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on August 2, 2011
I love Roku and the whole Roku experience. It allowed me to "cut the cable" and save a good bit of money each month. It gives me plenty of programming, most of it free. It's also adding new channels all the time, about 360 or so at the moment.

I current own the previous Roku XD 2050x and love it. It's not a perfect product, but it's a darn good one.

This review is on my current purchase, the Roku 2 XD. It's not a perfect product either and it's just been released. It's also not quite ready for prime-time, but almost...

There are some differences between the XD and the Roku 2 XD. Most are good, but I do have two gripes. The original XD had both a wired connection and wireless available. I use wireless, but wired can be handy. When I first received my original XD, it wouldn't properly connect with my router. So, I hooked it up with an ethernet cable, which allowed it to receive a quick update. This update fixed the problem and I haven't had any problems since. The wireless worked great.

Now, the new Roku 2 XD only has a wireless connection. If you want a Roku 2 with an available wired connection, then you have to spend 100.00 to go up to the XS. I think this was a bad move on Roku's part. I have no desire to play games on my Roku and I especially don't like "Angry Birds" which is the main selling point of the XS.

My other gripe is that the new Roku 2 XD no longer has the "rewind/replay" button. This neat little button will give you an instant replay of the past several seconds, allowing you to take a look at a movie scene you might have missed or a sports call you might want to replay.

The original Roku XD had this button, but the new Roku 2 XD doesn't have it. Again, if you want this button, then you have to move up to the higher priced XS. Again, another bad call on the part of Roku in my opinion.

As I mentioned previously, I think they might have rushed this product to market a bit too quickly. The main reason is that there are a few common channels (and popular private channels) that won't run on the new XD, while they run fine on the previous generation. Roku is working on the problem and releasing updates, but still, this shouldn't have happened on the scale that it did. For example, currently, Food Network Nighttime won't play at all and all of the NASA programming will actually crash the Roku and cause it to reboot. When the Roku 2 was first released the problems were worse, but the company has been working to correct it. However, with so many glitches at release, they really should have waited to refine the software before releasing it to the public.

Now, I'll move on to a quick list of Pros and Cons for the Roku 2 XD

Pros: 1. Overall faster performance especially in menus
2. Wireless range and signal seems better than the previous models
3. Better looking menus and color schemes
4. Smaller Roku footprint.

Cons: 1. No wired ethernet port on XD and HD, only on the XS
2. No rewind/recall button on remote of XD and HD, only on the XS
3. Seems to run a little warmer than previous models
4. Too much common content (and some private channels) won't work and can possibly crash/reboot the Roku

Overall, it seems as if it'll be a great product, like the previous models, once they work out the glitches.
I do wish they'd have kept the wired ethernet port on the XD at least, as well as the rewind/recall button.

If you have a previous generation Roku XD, stick with it for at least the next couple of months. Hopefully they'll have corrected the video/streaming problems that are plaguing it currently.
Also, if you need a wired ethernet connection, then either stick with or track down a previous generation XD. Otherwise, if you're willing to spend the extra money on the XS, then do it.
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on August 14, 2011
My favorite quote from the slim setup manual: "Step 3 establishes your network connection and bring out your inner geek. You can do it!" Well, setup is about as easy as it could possibly be and there's really nothing geeky about it. Choose your wifi network name and enter the password. No requirement to choose the encryption standard (WEP, WPA etc) or anything more technical than username and password. You will need a computer to create an account at Roku and associate it with your new box.

Once setup is complete, driving the user interface via a very straightforward IR remote is intuitive. IR is quite directional and you might want to position the Roku box where you most naturally point the remote. This should be easy because the Roku is remarkably small at just a couple of inches square. I think you could velcro the box to the side of a TV if that was convenient to you.

My inner geek is an energy miser! I did my initial testing using a Kill-A-Watt power meter and was delighted to find power consumption runs around 1 to 2 watts even when streaming (I'm compensating for a satellite TV DVR that sucks an outrageous 50-60 watts, 24/7). Great job!

There are dozens of stream feeds preprogrammed into the Roku, most of which appear to be free of charge. Streaming of the most recent NBC newscast looks to be useful. I plan to look around at the others when I get some time. My main intended use for this is to stream video from Netflix. That is working fine and is very similar to my Samsung blueray player and rather faster in operation.

