just leave it running. Once the Roku is connected to the TV you have to set up the network connection, which is super easy. Then you have to create an account on Roku.com (this requires a computer), which is where you are required to enter a credit card for any purchases you might make on the device. Once this step is done you pick out some channels to install on your home screen, wait a minute for a software update, and then voila! your Roku is ready for use. (It took me additional 10 minutes to sign in to all of my various accounts for the different channels (3 total), two required a computer, one (Netflix) did not)

Interface:
The interface for the Roku is very simple and easy to use. The channels, channel store, and settings are all presented in a single line across the screen (settings to the very left). It is super easy to install new channels and just as easy to remove them! To remove, go to the channel store and the "Your Channels" row and select the channel you want to remove and go into it. There is a description of the channel and an option to remove. It just takes a second, and you can always reinstall it if you change your mind. Browsing the channels store is a decent experience, but it lacks a search option. It sorts the channels into categories, i.e. Most Popular, Highest Rated, Sports, etc. Each category gets a row you can scroll through. It reminds me of the Wii Netflix interface.
The Roku's interface is much simpler and easier to navigate than both the Wii and the Apple TV. Of course, if you get a ton of channels it might make it a little more difficult to find things.

Watching:
I watched a few episodes of Anime using the Crunchyroll channel (I have a Premium account, so no ads!) and the viewing experience was as good as a DVD, though naturally the scanning isn't as smooth. Scanning brings up a timeline bar which you can track as you go forward or backward, but it doesn't have any video attached to this scan. This means that you have to know exactly how far you want to go. I think this is standard for streaming media, so not a mark against the Roku. UPDATE 10/5/11: Scanning improved! Now, instead of a black screen with no indication of where you are in the video, it has a line of little pictures representing X seconds of video (5 seconds maybe?), so you can see approximately where you are, where you are going, and where you have been! Very handy!
I also tested an episode on Crackle, a free channel that has free movies and TV shows (albeit with lots of ads). Again, the video and audio were great, no glitches or problems, just lots of ads. For a 20 minute episode I saw no less then 4 ads.
I also tried the Pandora channel. I normally use Pandora on my iPad and I like the iPad interface. The Roku Pandora channel was nicely designed and easy to use and the audio was good.

Finally:
I've read reviews on the original Roku about how bad the customer service is, which is part of the reason I bought it from Amazon and not directly from Roku (HD is $10 cheaper on Roku.com, but shipping is around that same amount, so not much savings).
For $70, I think this device is an excellent deal. Admittedly I've only used it for a few hours so far, but those few hours were smooth as silk. It is easy to set up and use and if you buy from Amazon you have at least 30 days to discover problems, which is normally plenty of time for electronics.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

UPDATE 11/13/13:
I've had the Roku for over 2 years now and watched over 200 hours of video on it. Have had a couple of minor issues with lines through the video (this has happened maybe 10 times), but not really bothersome and probably a problem with the video stream rather than the device. Anyway, I still love my Roku!
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roku Rocks! And still Does!!!! 12-31-2011 Update, July 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Bye Bye Cable! Just got my first Roku Box today, although we have been streaming TV (PS3 and Wii) for awhile now. I linked my Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus accounts to the box in a matter of minutes. Set up was easy and the free content is excellent! The box itself is tiny you dont even notice it next to the TV. We dumped our cable provider a few months ago and got by with just streaming through the Wii and PS3, but with the Roku Boxes there is a TON more content and I dont really care for the Wii platform/dashboard. The box is about 25 feet away from my wireless router and signal is full. Im very happy with this purchase and will be ordering 2-3 more for the rest of the TVs in the house.

*******UPDATE*******
12-31-2011
I now have 2 of these little boxes one connected to a HD TV and one connected to my old 27 inch CRT TV. I'm just as impressed today as I was when I got my first one back in August. They at Roku have continued to add content both free and paid. I only have one complaint and its not all due to the Roku itself, the live content just isnt there yet, I have NBA Broadband and I gotta tell ya if ya wanna stream on ROKU WAIT!! The NBA has it all messed up and I have yet to be able to watch anything (even tho I'm paying for it.
Please make sure before you buy that you have a good internet service provider (ISP) and a decent wireless router. If you don't have enough bandwidth Roku cannot perform correctly, and there is nothing worse that choppy movies that need to keep reloading!! Rule of thumb 5Mbps absolute minimum some will tell you it will work with as little as 1Mbps, it'll work but barley! Be sure to test your speed at a site like speedtest net to get you download speeds.
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152 of 168 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Simple to use, but doesn't live up to the original, October 3, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have an original Roku Netflix player. I swapped it out for this new Roku2 HD, and was sorely disappointed!

