Updated: May 9, 2015
Roku Streaming Player Reviews and Buying Guide:If you are anything like our house, we have televisions in multiple rooms but only get to watch Netflix movies on one of the TV's since that is the one with our Wii video game console on it. My brother in-law is a huge techie and he bought us the Roku streaming player as a gift. It's about the size of a hockey puck and does exactly what we always wanted. Just plug it into your television via the HDMI cable slot and you are connected to a world of streaming videos, tv shows, games, and more. The Roku player runs on the wireless internet in your house and allows you to watch Netflix movies, NBA games on the League Pass, see tv shows on HuluPlus and so much more. Ok, you do have to pay for some of the content, but at least you have access on your TV screen. If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you can watch their Amazon Instant Video service for free. The software interface is about as basic and simple as it gets. Just scroll around with the Roku remote from channels like Disney, CNET, Fox News, Facebook, Pandora, Netflix, etc. Once inside each channel you'll see a complete rundown of what they offer.
Choosing a Roku Player - We have the basic Roku LT Streaming Player which sells for about $50 and provides high definition streaming up to 720p HD. Works with almost any TV set you own. We had to buy the HDMI cable separately, but it does come with the basic A/V cable and power adapter. To get started you just plug it in, wait for it to find the wireless network (you'll need wi-fi in your house), and then the main screen pops up. You will need your Netflix account information so you can input the details and then get access via the television screen. I was literally up and running within 10 minutes. Roku did ask for some personal like credit card information so they can charge you for any premium shows/videos you order. The idea behind a streaming player like Roku is to eventually do away with your cable bill. Why pay for all those channels you never use when you could potentially a la carte the shows you watch with Roku. That idea sounds good, but they just aren't yet. We like the Netflix feature and the Amazon Instand Video works well. I wish you could get access to more TV shows via Hulu without having to subscribe. Hopefully these types of players will continue to expand their selection and quality over the next few years and help us consumers compete with the cable giants. The 3 latest Roku players are the HD, XS, and XD. The XD and HD come in at $70 while the superior XS is closer to $90 and supports more features. You get a remote control that gives you motion control for games, free full edition of Angry Birds, and an ethernet port for wired Internet connection. Watching 1080p video quality is what sets these apart from my version. The built-in MicroSD slot on the more expensive Roku's let you store hundreds of games for future use. Which one is right for you? Roku Reviews - You can find in depth technical reviews on websites like CNET.com but we always prefer to hear what actual owners think of the product. You can browse the best selling Roku streaming players here.