I use an HDMI cable with both a 720p and a 1080p TV and image quality is fine; I didn't try the analog connections. When you order, just remember that no HDMI cable is included; Amazon's own-brand cables work fine and are very economical (there's that miser, again!)

Overall, this is a fine implementation of a streaming video player. Usage is tailored very much to normal people; geeks might want to get their thrills elsewhere!
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on July 30, 2011
We recently bought a Roku XD box (right before Roku 2 came out) and we absolutely love it. Hundreds of free channels from all over the world. Buy Roku once, and -- as long as you have a TV (even an old one, like ours) and an Internet connection -- you have free television shows and movies... lots of them.

See, absolutely anyone can create a channel for Roku and -- as long as they have hosting to meet bandwidth demands -- they can place the channel on Roku, free. (Assuming it meets Roku's quality standards, of course.)

As a result, there are all kinds of great niche channels created by enthusiasts for things like surfing, rock climbing, old-time drive-in movies, etc.

Lately, we've seen a lot of Christian programming added, which makes Roku attractive for many people who want more faith-friendly programs. Menorah TV is also on Roku. And, BYU-TV just added their channel, which means we can see "Dogs with Jobs" every evening... among other cool shows, like genealogy shows, history programs, and sports.

More recreational and fitness programming is arriving, and there are so many (mostly English) channels from Asian countries, they have their own category among the hundreds of Roku channels.

I love watching France24 news and other international news shows, live (and in English). My weather channel is now Roku's feed from Weather Underground... so it's for my exact town instead of the nearest city, complete with fresh-every-five-minutes satellite and radar images.

Though it's only part of what we watch, we have Netflix on our Roku programming. It costs the same as Netflix does on your computer (if you already have Netflix service, you don't pay anything extra), and you can also add things like Hulu Plus and Amazon's streaming programming.

But, except for Netflix, everything else we watch is free. That means, after buying the Roku box (less than a month's cable TV bill), we pay nothing extra for our TV service. It's saving us over $100/month in cable TV bills, with far better programming and crisper images. Most channels have little or no commercial interruptions, too. Almost all of them are on-demand, as well.

We can also access things like Picasa, Pandora, and Facebook via Roku. Lots of options!

The only negative to this -- and we hope this is short-term -- is that there's no closed captioning. (However, the hundreds of anime features on Crackle have subtitles... and that programming is free.) I'm pretty sure the channels and Roku are working on this.

All in all, I have no idea how cable TV will compete with things like Roku. Between the price (free) and the range of great programs we can watch, we will never go back to cable TV.

Roku + an Internet connection + a TV (even an old one) = free TV!
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on December 23, 2011
I researched my options after tiring of the trips to/ from the Redbox blue ray rentals, on-demand, $150 month cable bill, including two DVR's. This is the perfect choice for my family as we do not play games, and have an aversion to Angry Birds. This unit was delivered in two days, and took @ 5 minutes to install. I tried Netflix's 30 day free trial, with ongoing monthly service @ $8 a month. Result? BEYOND IMPRESSED!!!!

This is such an amazing unit, great picture, and love the simplicity of the remote control. This is THE best option for families who want to watch what they want, when they want, without the trouble of renting Blue Rays, DVD's, recording favorite programs on DVR's and anyone can operate, and manage this. We are "Breaking Bad" fan, and wanted to watch the earlier seasons but with my Amazon Prime subscription (well worth it if you order from frequently), the series cost money. There are a lot of free streams you can watch from Amazon.Prime, but with Netflix, all of the "Breaking Bad" seasons are free. I like managing my Netflix on my Mac, with more titles than you can imagine, reviews, Netflix suggestions, adding your movies, and shows to your queue. No fast forwarding through commercials because there are no commercials:)

Great picture, amazing product. I did buy the HDMI cable through and I am more than satisfied with the outstanding picture quality. I was a little concerned that my wireless internet router, which is already at capacity with a VOIP cordless phone system for my home business telephone line, two Macs which print to a Brother MFC laser all in one printer, fax, and scanner, a Canon all in one photo printer, and an HP all in one printer, might result in HDTV interference with Roku. Not so. Perfect, and wish I would have purchased this earlier!