Pros:
- It's small. Like really small. About half the size of the original, and a bit bigger than a couple decks of cards.
- Comes with HDMI. Not a bunch of inputs/outputs to confuse unsophisticated users.
- Extremely easy to set up. Head to the website, and 2 minutes later, you're ready to go.
- Sets up via wireless.

Cons:
- No indicator showing the current picture quality level
- The picture quality was very, very, very poor. I swapped the old and new ones a few times, and consistently got a much, much lower quality and lower bandwidth picture from the new one.

Overall, I can't recommend this due to the picture quality issues. This unit uses dynamic bandwidth, so I couldn't determine if it was messed up due to this unit's design, or if it was just drawing poor bandwidth. An item like this is pointless if every picture looks like circa 1987 picture quality on an old, beaten up VHS.

Update: 12/3/2011 - in response to several comments, I've used this back to back with the original Roku Netflix player. The original has the bandwidth for the highest quality every single time. This one, as stated, doesn't show the current picture quality level with an indicator, and consistently looks much more pixellated, artifact filled, and lower quality than my original box from ~2-3 years ago. I still can't recommend this new version.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Streamlined, August 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Having tried a few makeshift el-cheapo methods of watching streaming TV, we finally got tired of the patchwork of cables and remotes.

We considered the Logitech Revue (Google TV), AppleTV, and Roku. Roku not only seemed to have the widest selection (although Logitech Revue theoretically has the whole web, Hulu and the major TV networks have blocked their access on it), but Roku is also the simplest. I love simple.

The Roku arrived a day and a half after I ordered it and once I opened the box, it took about fifteen minutes to have it up and running. If you are going to connect it to an HDTV, you have to buy the HDMI cable separately. Fortunately, I already had a cable, but they really ought to include one. The old-fashioned red, yellow, white audio/video cable is included.

The Roku box is really light and small, about an inch tall and three or so inches square. The remote is about half the size of a standard remote and only has a few buttons. Batteries are included.

So far we've watched Amazon prime videos without any problem at all, as well as the BBC news. Looked just like watching TV.

On the downside YouTube is not available as a Roku channel. It seems like that should be a basic option, but it isn't.

It's possible to get a lot of content that is not available via the Roku Channel Store. Just go online and search for Roku and Private Channels. Most of the private channels are the equivalent of video podcasts, such as Washington Week on PBS and the TED talks. I would like to see more streaming content, and it's likely that channels will come and go, just like real TV.

Most of the content is free, some costs a token amount like $2 a year, and some, like Netflix and HuluPlus are around $8 a month.

We're happy with Roku so far and glad we didn't opt for the more complicated devices.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Device, Bad Account Policy, November 27, 2011
By 
Mark Unterberg (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
I've enjoyed Netflix's streaming service for a while and it's really my only paid entertainment service these days. Even with a zillion channels I can rarely find anything worth watching on cable TV...Kardashians, Jersey Shore, God help us. Even after Netflix upped it's price and separated it's services, I think $8/mo for just streaming is a great value. The other TV shows I do like can otherwise be found on the internet if I look hard enough. So, I bought the same Netflix service for my 86 year-old mom and the Roku2 to provide access. What I liked most about the Roku is that the remote is as simple and basic as possible, which means my mom can actually learn to use it unlike other tech devices which are too confusing for her. (She's not senile, she's just like a lot of older folks who are overwhelmed by the number of tiny buttons it takes to do anything. My lucid 86 year-old dad is a retired rocket scientist and I still haven't been able to teach him to cut and paste!). As it is, my mom's TV has 4 remotes- TV, cable box, dvd player and now the Roku. The Roku remote has a 4-arrow navigation and 'select' button, 'back, 'home', 'play-pause', 'forward', 'reverse' ...that's it...simple. If you already have a wireless router then hooking up the Roku to your TV is as simple as it claims. It'll find your network and after you enter your router password you are about done. But you have to go back to your computer and create an account with Roku, which is totally understandable. What I didn't like is that even though the account is free, they require you to provide credit card info 'just in case' you want to purchase some other product (pay-per-view, merchandise, etc.) and there doesn't seem to be a way to opt out of this. Not really a biggee, but I don't think it should be required. Once installed it's easy to access Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, Crackle and other online services. For Netflix, my advice is to select movies to place in your queue on the computer as it easier to navigate, so selecting them from your TV is faster.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pays for itself many times over., August 9, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
WE love our little ROKU player! Since we have it hooked up to our NETFLIX account and AMAZON instant Videos we have all the new movies from Amazon, and all the not so movies from Netflix. But the cool thing with Netflix is the TV series watching. See an episode of Monk on TV thought it was pretty good? Watch the entire seriesMonk: The Complete Series on Netflix for the cost of your $7.99 membership, you can skip buying a couple hundred dollars worth of DVDs Which is what my wife did. Want to see all of Buffy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete Series or Highlander Highlander - The Complete Series (Seasons 1-6), or Spartacus? Spartacus: Gods of the Arenaall included. For the small set up price of buying a ROKU you are dialed in to hours of television, where there is always something good to watch! What if you don't want to spend money on rentals from Amazon, or have a Netflix account? There are many other channels available on ROKU and some like "Crackle" offer movies for free!

