Pros Streams movies to your TV. Firmware is upgradeable. Decent picture quality
Cons not enough movie selection, needs surround sound, better video quality.
Summary First I'd like to note how idiotic some people can be. If you thought the picture looked bad on your small computer screen, and expected it to look better on a bigger screen you are gravely mistaken. Although internet connections are getting faster, streaming HD content is extremely taxing on a network and since this is the first gen model, I'm pleasantly surprised at it's quality. If you don't think there's much selection you should realize that netflix adds new titles every week!! So the library is constantly growing. They can't get the rights or won't pay the outlandish prices to gain the rights to stream movies. There is a lot of legal red tape involved with getting the rights to putting a movie into a network for people to view and we'll probably never get instant access to new releases(though it could happen). Besides most new movies are garbage, do yourself a favor and browse through older movies and watch some classics, if you don't like it it's not like you had to pay for it.
in the end you have to look at the pricetag. This is priced around the same price as a low end dvd player and it has much more functionality compared to them. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to watch movies period. It's not a huge investment, it's not a perfect fit for everyone BUT remember with firmware upgrades, I am betting that the HDMI output will be getting 5.1 surround sound some time in the near future. If you're waiting for an HD model to come out, remember you may be paying twice as much if not more, for the higher resolution.
"The Future Is Here!"on by sv007
Pros Simple to Use, Great Price
Cons None So Far
Summary We have ours hooked up to a standard def Sony and it absolutely ROCKS! We are by no means early adopters of tech hardware, but this is a no-brainer. Anyone giving the Roku low marks has obviously NOT used one. It is simple to operate, the quality is the same as our digital cable, and though selection is limited, we have no problems finding titles to watch.
No question this is the wave of the future. Apple TV and Vudu are flops compared to the Roku. All-you-can-eat titles, great quality, all at NO extra charge. Expect the number of titles to grow tremendously in the next 6 to 12 months as these boxes catch on.
The whole family just loves the Roku. We are ordering a second one for the HD set in our bedroom. I give the Roku a perfect 10 as I don't find "only" 10,000 titles to be a drawback.
Pros HD quality for some movies, DVD quality for everything else. Easy set up and firmware upgrading. Great deal when combined with Netflix 2 or 3 DVDs at a time by mail. Finally found a replacement for Comcast Cable.
Cons Unable to browse Netflix library from the TV - have to add movies to your list from a PC. Noticed some lag issues (would exit movie and go to movie loading screen) over wireless network, but this has been resolved with a new Trendnet router.
Summary I was a bit skeptical about buying this mainly since I was concerned that the picture quality over our wireless network would be terrible. We had a few minor issues initially, but our router was 5 years old, so we just bought a new one. The selection of movies available to use with this box is pretty good, and is constantly expanding. It's incredibly easy to set up and use. It's great to be able to take as long as you like to watch a movie, and the spot you are at is held in the memory for all movies in your list. Movies aren't automatically deleted when you watch them - this is a good thing since wecan keep all my daughter's favourite TV shows in the queue permanently. We are having a lot of trouble watching everything we have in our queue - so much to choose from! It was great to ditch our $70 a month Comcast Cable, and pay $100 for the box then $17 for unlimited streaming and 3 DVDs at a time (best way to get newer movies). The picture quality has generally been DVD quality. When it has been lower quality, I just exit the movie and reload it, which usually fixes it. There are only a few movies available in HD, but you don't pay extra for them. Only minor gripe is the inability to select movies directly from the TV.
Pros - Surprisingly good selection
- Surprisingly good video quality on a 55" Sony LCD
- Very clean design and GUI
- Easy setup
- Dirt cheap compared to any other movie source
- It does what they say it does
Cons - Some glitches watching certain films, although most stream flawlessly
- Sometimes you only get 2 dots out of 4 (streaming issues that Neflix claims are fixed)
- You may not get much sleep if you buy one (too much good stuff to just "go to bed")
Summary Roku was a whim purchase for me. CNET reviewed it, and I already had a Netflix account, so why not. I was blown away with how good this little box is. I've watched hundreds of movies in the last two months.Your equipment you connect to the Roku with has a lot to do with it. I had a problem installing my Roku wirelessly with my Linksys WRT54G router when I first got it. I called Roku and they were very pleasant and offered to send me a new box, but that's not what I wanted. I wasn't convinced the box was broken since it powered up and I was just getting network connection errors. The box itself gave me the answer eventually, I got a error message stating I need to add the Roku's MAC address to my router. I suspect if you have a computer saavy friend help you out, you may find your Roku works just fine. As far as being out money with a dead box, I can't believe Roku won't replace your non-working box or even refund you. I'm sure they would do either. They have a good product, and they're not going to stiff customers over a bad box. Ask them to replace it or send it back and get a refund.
Sometimes I don't make it through the whole movie, but that's the point. In the first five minutes if I find out I'm watching a bad "B" movie that has no redeeming value (some are fun to watch because they're bad), I pick something else. No harm - no foul, I just move on to another movie. I gave up on renting movies due to how many bad movies I went home with. Roku eliminates that and even better, Roku allows you to take chances on movies that you suspect you won't like and certainly wouldn't rent. Sometimes I've been surprised by movies I didn't think I would like.
There are thousands of movies I never saw because I didn't see them in the theater, or rent them. Roku has allowed me to catch up on what I may or may not have missed. It's outstanding for students studying film since so many classics are available.
The final reason I love Roku. Foreign movies. I'm a huge foreign movie fan and Roku has allowed me to watch some extremely moving films. Films that take chances and stay with you. I would have never seen any of these films without Netflix and Roku. I give Roku the credit because I probably wouldn't have rented them through Netflix itself. Like I said, Roku enables you to take chances on films you wouldn't see otherwise.
There have been some streaming issues, but Netflix claims to have fixed them. I don't know about that, but with what I've watched already I have zero regrets, and I use it every day.
Updated on Dec 10, 2008
Updated on Dec 25, 2008Good news. The previous streaming issues seem to be resolved, at least if you upgrade your firmware. I participated in the Roku beta firmware program and the "HD" upgrade is a winner. Doing an upgrade is great, all you have to do is select update on the info screen. It's the easiest firmware upgrade I've ever done, and frankly, I'm still amazed at how well thought out the device is. The Roku is designed for video novices.
I now have the ability to receive 720p (although the HD selections for streaming are very slim right now) and previous problems have disappeared. HD movies do look great, but all videos are streaming better now.
The Roku is the best option, especially if you don't need "BlueRay", or a video game system. $99 + $8.99 per month for unlimited, commercial free, streaming movies? Word of mouth is going to propel this device to become the next big thing, and rightly so.
Pros Great Concept
Cons Limited Image Quality with Standard Cable Modum Connection, Difficult Set-up
Summary Great product in theory, however, it will not play through my brand-new, mid range receiver (Sony STR-DA4300) because of its digital rights management software and image quality is limited without a relatively fat internet connection. It took me three calls and one and a half hours to learn that the promised one line HDMI connection promised was not delivered. The tech support crew told me that they do not support or trouble shoot the product when not connected directly to a television--which begs the question, how many early adopters don't use some sort of receiver, switch, or other intermediary device?