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This little box is the size of two packs of playing cards and it hooks into your TV either via the HDMI port (on HD TV's) or it can be connected to older TV's by the three-plug colored cord (red, yellow, white) that hooks up the video and audio. (HDMI carries both the video and audio signal together.) The Roku works on your home WiFi system, picking up your internet service and any subscriptions you may have such as Netflix or Amazon Prime and you can watch TV shows or films or other features.

Setup is extremely easy. You need your WiFi key (the code that plugs you into your wireless network) and it pretty much goes in a few minutes. You also may need the passwords to any video online services you have. It's not entirely easy, but you can add Youtube (via Videobuzz. It's not straightforward, but I got it to work following the instructions on Videobuzz.)

There are four different versions of Roku out at this time. This one is the base model and it lacks the ability to play 1080p HD video, which may or may not be available to you from your cable provider or because the speed of your internet connection can't handle it.

This version also lacks a headphone jack on the remote (have to move to the Roku 2 for that) and if you and your family are enthusiastic gamers, there is a Roku 3 version more suited to gaming, with Dual-band wireless, motion control for games and a --much faster (5 times) processor as well as ethernet, a USB slot and a microSD card slot. For families who game, the LT Roku is NOT best choice. However, the Roku 3 only handles HDTV, so if you use an older analog TV, the Roku 3 is not for you. The Roku LT does NOT come with Angry Birds--so if that is important, you'd move up to the Roku 2, at least.

Cutting your Cable: Depending on which channels you purchase, you could conceivably stop or reduce your cable bill, especially if your area has the basic local channels for a "small fee" (It used to be free, but as of last year, many services started scrambling even the basic, requiring a box and rental. This varies by area, so ask around.) If you only watch regular channels plus movies, a Netflix or Prime subscription is about one month of average cable service, and if you can pick up channels by air with a FlatWave HDTV Indoor Digital Flat Antenna you might be able to cut the cable completely. That could add up to quite a lot.

**Note: A good question: Can you can run more than one TV on one Roku box? As far as I know, you need one box per television set. However, moving from one TV to another is fairly simple; leave an HDMI cable or the 3-plug cable attached to each TV, unplug the Roku from the current cable and the wall socket and carry it to your other set. (It is not a big device as I said--size of two decks of cards.) You can run two TV's at a time with a box for each TV, but some channels may not let you log in as the same user on two devices at a time.

Things you need: HDMI cable or cables, subscription to a service such a Prime or Netflix or Hulu Plus. There are a number of free channels but the content may not be what you want. A box for each TV unless you intend to move it around from set to set.
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on December 4, 2014
WHAT is all the hype about?! This is terrible!!
Yes, it streams all the channels I could want it to stream. But I DON'T EVEN WANT TO USE IT. It's terrible. It's very, VERY slow. I have patience, but when it takes more than 60 seconds for a system to open a program I'm unimpressed. I'll give you a breakdown:

Glitchy (If I try to broadcast from youtube on my tablet or phone, it will take incredibly long [5+ minutes], sometimes won't even show the video but will just open youtube's homepage, and regardless of whether or not it works, it will continue to decide on its own to reopen youtube at random for the rest of the night, sometimes reopening the video and sometimes just the homepage. It'll happen a few times an hour unless I UNPLUG IT [BECAUSE IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE AN OFF SWITCH])
No continuous play on Netflix
Its servers (Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Prime etc) have the interface of a website from the 1990s

Why does everyone like this? If I had gotten this in 2000 I'd think it was cool, but unattractive and annoying as hell. These days this is just unacceptable.

Pros: It's pretty cute itself, and I love the remote. It's very soft and smooth to the touch and is easily navigable, no unnecessary or questionable buttons. No power switch and is not capable of hooking up to the tv in any way. It has 4 quick-access buttons for MGO, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Blockbuster (really?). Typing in sign-in information in every program is super annoying with a keyboard layout on the screen, leaving you forced to navigate with the four up down left right buttons.