The only investment you have to make is you have to have a wireless router to use anything but the top end ROKU. And as we have found, it is better to have a high end router such as Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router WNDR3700 which has improved signal both to the ROKU and around the house.
Another cool little thing is your android phone can get an app for under $2 that puts a ROKU remote right on your phone! I never lose that remote!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best electronic purchase of the year, August 21, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
I've had my roku for 3 months now. Left expensive satellite behind and have not looked back. This device has exceeded my expectations. And the price is so affordable, I now intend to give them as birthday gifts for friends. With Netflix and my amazon prime, I no longer need to worry that "there's nothing on to watch". Amazon recently put all the different Star Trek series online, so that alone will keep me busy using the Roku for the next six months.

PROS: easy setup, small footprint, super easy to navigate. Lots of free content.

CONS: I honestly can't think of any. It works flawlessly.

I have this hooked up to my projector, and I enjoy all the content on a big 100" screen. I also like being able to play my own video content from a USB flash drive on the Roku.

For less than $100, it will be the best investment in home entertainment you make.

ONE YEAR UPDATE: Still loving my Roku. Have not missed satellite, at all, and have saved a ton of money in that year's time. I love being able to get news channels from abroad (and practice my German at the same time). Just finished watching the Walking Dead on Amazon with my Roku connected to a projector. Probably the single best electronic purchase I've ever made, but certainly in the top 3.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of punch packed into a tiny device if you are down with a 720p or RCA option only., September 21, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Roku 2 does exactly what you would expect from a device designed to allow you to pick up streaming online services such as Netflix and Hulu. What it also does is open to the door for those who have not yet migrated to an HDTV and are still using a CRT or wish to add an extra streaming device to say a small kitchen set without the need to run any cables to a router since it has built in WIFI.

Lets start with it's arrival. The package was so small it took me by surprise as I was not expecting a unit so tiny. That makes it extremely easy for any size living household to fit and wonderful in that it's not intrusive and can almost be hidden from view. It pretty much fits in the palm of your hand. So what else is in the box? A power cable of course, small remote control, two batteries and an RCA cable hook up for CRT TVs. An HDMI cable is not included but can easily be picked up for a penny (yes and it works) on Amazon from various vendors with shipping of course.

Instructions are simple and clear. This is a plug and play unit and when you turn it on for the first time it pretty much will guide you through the process. One thing to be very clear on though before you purchase is that you must have a PC or another means to connect to the internet to set this up as it does require both a registration, credit or paypal (you will not be charged. It's needed if you decide to order additional content from Roku 2, but one or the other is required to set up service).

It takes a few mins to get it going but no more then 10 mins of your invested time to start using the Roku 2. Make sure you have a router or you will not be able to use the basic Roku 2 unit. This is very important. You will also need to make sure if you do have a router your provider and equipment are capable of providing a strong enough signal for bandwith as there is no other means to connect this unit to the internet. Only the Roku 2 XS has the Ethernet support for a direct connection.