I intend to return one of my DVR boxes, and eliminate some of my cable channels, to reduce my monthly cable bill. Roku is amazing! I would give this 6 stars!
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on January 8, 2012
Peter G McDermott unboxes, reviews, demonstrates and teaches you how to use the Roku 2 XD 1080p high definition (hi-def) set top box for your television. All you need is a TV, power source and Internet connection to get started.
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on August 29, 2011
I've been an avid user and fan of Roku's first generation player since it was first released in 2007. I bought this model to add it to another television in my house. When it first arrived, I was SHOCKED on how tiny it is! The first generation player is already small; this one is about a quarter of the original size! I mainly use this player for Netflix, but also use it for many other applications (40-50 different ones) such as Amazon Video and even Facebook. I have a high-speed Internet connection, able to stream 1080p HD picture.

I don't know why other people have had so much trouble with this player. Setup was complete in less than two minutes: just plug it in and follow the on-screen steps. You definitely need your network password if your wireless is secure. Also, as a new requirement to add channels, you need to create a free account on In order to create an account, Roku requires that you add a credit card on file for any purchases that you make in the channel store. This was not required with the old player. I was not worried at all about this; I do not plan on buying anything from the store so there will be no charges. A 4-digit PIN is required to purchase anything, so there should be no problems with children trying to buy something unauthorized. As an added convenience once you create an account, Roku will upload all the channels that you already have on your old player to your new player. So once I logged into my Roku account from my new player, all of my channels that are on my other player were automatically added. This saved me a lot of time searching for and adding the channels that I wanted.

There are a few obvious changes in this model from the first gen HD player. It's a matter of opinion if these changes are good or bad. I personally think that most of these changes are improvements.

The main changes are:

1. No Ethernet port (available in first gen), wireless is the only internet connection option

2. No Optical Audio Out, S-Video input, or Component input (all available in first gen). The only two options are HDMI (not included) & Composite (included)

3. There is now a Micro SD slot for added memory for anything: pictures, video, games, apps, music (not available in first gen)

4. Immediately I noticed that loading time for Netflix is significantly faster (5-8 seconds from 15-20 seconds), but video begins pixelated (low quality) and quickly buffers itself while playing to 1080p HD in about 10 seconds. What results with this change is no more stopping to reload video if the Internet connection becomes slower. The video will automatically improve if connection improves or decrease in resolution if connection becomes slower.
My only complaint about this feature is that you no longer actually know the picture quality of what is streaming. In the old player, it would say the strength of the wireless signal (when I would stream something HD, it would say HD). Ultimately, this lack of knowing the quality is not really an issue, since everything I've been watching from Netflix that is labeled HD has so far had an exceptional picture quality, even better than the 720p HD first gen. player.

5. The new remote is a little longer and lighter than the first generation remote, but more narrow. In contrast to the first gen. remote, the new one feels a little cheaply made. The first gen. remote is solid and sturdy, while this one feels too light and the plastic feels thin. Also, the up,down,left,right and OK buttons on the new remote are all connected in one pad, unlike the individual, separated buttons on the previous generation remote. In my past experience, remotes that have one solid pad for 5 actions usually have more malfunctions than a remote that has separated buttons for different commands.
For example, when pressing the left button (which is the most commonly pressed button since it is used to scroll through everything on your Roku) on the old remote, there was no possible way to do anything else but press left since it was its own separate button. Now, in the new remote, when pressing left it is possible to accidentally press up or down if you are not pressing the absolute correct section of the pad. Luckily, both remotes work on both players.

6. The size of the player is drastically smaller than the previous generation. I mean TINY. It is so small, that the HDMI cable can lift it up if the cable is not perfectly straight. Conveniently, it can fit almost anywhere since it is only about an inch high and 3 inches wide/deep. (first gen. player was about 2.5 inches high by 5 inches wide/deep)

Overall, I highly recommend this player to anyone with a Netflix account, although there are HUNDREDS of other useful and fun applications that are available besides Netflix. If you don't have a TV with Netflix connectivity already included, this player is an inexpensive way to get the most out of your Netflix subscription. It has completely changed the way my husband and I use our television.
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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2012
I have a Netflix subscription and wanted to be able to stream movies on my TV. I searched for stand-alone devices that allow that, and Roku kept coming up. All I wanted was a Netflix device, so the ability to access other sites (especially free content) was a huge bonus. I bought and downloaded _The Walking Dead_ from Amazon last year, which stored the series in my account. When I connected my Roku to my Amazon account, I could stream the episodes right to my TV. That is awesome. I didn't realize I'd be able to do that. You can also rent movies from Amazon and watch them on the Roku. That is great considering that Red Box doesn't have most of the movies I want to watch, and the only video store (Blockbuster) within 20 minutes of here is going out of business. (Also, let's be honest--I usually spend five bucks per rental on Red Box late fees anyway.)

