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Customer Review

194 of 219 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 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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Showing 11-18 of 18 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 6:31:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 6:44:11 PM PST
E. Stoddard says:
Sandlapper:

You can order Cat6a and Cat5e Ethernet cables here at Amazon.com. These are the prices I found:

*******Cat6a****Cat5e
100 ft - $11.31......$7.35 to $8.47
-50 ft -....6.23.......4.59
-25 ft -....4.12.......3.06
-15 ft -....2.73.......2.44
-10 ft -....2.47.......3.87 (!)
--7 ft -.....1.81.......None
--5 ft -.....None......1.99 (!)

I did also noticed one vendor with Amazon offering a deal on a 25 ft roll of Cat5e that originally sold for $12.99 but was marked down to just $1.47. I would suspect this deal might be due to Cat6a being the most current type of Ethernet cable but don't know for sure (just my speculation). As you can see Cat6a does cost a little bit more, except at the 10 ft length apparently! You can also get 7 ft of Cat6a for less than 5 ft of Cat5e!

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 10:13:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2013 7:12:31 AM PDT
Pete Moss says:
(QUOTE) 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.(UNQUOTE) CAT5E supports 100 Base-T Ethernet (100Mbps) and your internet connection is 30Mbps. Just how exactly is your CAT6A going to provide "the very best video performance" to your Roku as compared to CAT5E??? Your internet connection is the limiting factor in overall streaming bit rates. Also the Roku 2 XS Ethernet port only supports Fast Ethernet so you are only running only 100 Mbps between your router and Roku which CAT5E supports just fine.

CAT6 is the best choice at this point in time for most home owners. It not only supports Gigabit Ethernet but also supports 10Gigabit Ethernet up to 55 meters (180 ft). You would have to live in a mansion to need CAT6A's 10Gigabit 100 meter range...if there ever are any consumer devices that can support it.

BTW, since you mentioned your WNDR3700 router, be advised that the Roku 2 XS cannot operate in the 5 GHz band and is subject to the 2.4GHz problematic interference.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2013 7:35:29 AM PDT
Pete Moss says:
(QUOTE) ...but I CHOOSE to have the best video quality and speed possible, therefore, my Roku's are connected via Gigabit Ethernet ports. I even use Cat6a Ethernet cable because it allows even faster speeds than Cat5e. (UNQUOTE) Since the ROKU Ethernet port operates at 100 Mbps ONLY, just how does your CAT6A ROKU connection allow for faster speeds than CAT5E??? How is the "the best video quality and speed possible, therefore, my Roku's are connected via Gigabit Ethernet ports." possible? Your ROKU is NOT CONNECTED VIA Gigabit Ethernet ports. The Fast Ethernet port on the ROKU is operating at 100 Mbps which also means your router port, though Gigabit capable, is ONLY OPERTING AT 100 Mbps in order to be compatible with the ROKU. BTW, the highest bit stream one will encounter is for 1080P HD video which only requires streaming bit rates of 8 Mbps. I doubt ROKU will ever use Gigabit ports since Fast Ethernet can support bit rates 12X higher than the maximum current ROKUs require. I sure hope that folks already owning CAT5E patch cables did not waste their money on a CAT6A based on your erroneous comments.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2013 1:01:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2013 1:05:05 PM PDT
E. Stoddard says:
Feel fairly passionate about your comments, do you? See that you had to post twice, in hopes, I suppose of driving that nail into the coffin?

Folks can buy what they want. I believe I stated in a comment here (or perhaps somewhere else?) that those who own Cat5 Ethernet cables do not need to replace them with Cat6! I didn't have those cables to run from my router to my Rokus, so I researched the differences and paid a little more for the Cat6, the next generation of Ethernet cables. Actually, they even have Cat7 now. You buy what want but I don't mind paying a little more for the future.

Posted on Sep 14, 2013 2:02:34 PM PDT
dailyreader says:
I have some questions. I have an old-fashioned TV with cable and high-speed internet via wireless connection to a modem through my cable company. I wanted to buy a Roku XS that apparently can support non-HD TVs and the Amazon clerk told me I could get a 3-way splitter to replace my other splitter that has my DVD player on it. Then I could hook up the DVD player and Roku to my TV set. Would this be likely to work? Also, how do you get a hard wired connection and how do you hook it up? What type of equipment do you need for this? Thanks for the information.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2013 11:46:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2013 11:56:06 PM PDT
E. Stoddard says:
If you use a splitter now for your TV reception and DVD player, I don't see why you couldn't, if you got the same type but with an extra port for your Roku player.

My daughter uses a 3-way HDMI switch that connects to the back of her HDTV, which has a port for HDMI. Her Blu-ray player, Roko 2 XS and Xbox 360 connect to the 3-way end via HDMI cables.

I'm not sure what kind of 3-way cable you would need. It would definitely be different than the HDMI 3-way my daughter uses. You could do a search on the Internet for such a thing for an old-fashioned TV. Or, better yet, call your cable company to see what they recommend so that you can add another device. You would need to make certain the Roku has the proper port to make that connection to such a 3-way switch, however.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2013 6:42:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2013 12:16:51 PM PDT
Pete Moss says:
1. An "old-fashioned TV" does not have a HDMI input/output so do not be distracted about comments regarding HDMI. FWIW, HDMI 1 to 3 devices are actually switches and not splitters.
2. The Roku XS has a composite (red/white/yellow) output and most likely your old TV has compatible input(s).
3. You need to explain what type of cables are connected to your splitter. Are you referring to RGB (Red/Green/Black) connectors?
4. Most likely your cable co. wireless modem is actually a combination gateway/router/switch. It may have 4 RJ45 Ethernet jacks on it that look like wide telephone jacks but have 8 conductors. For a hard-wired connection, you connect an Ethernet cable between one of the 4 RJ45 jacks and the RJ45 jack on the Roku XS. A Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet patch cable will work fine.
5. In the future, when the old TV needs to be replaced, a new flat panel will have HDMI inputs which will work with the Roku 2 XS; a good choice for you. Note that this Roku model supports high definition 1080P with the HDMI.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2013 12:48:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2013 12:51:50 PM PDT
E. Stoddard says:
Pete Moss is right; I forgot what cables where used with old TVs - it's been that long since I owned one! The Roku would connect to an old-fashioned TV by composite cables, or to a splitter that accepts several device's composite cables but sends a primary composite cable to the TV.
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