1,945 of 2,005 people found the following review helpful
The best streamer on the market!,
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
First I have to say the negative reviews are puzzling to me, because I dont think those buyers understand what they are buying.
As you know there is 3 versions, I absolutely recommend you spend the money on the XS (99.95) model, the main reason is because it's the only model with a USB port. Which in short term will allow you connect USB HD and play any movies you may of ripped from your DVD's. I have a 4TB array connected with most of my DVD collection, which is close to 1000 movies.
Roku has three type of channels:
The public channels are the once visible in what is called "Channel Store". Currently there about 300, but channels are added weekly. Looking at fan blogs, there has yet to be a weeks in about 4 months, that at least several channels weren't added.
Now channels can fall into three categories, Pay, Free, and Subscription.
Pay means you pay onetime fee and you get access to the channel, subscriptions are channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc... if you already have those subscriptions, you just add them at no additional cost. If you are an amazon prime customer then you will get access to amazon prime streaming collection, about 9000 movies and shows. You can also rent movies from .99 cents to 3.99. Or you can digitally buy movies, which will then be permanently accessible to you through any device that supports the Amazon channel.
I will admit that half the pay channels are bad, so do your homework before laying out money for any channel that requires either a onetime fee or subscription. You have to understand the Roku is a streaming device, they are not a content provider, so they don't have anything to do with setting prices. That said there are 100's of free channels, especially if you are fan of Video Podcasts from companies live Revision 3 or TWiT. They are all there in HD, and free.
I imagine as time goes on more pay services will become available as well as free once. To give this device a bad rating because you have to pay for some channels, is just typical spoiled attitude. Remember folks who provide these channels have to pay for servers that store the content, bandwidth that delivers the content, and sometimes licensing of the content.
Roku 2 operates on a modified Linux OS. This gives this device a lot of flexibility. Roku has also given out an API so others are writing applications for the device. There are already some games available, again some free, some pay. If you buy the XS model you get a motion controller, similar to the WII one. It's obviously that it's very early in the devices API development. Even though Roku 1 has been around for years, the API flexibility really didn't open up until Roku 2. There is also SD slot so you can upgrade internal memory so you can store games and apps, which you will likely have use for in the coming months, as more apps come out. For example there is one very useful app for Netflix users, called Instant Watcher, it's a onetime fee of $2.99, and give you a lot more flexibility and power to browse the Netflix Streaming Library, you link you Netflix account through this application, and then it allows you to do everything from managing your queue to browse various lists. I discovered a few movies and shows, I would of probably never found on my own.
Second category is Application, which also includes games. That's where the motion controller that comes with the XS model comes in. XS comes with a full version of angry birds, which actually looks and plays quite well. I don't see using Roku to replace my PS3, PC, or WII as gaming platform. But I can see a few possibilities like network wide scrabble; poker, etc... type games and tournaments. There also application, some free some are pay. For example if you got the XS model you have a USB channel, to enable its use for a HD connection you have download a free application. But there is also a pay application, which will allow you to stream audio and video from your server or PC's in the house. There are few other apps, but nothing of any real value at this time. Since the API relatively new, I would expect we will see a lot more apps coming in the next few months.
The last type of channel and probably one most people will not know unless they are told or stumble on it on the forums are "Private Channels". These channels are not advertised or visible through any Roku channel. There are dozen plus sites that track them. Simply google Roku private channels and you will see quite a few. Again some are free, some require a subscription. Channels range from Adult content to one person operations. Some are quite unique like a live stream of ABC in Australia. Like Public channels, private channels go up all the time, and because many of them are one person operation they also go down just as quick sometimes. Adding private channels is quite easy you login to your Roku web account, and there is an option to add a private channel, you enter a code that each private channel provides, and it will then show up on your roku. It says it may take up to 24 hours for a private channel to show up, but most show up within seconds or minutes.
Negatives: You have to buy your HDMI cable, it does come with analog cables, you have to provide your own USB cable. Adding many channels is a major pain, Many times you will get a screen with a code that requires you to go to the channels web site, register, and then enter the code. This isn't Roku's fault, because the channel provider configures how they will allow you to add the channel, and of course many of them want your email so they can market to you. This is especially a pain, if you don't have access to internet while you are in front of your roku, I do, but still this is a major pain. Roku should require providers make channel addition seamless. There is no reason why you cant allow them to pull the info they need for registration from your Roku account if you give permission. I bet in fact its already in the API. There are a lot of garbage channels, and some pay channels are not worth the money. So DO YOUR homework before you spend your money. Roku has a great forum community and you will get straight answers most of the time.
My final recommendation is that this is the best streaming device on the market today, better then Apple TV, Google TV, Boxee, and any other. It simple to use, has amazing amount of variety, and the future for this device is very bright. Streaming is the future of media, but you can get a good taste of it now with this device. I do recommend you buy the XS model, if fort no other reason, the USB port, will eventually act as DVR, there is already buzz that apps are being written to be able to record streaming shows to a HD for later viewing.
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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 14, 2011 7:15:27 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2011 4:43:55 PM PST
Joseph G. Villanueva says:
Whats the big deal in buying a HDMI cable??? While my friends were spending $39.99 to 59.99 for a six foot HDMI cable in Bestbuy I was buying them for 6.99 on Amazon. I don't think spending 6.99 for a HDMI cable is going to break the bank!!! Stop complaining you like the unit anyhow!!!
Posted on Dec 6, 2011 10:40:32 AM PST
So, let me get this straight: It IS possible for me to hook up an external hard drive to this (via the usb port) and access my dvd library that I have stored? I can play my ripped movies through this player? Do you know what video formats are supported? I just want to make sure before I return the media players I bought for that purpose and purchase 2 of these for my teens to be able to watch our library or stream video all in one unit.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 11:02:12 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 2:12:12 PM PST
I was actually posing my question to the author of this review - and yes, after researching, you CAN hook this up to an external hard drive, just nothing larger than 2tb and will only play mp4's, but thanks for chiming in.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 2:34:49 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 2:50:13 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 8:56:08 PM PST
I checked the specs on the Roku 2 xs from Roku's website - it supports mp4 video formats via the USB slot. Other users have said it will support up to a 2tb hard drive.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2011 8:08:08 AM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2011 9:04:31 AM PST
Ok obviously you didn't read MY post because the only thing I said about dvd was that I had my dvd collection backed up on an external hard drive (which I refer to as my dvd library) and I wanted to be able to access this hard drive via the usb port. Regardless, I've decided against the Roku and am going with a Sony Blu-Ray player instead because it supports more file formats and streams Netflix