I haven't even looked at all the free content on the Roku yet; I've just used Amazon, Netflix and Crackle. Crackle is sort of like, in that you don't have to pay, but they stream commercials every so often as you watch. I would love to watch Hulu with this device, but you have to pay for HuluPlus to do that, and I don't want to.

So, there's lots of cool stuff to watch, especially if you pay. But...the problem! Entering text into search boxes is really tedious. It takes forever. I guess you can get remote-control apps for smartphones, but I do not have a smartphone, and, obviously, no smartphone came with my Roku. So I have to take forever typing in titles. Irritating. Fortunately I usually manage my Netflix queue on the internet anyway. The typing was an issue during setup as well, because of all the wireless-key and email-address entering required.

As far as navigating Crackle goes, they may have 170 movies in a certain category, and you have to scroll through them alphabetically from side to side in order to see them all. It could be much better. (You can go to their website and search from your computer, which is probably easier.)

For Netflix, there should be control buttons within the program, so you can turn on/off the captions. I prefer always to have captions on, and you have to exit the program to change the caption setting, which you don't have to do on their website.

I don't like giving Roku my credit-card information when I don't plan to pay them for anything in the future, but I set up the Roku to require a PIN before any purchases are made.

Just to be clear, you do need alternate internet access (through a computer or smartphone) to be able to use the Roku, at least for setup. You have to be able to go to, for one, and you have to register your device through or or the sites of whatever other services you use.

Also, if you share your Netflix with other people, be conscientious. If the last movie you watched was, say, _Diary of a Nymphomaniac_, or like, whatever? It will show up in pride of place on the main screen as the last thing you watched. Which could be embarrassing in certain company.

PS: The remote is really small and really aerodynamic, so you are probably going to lose it a lot. If you are me, at least. It is always in some couch cranny or dropping out of a blanket when you stand up. Unfortunately, without the remote, you can't operate any functions at all (other than turning it unplugging it).
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on July 30, 2011
I purchased the old Roku XD as a gift for my parents last December after going back and forth between Apple TV and the Roku for a while. They love it, so I decided to get one.

Setup was as easy as promised. It's really a no-brainer to set it up. As long as your network is properly setup and the router not 10 rooms away you should have no problem.

I'm a Netflix and Amazon Prime member, so I set both those up (both took a few minutes). Streaming quality is excellent. I get about 20 mbps, but Roku requires much less.

The menu system is easy and intuitive. My only complaint is the alphanumeric entry. I don't understand why QWERTY isn't used. Most people, I think, are more used to that than a straight alphabetic ordering.

There are lots of channels available too; I can't think of a major content provider that doesn't offer service on Roku.

Finally, someone else complained about credit card entry -- even if you don't intend to buy anything. I don't think it's a big deal, but that's me. You need to create a pin, which means purchases won't happen accidentally and children won't run roughshod on your credit card.

All in all, a great product. With this available, I can't understand why anyone plays for cable TV these days.
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on August 1, 2011
Please be advised none of the new Roku2 devices support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless. Although the original Roku devices support 2.4GHz AND 5GHz to provide the option to use 5GHz to help alleviate 2.4GHz interference with other wireless devices in the house, none of the Roku2 boxes provide this option. If you already know you might have 2.4GHz wireless interference issues, you might want to look for any remaining first-generation Roku devices out there instead of this one. Just sayin'.
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on April 20, 2012
Okay, we bought two Rokus--the expensive newer one and the cheap basic one. I have to honestly say, the only thing I like about the more expensive newer version is the remote. Otherwise, I see no real distinct difference between them. (I am using it on a large screen, NON-HD TV. I realize that if we were using an HDTV, the newer one has better high definition). For a non HDTV or when HD doesn't matter to you, I really see no clear difference between the cheaper Roku and the more expensive one.