Content wise there is plenty available surprising enough for free! This was unexpected and a pleasant surprise. So if you are buying this unit to use Netflix, Amazon stream, or Hulu you will delighted to see a decent amount of content accessible that will cost you nothing! There is even a movie service called Crackle which offers a selection of unedited, commercial free movies! Granted only a few of them are worth your time as there were plenty that fall into the straight to DVD or B-movie category but if you love that vibe you won't be disappointed. Besides it's free so no complaining here.

In addition to the free content and subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Stream (the standard bearers right now of streaming content) there are other premium services available that are at a cost. None of them appealed to me to be honest but you can visit the Roku website itself to check out what they are offering up. This is the future IMO of what everyone has been asking for in terms of "ala carte TV" While you won't find things like the History Channel or MTV it's pretty much a glimpse as to what could happen down the road as more people turn off their cable providers for TV and turn onto units like the Roku 2 for their household entertainment needs.

The only thing that I'd say gets a slight mark down was the video quality and available hook ups. It's very important to look at what you are buying before you add this to the cart. While it does support HD, it only supports 720p and only via HDMI. If you are looking for a 1080p unit you will need to go to the next step up of the Roku 2 product (Roku 2 XD or Roku 2 XS) in order go grab that higher end 1080p support. However if your TV is unable to support 1080p it obviously won't even be a concern. The other thing to be mindful of for older HDTV users is that if you do not have an HDMI input on your TV you will have no choice but to use the RCA inputs which will drop the quality level considerably.

Honestly if you only have component inputs on your HDTV you would almost be better off buying a used Wii even if you do not intend to play video games to stream if you are only looking to get this for the purpose of using Netflix. There are cables on the market thought that claim the ability to do HDMI to component but only in rare cases do they work with certain equipment and I was unable to find out if the Roku 2 was such a device so I would not risk it.

So the quick break down

PROS:

Small device
Easy to set up
Wireless WIFI
Offers plenty of content including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Stream
RCA outputs for CRT TV owners

CONS:

HD is ONLY 720p
There is NO component output for older HDTVs
You MUST have a router/WIFI network to use this (no Ethernet option on this model)
A credit card or paypal account is required to use Roku 2 (only charged if you purchase premium content)

All in all I'd say if your TV and entertainment needs meet the requirements of what I have listed here then this is a worthy deal and I recommend!

However, if you are looking for something of better quality in terms of an HD picture then I am going to assume the other Roku 2 units would be the way to go but without having them in my possession to review I can't say for sure so I'd hop over to their product pages and see what other reviewers have said.

And if you are sadly in that middle section of HDTV owners who have only component as your option for HD viewing I again recommend a used Wii if you are only trying to use this for Netflix Streaming.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Streaming!, November 22, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As an Amazon Prime member, this thing ROCKS! Set up was very easy, and this tiny little unit hardly has any footprint in my media cabinet - about the size of the palm of your hand!

After connecting to your wireless network, you will get a 4 or 5 digit code to import into your Roku account online. Shortly after, you'll be connected! After adding Amazon On Demand as a channel, you'll also get another code to pair the device with your Amazon account. You will literally be watching movies in about 5 minutes!

One minor issue I encountered - You must use an HDMI cable to connect the Roku if you want High Def streaming. After connecting the cord, you'll need to go into the Roku settings, select Display Settings, and change it to the HD option. But definitely buy your HDMI cable here on Amazon! It is so much more affordable than your big box stores!

The Roku is just an awesome option for those who love to veg out on a Sunday and watch movies all day - especially with a Prime membership - there are so many movies and TV shows for free! I wish the selection were a bit better, but I'm sure that will come in time!

Also, I have to note, I have my Roku connected via HDMI to my Integra DTR-30.3 receiver. My receiver is hard wired to my cable modem. I have the SLOWEST internet speed possible from my cable provider (I'm cheap), yet I have ZERO problems with buffering.