I ordered Chromecast the night we got this thing. No interface is better than hideous interface.

I will never recommend this.... maybe to someone I hate and want to waste $30.
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on January 15, 2014
I purchased this device to connect to a 11 year old television with RCA connectors. It was easy to set-up and use. I have no complaints because it works flawlessly.
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2015
I used to recommend ROKU as the #1 Set-top box--ahead of Apple TV, Amazon TV, ChromeCast, etc. We still have the original all-metal, somewhat large box, which my wife now uses in her office. So I ordered this one, thinking I could use it on one of our downstairs TVs. I'm using it with a composite cable rather than HDMI (which my current-millennium all-digital Sony doesn't have), and I've tried every power supply that will fit in the channel+input on the player--5V, 12V, etc. At best, I've managed to call up the ROKU insignia for a few seconds, then it disappears.

The player I have is Model 2700X (not R), and it's virtually impossible to find specs anywhere on the internet for a power supply for this ROKU model. Moreover, different ROKU accessory pages publish different prices for their power supplies--$10 on one page, then $20 the next time I Google it. I'm up to my ears in discarded power supplies, and have apparently wasted $20 on another one. I now regret not simply ordering a Sony BluRay player. They go for as low as $40, and besides playing discs they offer streaming from 50 or more different sites, including Netflix.

I can't remember if this unit originally came with a power supply. But it certainly appears that ROKU does NOT follow the lead of some companies that identify their power supplies with the company's insignia.
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on March 24, 2014
We have the original Roku, and we are constantly moving it from room to room. I got sick of it not being in my bedroom when I want to use it, so I bought a 2nd one.

I had 2 criteria (well, 3 really). I wanted it to work with the Time Warner Cable app, which doesn't run on every Roku model, and I wanted it to have a remote that would also work with our original generation Roku, because the kids have lost that remote. Roku's website has a great explanation of the remotes and how they are different (some work with IR and some work with WiFi so you should really read it if you're at all wanting to use remotes inter-changably). My third criteria was to be able to buy it using the gift card I got for my birthday, and the $99 models are too expensive to fit that bill.

My one disappointment was something I both knew and didn't know ahead of time: it doesn't work with YouTube. Now, I knew this. The Roku 3 is the only one that works with the new YouTube channel that recently came out, that everyone's raving about. But my original gen. Roku has a "private channel" YouTube app. It's not slick, you have to type in search terms using the onscreen keyboard, but it works. I figured I would be able to use that on this new Roku, but Roku has apparently disallowed the private channel one now that they have a real one, AND they seem to have thrown a wrench into the 3rd party workaround that was the popular solution for watching YouTube on Roku before the new YouTube channel came out. All I can say is, I hope they add the new YouTube to the other devices soon. If you really want that functionality, buy a Roku 3 unless you know how to use Plex.

Other than that, I'm perfectly happy. I remember when I got my original Roku, and I was surprised how small it was. And again, when I got this one, it's even smaller. And prettier! :-)
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on December 16, 2013
I got my first Roku in 2009 and fell in love right away. I got my second box in 2013 and I fell even more in love with all the new features! My favorite new feature is the search feature. I love that you can simply enter a actor, director, TV show or movie and it will search all the channels and show you where you can watch that show or actor. There are many FREE channels like Crackle that offer great TV and Movies but there are many channels that require a fee like Netflix or Hulu Plus. I am paying less than $20 a month for a couple of channels and I can pretty much watch any currently airing TV show I want. Beats paying $129 a month for cable like I was!!
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on September 12, 2014
This has been easy peasy from day one.