Now, that said, the Roku 2 has the motion sensing remote control, and it's nice. I like the way the remote is laid out on it better than the original Roku too. The motion sensing remote is fun for playing games. Roku had a special when I purchased it to get the game Angry Birds for free, and we've had a lot of fun playing it with the motion sensing remote. When you turn the remote sideways, it also works in a similar configuration to the controllers for the PlayStation. If you're used to using the PlayStation X, B, A, O buttons and such, along with the location of the start button, etc, then using the Roku remote for those types of games will at least be 'familiar' to you. The motion sensing works, even when the controller is turned sideways. The sensor on it is good, not super sensitive, so you don't have to be in any location or point it directly. It'll work probably from anywhere in the living room or room you're in with the Roku. The Roku also has an app that allows the box to be controlled by your iPhone or iPad or android devices, so I can also control the box from my Kindle Fire, and my daughter uses her iPad all the time to turn Pandora up or down when we're listening to music.


That brings me to the channels. The main channels I use on the Roku is the Hulu Plus, which I do pay about $8 bucks per month for. I don't currently use Netflix (not happy with them at all), and I am an Amazon Prime customer. So for about $180 bucks per year, plus the cost of the Roku box, and I have pretty much all the television, movies, live pause/play/rewind/fast forward, and tons of movies. I was paying $840 per year for Comcast cable ($69.99 per month), along with an additional $15 per month, for a total of over $1000 bucks per year for cable with DVR. The Roku is less than $200. That's a savings of $800 bucks per year, every year.

And the neat thing is, I watch what I want, when I want, can pause, fast forward, rewind, restart, save for later (and it saves the last place you watched in each show for you), and more. Then let's consider the music and games, something some cable providers don't offer and others offer but only at an additional cost. Roku offers several for free, and with Pandora, you get amazing music.

Now, I'll explain what you get with Roku that I was confused about before you buy the box.


That was what I wanted to know and couldn't figure out before I bought the Roku box. Does the Roku cost a monthly subscription fee, or a fee of any kind, after you purchase the box. The answer to that is: Yes and no.

No, the Roku doesn't require you to pay for any services after you get the box. Many of the channels on the Roku are completely free. You can get news, weather, shorts, information videos, movies (new releases and a bunch of older movies you've missed!), a station my son and daughter love called CrunchyRoll, which shows anime shows, and music and even some free games. But... if you want to watch the shows that are current on television right now, you'll need to add some subscription services. For example, the two most popular are probably Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. I subscribe to both. Netflix is another really popular choice, and it's streaming service is currently about $8 per month too. You don't HAVE to buy these services, but your experience with the Roku is better if you have them, and it's more like enhanced regular television. There are other specialty channels you can purchase too, some for .99 cents per month, some a one-time fee, some a few bucks per month. They channel itself sets the price.

Some movies aren't available on the free channels, so you have to purchase or rent them. This is true of some Amazon Prime movies. Vudu is available for renting movies, as is Netflix, Plex and other stations. Roku is adding more channels all the time. If you're a developer or videographer, you can make private or public Roku channels yourself and actually offer them to Roku customers for free or for a subscription fee.

So it's really up to you whether you want to get these other channels or not. I personally have Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime and don't need anything else.


I haven't personally had any problems with rebooting or buffering. Every rare once in a while the box has frozen up on me for a little while when channels channels fast, but it'll 'unfreeze' usually by itself. I've only had to reboot it one time so far. So that hasn't been a problem for me, but I do have a fast internet connection. Someone with a slow internet, dialup, DSL, or a slow satellite connection might find there is some buffering issues, but that hasn't been the case for me.

The biggest downside for some people is that some of the current television shows aren't available on the Roku (for example, I like How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory, and neither are available on the Roku) but the good news is, those shows are often available online for free online so I can pick up those few shows I like online.

Another slight downside is that the shows that are current that you do like to watch on TV that are available on the Roku aren't available the same day they come out on broadcast stations. For example, Grey's Anatomy comes on the Roku the day after it broadcasts on television. HOUSE comes on the Roku eight days after the show airs on the broadcast station. This isn't so bad for me, since I'm not the type who has to see things before anyone else, and I don't really discuss movies and such with others, who might spoil the show.

Other than those minor issue, which aren't really that big of a deal for me, I am very happy with the Roku and am glad we went with it and dropped our Comcast cable. I'm seeing shows I missed first time around and love, seeing movies I have wanted to see for some time, and enjoying the music and games. I highly recommend it for anyone who has gotten tired of the high cost of cable television.
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