More and more people are cutting the chord to their cable systems and satellite dishes. Streaming media from the web can happen across many different devices, and from many different sources. TV’s, gaming consoles, Blue-Ray players, etc., can all be purchased with streaming capabilities. Sources like Netflix, Hulu-Plus, Pandora, and more provide content for all of them. So with so many choices, why Roku?
The first thing I noticed was the simplicity. I pulled it out of the box, connected it to my TV, plugged it into the wall, connected to my wireless network, and it was up and running. Adding streaming sources like Netflix and Hulu-Plus was simple also. In a matter of minutes I was ready to start viewing content.
There is a ton of content available for the Roku. Their website claims over 750 channels for you to choose from. Now understand that Roku is open source which means anyone can produce a channel. That being said, a lot of the 750 is fluff. Stuff you will never want to watch. However, you will find all the channels you will be searching for. Netflix, Hulu-Plus, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and Crackle are all there. There will be plenty of content to enjoy.
This channel alone is a reason to choose Roku if you have a digital library of videos and music. I have a large collection of TV shows and movies in digital format on my external hard-drive. With this channel added to your Roku, I can view all of my content from the hard-drive to my television. To do that I downloaded PLEX to my computer and told it which folder to find my content that I would like to stream. Then after installing the PLEX channel on my ROKU, I was watching all of my media library. The coolest part is that PLEX connects all of you media to the proper art work and descriptions for each television episode, and every movie.
The downside to digital streaming players can be searching for content and maneuvering with the remote control. Roku offers a free remote for your iPhone, iPad, and android devices. The remote makes searching for content simple by allowing you to use your keyboard instead of the on screen keyboard that is difficult to use.
As you know, I am an Apple fan. So you may wonder why I didn’t purchase the Apple TV. For me, it all came down to accessibility. If I am going to rely on my streaming device for my content, I want all the options possible. Apple is well know for their strict open source policies, which can often limit content. For example, PLEX is not available on the Apple TV. Apple TV didn’t get Hulu-Plus until July 2012. For these reasons, I chose Roku instead.
So if your in the market for a digital streaming device, I recommend Roku. I liked mine so much I purchased another one for my bedroom. Even with the invest of two devices, I’ve still spent less than most cable subscribers. I purchased two Roku 2XD models. They play 1080p HD video, but do not have the remote with headphone jack or motion control for games (I didn’t want either).
If you have any questions about Roku or would like more information on anything I’ve discussed, feel free to comment below. Are you using a digital streaming device? If so, which one?