I was a little worried about it working for our old tv, but it was totally plug-and-play.
In our basement, we have one of those late-90's model 55-inch, rear-projection tv's. Back in the day, this was a $6,000, state of the art, HD tv! I'm sure the specs are laughable now, but we picked it up for a little bit of nothing off craigslist and we use it to watch movies and football. The "movies" part was getting difficult, though, since we were slowing down on our dvd purchases in favor of Amazon digital movies on our other devices. Our Samsung tv even came with an Amazon button on the remote!

So how were we going to deal with it? We tried buying an XBox360. The first movie we watched froze halfway through and when the diagnostic screen came up, it clearly noted that the problem was between the internet and the Microsoft server, not a problem on our end, nor solvable or fixable by us. Additionally, at the time, this was a subscription service for XBox!! (I believe now it might be free? Not sure, since I promptly cancelled our account!)

The Roku, on the other hand, was crazy easy. We plugged it in, logged into our Prime account (and a couple of others, but really Amazon is our main use of the device), and were ready to go. It has flawlessly streamed many movies and tv shows for us since.
Very happy with the purchase.

Oh, and I know this is probably the silliest of silly things, but for some reason I absolutely love the little square of fabric at the bottom of the remote! It's just so unusual and unexpected to have fabric on a plastic remote, and I smile whenever I pick it up.
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on April 5, 2014
I picked up the basic Roku LT for only $37 during a lightening deal. You betcha I think it was worth every penny. We had given up our cable over a year ago, but missed being to access some of our favorite shows like The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, and programming on PBS Kids. The Roku LT delivered on that. But it has its drawbacks.

The Roku LT currently sells for more than we paid so I'm not sure if it's still worth it. Amazon just released their Fire for about double the price. So what are you sacrificing if you get the Roku LT?

1080 definition (Roku LT is 720)
Access to Youtube (why this isn't possible just seems odd)
Quickly and easily finding programs (Fire is via voice search, the LT you have to scroll using the remote)
Faster system overall

If you're on a tight budget, don't care about youtube (we did!), and don't have a 1080p TV then the Roku LT might be a good deal, especially if they have another lightening deal. Otherwise, spend a little more and get quite a bit, if not for the Fire then the Roku 3.

UPDATE: 7/16/2014

Basic Roku now has youtube access. Haven't fully explored it yet, but it feels at first cumbersome and hard to use, especially with the scrolling function.
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on April 24, 2014
I bought this unit because I strongly dislike Comcast cable, and they were they only choice in my area for cable. ROKU saved my TV life because I absolutely refused to signup with Comcast. They're just a bunch of cable bullies over-charging monopolist clowns. With Roku I get loads of free channels and only had to signup for one 8.99 per month TV-Channel to watch many of favorite shows and movies. It streams perfectly clear over my high-speed DSL phone connection for my internet service, and it doesn't even blink in reception while I'm doing long downloads on my PC and laptop at the same time. The TV reception stays perfectly CLEAR...! Go this route if you want to save tons of money each month.
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on February 28, 2014
I purchased a Chromecast before purchasing a Roku LT. The only "channels" I mostly watch on both devices are Netflix and Hulu+. I decided to purchase the Roku LT to see which one I'd like better. Both devices definitely have pros and cons but I like the Roku LT much more.

The Chromecast is more compact and is its own HDMI cable; there's no remote to potentially lose either. However, the fact that the Chromecast itself has the HDMI output means that you can't upgrade to a higher quality cable. I find that the Roku has better picture (although it only plays up to 720p versus Chromecast's 1080p) and sound. I also like that the Roku has its own dedicated remote. Sure, being able to use your phone to control the Chromecast is convenient, most times I'd rather use a regular remote. (Note: there is a Roku app available just in case you really do want to use your phone as a remote controller.)

Personally, the only thing that I miss with the Chromecast is being able to cast directly from YouTube. There is a way to do this on the Roku but you have to go through a few steps. I'm not a big YouTube viewer but it's definitely nice to have when I want to view the videos on a big screen.

The price point for the two devices are almost similar with Roku being just $15 more. Get the Roku. Just do it.
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