"Bullet proof way to connect your TV to the Internet."4.5 starson by marcf1
Pros: Hook-up is easy and operation is idiot proof.
Prooves the adage that size doesn't matter.
Cons: No HDMI cable included.
Doesn't indicate that HBOGo will only work if your internet provider allows it - this means you are out of luck with Comcast.
Summary: The ROKU is a wonderful product which generally delivers precisely what it promises in a compact and efficient package that is extremely easy to install.
I wish I could say the same for the products and services provided to the public by most of the other participants in the cable/internet/media sector.
I pay over $250/mo for Comcast Triple Play (phone, internet and platinum cable). I also subscribe to both Netflix on demand and Netflix BluRay disc delivery. The problem that I share with many others is that we are forced to overpay the cable companies to obtain just a few channels that we want (HBO and Showtime for their series like Empire Boardwalk and Homeland - not for their studio movies) and ESPN (to receive essential sport programming no longer available through network TV). The other 95% of the channels go unused. Even those channels that have products of interest (e.g. Encore or HBO) cary 3 to 6 channels in standard definition which make them unwatchable and worthless to anyone used to high definition programming).
To make matters more attractive the cable companies began to beef up their Video on Demand services, which seems like a no-brainer way for them to keep consumers interested. But by virtue of either their fear that this usage will erode their live subscription base or because of contractual limitations placed on them, the VOD service is spotty to say the least. Instead of making every show available at all times, they ration out certain shows for limited periods of time. Sometimes the High Definition shows that they do make available are only viewable in standard definition - which makes no sense whatsoever.
Finally, HBO came out with a great solution with HBOGo. They would make every series or special, and many movies, available all of the time. If you missed the John Adams series a few years ago - it was available now. If you wanted to revisit the Sopranos - it was available now. I couldn't believe that a company had finally found the secret sauce to make sense out of the mess of inadequate and limited options generally available to viewers.
Of course it was too good to be true. You see, HBOGo is only available on your IPad or your computer (if you have an HBO subscription). It is not available directly through your cable provider. This of course is insanity personified. If I pay a substantial sum for my HBO subscription why should this valuable service be limited to just by "on the go" devices?
This brings me back to my ROKU purchase which was triggered by the fact that the CNET review revealed that the ROKU provided access to HBOGo. I rushed to the store, bought the ROKU, installed it without any problem and then began the process of selecting services. Of course, this also was too good to be true. The ROKU installation process revealed that Comcast did not authorize internet streaming access to HBOGo. Of course not - why would they do anything that made sense, would assure customer loyalty to both Comcast and HBO and, heaven forbid, provide a valuable service to their customers.
This experience has moved me every closer to pulling the plug on Comcast, HBO and all the other similar media providers. I simply don't understand why they take so many restrictive actions against the interests of their customers. I have a feeling many others share this view.