Pros As a long time Roku user I was excited to get the new Roku 2. I tested other brands such as the WDTV live and the Sony SMP-N200.
The Roku still comes out on top.
Cons We need more games! In particular games that use the motion detector. I was hoping that the frisbee and the bowling games would be ready to use since they were announced in mid December but apparently there are still some bugs to work out.
The RF remote works great but for those of us with learning remotes that use IR there is good news. All of the new models also have IR sensors. I have another Roku player so I was able to use that to program my Onkyo universal remote.
Local Content options;
***There is a wonderful media streamer for videos called PLEX. You need to download the application from Plex and install it on your computer. Then you need to add files from your computer to the Plex media manager. All of this is pretty easy. Then add the private PLEX channel to your Roku account from your computer. Now you can stream both avi and mkv files directly from your computer which acts as a server and the Roku acts as a client. (Note: Roku allows users to install what are called private channels which aren't supported by Roku but are usually perfectly functional.)
Local content was and is still available by plugging a USB drive or a hard disk drive with it's own power supply into the USB port.
I've successfully played back HD 720p mkv files using a flash drive.
***To playback music files (which isn't currently possible with the PLEX server) you need to add the app called MainSqueeze. Again like the PLEX server, you need to download and install server software. MainSqueeze uses the Logitech Media Server. Then add the private channel MAINSQUEEZE to your Roku account.
This may seem like a lot of effort but it can be set up fairly easily if you have some computer knowledge; no more knowledge is required than any other media streamer. The benefits of using the Roku as a content streamer make it worth the effort to add local streaming if that is important to you.
I've recently tested both the WDTV live and the Sony SMP-N200 and both had many issues that will probably never be solved because users aren't able to participate except to complain in forums. Roku's open SDK (software development kit) means many developers are working on the player. Some who developed great apps were eventually hired by Roku. That's how a forward thinking company should work.
Pros This is my second Roku box- beginning in 2008. The image improvement on my 60" Pioneer Kuro is outstanding.
This is my secong Roku box- since 2008. The 1080p image on my 60" Pioneer Kuro is a definite improvement. SD card addition is a real plus.
Cons I really want DLNA support to be quickly enabled.
Summary The lack of Apple "Walled Garden" proprietary limitations is a real plus to me and about 15 clients that we have enabled via custom installs. We continue to recommend this device to our clients, who really appreciate it.
Pros Easy to set up. Great selection of content is available. I gave it 4 stars based on my overall Roku experience.
Cons Poor customer service. I received my Roku 2 promptly but the next week I received a second unit which I sent back and the next week I received a 3rd unit which I sent back today. I think the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
Summary Its a very good product but if I hadn't been able to get the $25 price reduction and no shipping cost I wouldn't have upgraded.
Pros Has a somewhat better menu structure
Cons Poor poor customer service.
Less outputs than older Roku players
Summary I'm not going to bash the Roku family of players. We have had ours, a Roku HD-XR Player, for well over a year and love it! It has optical audio outputs for those of us that have not upgraded to a new surround receiver. I have a very nice older receiver that has plenty of optical/coaxial inputs but no HDMI. So for me this would have been a step back. I realize that continually making legacy inputs or outputs probably increases the cost.
Never the less, and without checking into it further, I ordered the Roku 2 XS with the $25.00 discount last week. (I would have used it on my main HDTV and the old unit on our bedroom HDTV) After all it was their top of the line and the previous players top line had optical outputs! Upon it's arrival, and seeing that it did not have the optical output, I contacted Roku customer service and asked for a RMA so I could receive a refund. I figured since it wasn't their fault I would have to pay for the return. 2 days later I got another package from Roku...another Roku 2 XS player. I once again contacted Roku customer service and this time the wheels turned quite rapidly, they had no idea a second player had been shipped to me. They sent a RMA for the second player, what they referred to as an "extra order", and had me send it out FedEx. As soon as they received word that FedEx had the package, they sent a RMA for the first player and had me pay the postage to return the unit. Now If I had been less than honest I could have surly kept both players and sold them.
What's worse than all of this is the first person I talked to at Roku seemed to understand my issue and said they could send me the Roku XDS player as it was newer than mine and had an optical output. So I assumed they would have me send my unit in for an exchange. But after the next XS came in and I contacted them, it was made clear that they could not do an exchange for the XDS player.
It seems to me that they have some horrible customer service people working for them and even when I saved them 100.00 bucks by letting them know they sent a second unit, I still had to pay postage to send mine back and no exchange...SO MUCH FOR HONESTY being the best policy! LOL!!
Pros none that I could find
Cons where to start......
perhaps mine was a less than well built unit, but it wouldn't link to Roku, Amazon, Hulu or Netflix. It made my Sony HDTV behave oddly and it didn't display videos as clearly as my previous model Roku.
Summary I had very high hopes for this latest model Roku 2 XS, however after an afternoon of irritation and frustration I sent it back to Amazon and reinstalled my previous model Roku, that fired right up and did what it was supposed to do.