Happy streaming!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My ROKU 2 HD is TOO good!!, March 6, 2012
By 
David L. Vasser (Albemarle, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
****APRIL 2013 UPDATE TO ORIGINAL MARCH 2012 REVIEW: A year later and going strong. Have about 200 channels loaded up including Amazon Prime which I have really enjoyed a lot as a Prime Member and plan to keep Prime another year. I still love this thing. No problems with it so far. It is now connected to a new HD 720 TV in the bedroom. As much as I like this Roku, I suggest looking at the new ROKU 3 instead of this Roku 2 HD because it is much faster and has really unique features. I am buying a Roku 3 to use in the living room soon. The firmware on my Roku 2 HD has had many updates and works super good but by all accounts the Roku 3 has a 5 times faster processor and runs even better. I'll be getting a ROKU 3 very soon myself. REPEATING: This Roku 2 HD device while still available and a good solution for me is now OUTDATED as the Roku 3 is a huge upgrade in processing power with other added features too like wireless headphones. Additionally since writing the following review at least 200 more channels have been added to ROKU including one of great interest to TIME WARNER CABLE subscribers because you can now use your ROKU to receive your Time Warner Cable service on a TV not wired into the coax network in your home so that you can put a TV wherever you want with no hard wire and get all your Time Warner Cable channels! That Cable TV interface only works so far with TIME WARNER CABLE. Now back to my original review for the Roku 2 HD****

Ordered a ROKU 2 HD with Amazon 2 day shipping on Saturday and it arrived Monday ahead of scheduled delivery time of Wednesday. So I was off to a good start. If you don't play games or need USB or Ethernet jacks then this is possibly the ROKU for you. I'm not a gamer, I have wi-fi and I don't want to watch my personal videos via Roku so this is the one for me. The device itself is small but mighty! Having had it a few days I can say that I absolutely would buy it again.

Here is what you need to make ROKU 2 HD work! 1. A TV with composite video input (Red, White and Yellow) jacks usually located on the back of your television set OR an HDMI input on the TV. If you only have an HDMI input, then you must also buy an HDMI cable which is NOT included so be sure to order one. 2. You need high speed internet service, such as cable or DSL, which is distributed by a WIRELESS NETWORK router. (I have the lowest DSL tier available here through my phone company which is 3mbps and it works fine. When I run tests at speedtest dot net my actual download speed varies from about 1.5 mbps to just over 3 mbps depending on time of day.) 3. The name of your personal network and the password to connect to the wireless network if one is required (and a password SHOULD be required.) 4. An available AC power jack where you can leave it plugged in all the time. 5. A major credit card or debit card that is in either a Mastercard or Visa debit card. You can also use a Paypal account like you buy items on eBay with instead of a debit or credit card in case you are uneasy giving them your debit card information. I used a debit card. 6. An internet connected computer/smart phone/tablet to set up and maintain your ROKU account.

If you don't have those 6 things the ROKU 2 HD is not going to work for you. If you have all 6 then let's go!

Physical installation is simple on an older CRT TV with the included composite (Red, White, Yellow) connectors common on most TV's and only takes a couple of minutes. It is even faster on a newer TV since there is only one plug required if you use an HDMI input however the HDMI cable is not included so you would have to buy a HDMI cable.

After it is connected to one of the composite inputs or to a HDMI input, put the batteries in the remote just like you would to any remote. Next connect the power supply to the ROKU's power in jack and plug in the power supply to an AC outlet. Turn on your television, select the correct INPUT to where you connected it and you should now be seeing the bouncing ROKU logo or it has already booted. Then the next step is to go through the connection process screen so it will connect to your WI-FI (wireless internet device.) Pick your network name from the list of available networks, enter your network password on the keyboard screen and it connects to your network. After it connects you are prompted every step of the way to get it up and running.

Once it is connected, it will offer to install the most popular or what Roku calls "FAVORITE CHANNELS" such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu-Plus. If you are going to use these services now of course you should go ahead and install those channels. In fact, even if you aren't signing up for the paid channels like Hulu-Plus or Netflix now you can still install them and if you ever want to subscribe then they are ready to go with a minimum of fuss. If you are going to use the AMAZON channel you need to link your ROKU to your Amazon account by following the onscreen prompts.

Your next stop after installing favorites should be the on screen CHANNEL STORE where you can install all the free channels of interest to you that you want. If you decide later they are just wasted space you can delete them. The channels are grouped by type. There are so many channels, many of which you have never heard of before, that it helps to have the ROKU website up as it offers brief descriptions of each channel and usually any associated fees in the "WHAT'S ON" page of the site. The Roku website's "What's On" page loads with FAVORITES displayed. On the left of this page is a list of the other categories. Explore the OTHER CATEGORIES to find additional channels to install that appeal to you. Some of these other channels are FREE, some are MONTHLY fee based channels, some are ANNUAL fee based channels and a couple of interesting ones are one time payments of $2 to $3 for lifetime access.

