193 of 217 people found the following review helpful
Roku 2 XS - Much better than I thought!
, August 20, 2011
This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Old Model) (Electronics)
First some info about my setup, as I think this is important when reviewing a streaming player:
*Roku XD connected via ethernet and HDMI cables to my HDTV.
*Roku 2 XS connected via ethernet and HDMI cables to my daughter's HDTV.
*High-Speed Internet connection via Comcast's Xfinity Blast! service. My speeds are: 30mbps download and 5mbps upload.
*Modem: Motorola SURFboard eXtreme DOCSIS 3.0 Modem, model SB6120. (Comcast compatible. I own my modem, so I don't pay Comcast rental fees anymore!)
*Router: NetGear N600 Wireless Dual Band 802.11n Gigabit Router, model WNDR3700.
*Ethernet cables: Cat6a throughout (best for carrying broadband video). Cat5 or Cat5e is what most customers have, and do not need to be replaced unless one wants the very best video performance an ethernet cable can provide.
*HDMI cables: Bought the cheapest ones available; they either work or they don't, as the signal is all digital.
Because of the type of Internet service one uses, along with the equipment they use to access the Internet (modem & router), there may be a wide range of personal experiences that have little or nothing to do with the Roku player itself. The only issue I've read so far that makes some sense, excepting the occasional report of a bad Roku unit, is that the Roku 2 XS has a problem with it's storage capacity when the game Angry Birds is played. Many have reported this problem and one of the fixes is to uninstall the Angry Birds game. Another possible fix is to simply purchase a microSD card when buying a Roku 2; Roku sells a 2GB card for $5. That is exactly what I did when I ordered the Roku 2 XS from their site, and neither I nor my daughter have had any problems whatsoever with the game or the Roku player trying to reboot/recycle.
Both the older Roku XD and the new Roku 2 XS work extremely well for what they were designed to do - stream video. I've had both units connected wirelessly and via ethernet cable. Both units were a little slower with a wireless connection when compared to being hard wired. Too, a wireless connection was much more likely to downgrade the video quality from 4 dots to 3 or 2 when in Netflix in order to play a video. (Netflix uses 4 dots followed by HD, if the video can play in HD, when it is loading a video. This looks a bit like this: **** HD). Downgrading video quality does not happen very often when using an ethernet cable. However, I was surprised the Roku 2 XS responded faster wirelessly and didn't downgrade the video quality as often as my older Roku XD. This could be a difference in the hardware itself, or it might be that my Roku XD's extra distance of about 10 feet from my router caused the slower performance.
Advice to prospective customers wanting to buy a Roku streaming player:
I would recommend the Roku 2 XS over the other Roku 2 models simply because it comes with an ethernet port for a wired connection. For some customers this could make a big difference when a wireless connection is difficult to achieve or slow at best.
Too, those planning on wireless, and want the best, most reliable performance, use an 802.11n router. However, if one only has an 802.11g router, a Roku player might work just fine; try it before you buy the faster 802.11n router.
Finally, one should have a fast Internet connection. DSL speed may offer erratic streaming at best. Even basic Internet service via cable may not offer the consistency of streaming that high-speed Internet service does in some areas for some folks. Most cable companies offer varying speeds - I pay $10 extra a month for Comcast's Xfinity Blast! high-speed Internet service, for example. New Roku users should try the service they have first and then upgrade, if necessary.
When one has good equipment and a (consistent) high-speed Internet connection, these Roku players perform extremely well. I'm very pleased with both units we have working off the same Internet connection.
Oh, one last thought: I like the Roku 2 XS remote much more than the one that came with the Roku XD. The buttons all set up higher, making them much easier to use, and because of it's use of Bluetooth wireless to control the Roku 2 XS, one need not point the remote directly at the Roku, which I do have to do with my remote for the Roku XD.
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