Another good source for channel info is an independent website called ROKU GUIDE DOT COM which offers more in-depth descriptions and unbiased reviews of the channels so you will know more about what to expect from them and any related charges. Additionally be sure to check the ROKU GUIDE DOT COM's "PRIVATE CHANNELS" page. There are several interesting channels you can get there that do not appear in the ROKU Channel Store. Just follow the onscreen instructions to add these private channels. The "NOWHERE TV" channel on the Private Channels page is a very interesting addition that should be in the Channel Store but for some reason it isn't. The Nowhere TV channel features segments of CBS's "THE LATE SHOW" with David Letterman and "THE LATE LATE SHOW" with Craig Ferguson among dozens of other offerings, some of which are audio feeds of complete public radio shows like "A Prairie Home Companion." Also several news feeds and specials are here like "60 Minutes." I enjoy Letterman, Ferguson and Garrison Keillor so "Nowhere TV" was quite a find for me.

The movie channels that are free, $2 to $3 for lifetime access or about that same cost on a per year subscription offer you mostly really old TV series, even older movie serials like "Flash Gordon" or "Green Hornet" and theatrical released films, mainly in black and white. The "Andy Griffith Show" for example. Know up front that you don't get every episode of any of these old TV series, but in most cases a sampling of several episodes. These are mainly films or TV shows that the copyrights have expired upon and yes some of them are actually silent movies! There are also a few channels showing newer films, but I guarantee these are films you never heard of and I have no interest in watching.

If you want to watch newer releases then you will need to use Amazon or Netflix or Vudu or Blockbuster. If you are already an AMAZON PRIME member then you have access to thousands of things including theatrical films and newer TV series at no additional cost on the Amazon channel. The Amazon Prime membership will be my next purchase because of that benefit at a fairly reasonable cost. If you are already an Amazon Prime member then the free programming available to you now makes getting a ROKU a no-brainer since you will already have what is essentially a premium channel at no extra cost. If you are not yet an Amazon Prime Member then you can still link your Amazon account to your ROKU so you can still rent or buy films or TV shows and pay for them through your account. This is appealing to some people who don't want to be running to the Redbox kiosk in the rain or snow.

What you DO NOT get on ROKU that you get on regular cable or even broadcast TV is quite extensive. Therefore I do not consider ROKU a replacement for your current broadcast antenna or cable service. It is an augmentation and it indeed can replace the pricey premium channel content that costs so much extra on cable. I'm keeping my basic broadcast cable.

ROKU does not deliver major broadcast network feeds live or cable channels like HBO or superstations TBS or WGN. No TNT, no AMC either. While there are some news channels, mostly these are more like podcasts as a list of programming comes up and you select the ones you want to watch on demand. There is no Weather Channel but there is Weather Underground which is pretty much the same information if delivered in a less "entertaining" or wordy format.

ROKU is also an excellent streaming music delivery device! There are numerous music delivery channels and all but one I've found is totally free.

I have been a NETFLIX subscriber since they started up. When they had their infamous policy change I cancelled. Now I'm back but only because of ROKU. While the selection of streaming movies on ROKU is sparse compared to the online DVD rental listing, it is still a good value for me.

Here is my ROKU Channel lineup. MOVIES & TV episodes: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, PUB D HUB (I upgraded to the GOLD tier for $2.50 per year but the basic offering is very good), Crackle (has commercials but some good films), Hulu-Plus, Inmoo, Snag Films, Drive-In Classics, Koldcast, MyDamnChannel, House of Horrors, Open Film and Nowhere TV. NEWS: CNBC, ROKU Newscaster, Fox News (9 AM till 3 PM Eastern time only), NBC News, & Wall Street Journal. MUSIC: Pandora, Live 365 and Tune In. COMDEDY: Comedy Time. SPECIAL INTEREST: NASA TV, Spacevidcast and NASA Edge. SPORTS: SEC Digital Network. Even taking the paid services out of the equation it still equals a lot of choices for free. There are special interest channels for everything from cooking to Lacrosse.

My favorite ROKU discoveries so far are the PUB D HUB, KOLDCAST and NOWHERE TV channels. I'd never heard of these before. I'm sure there is more to discover and that new channels will be added. But I don't expect to see HBO, Showtime, Blockbuster or CNN live feeds on there anytime soon.
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Roku 2 HD Streaming Player (Old Model)
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