I want to share my first impressions of my recently purchased Roku XD/S HD streaming video player. There is a lot to like about this very affordable sub $100 set-top box. The first thing you’ll notice about the Roku is its diminutive size. The unit measures a mere 1 inch tall by less than 5 inches wide and is very light weight.
If you have trouble making room for the Roku in your existing living room entertainment system, you have too much gear.
Roku connects to your high-speed internet connection through a wired Ethernet connector or wirelessly using WiFi. The Roku XD/S supports extended-range 802.11 Wireless-N and is fully b/g/n compatible. It includes HDMI, component video and optical audio outputs and has a USB port for playing stored photo, music and videos.
Installing the Roku is a breeze; you simply plug the power cord it into the wall socket and run one HDMI cable (not included) from the back of the Roku box to an available HDMI port on the back of your television.
The Roku XD/S supports 720p and 1080p streaming and the video quality is generally very good but will vary depending on the content provider used as well as the speed and quality of the internet connection.
The one complaint I have regarding the Roku has to do with the setup process for the premium content. Rather than simply entering account information like username and password, signing up or signing in to an existing premium service requires interaction with a PC.
First, you must log in to your account online; then once signed in, you must activate that service by entering the code provided by Roku on your TV screen into the activation screen for that particular service on your PC.
You must do this individually for each service that requires activation before you can watch that channel or service.
The multi-step process can be tedious depending how many services/channels you will adding to your Roku account.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my Roku XD/S. The large selection of both video and audio content is impressive and more content is being added over time. The units firmware is updateable through OTA flash updates making it somewhat future proof.
The very affordable Roku starts at just $59, up to $99 for the reviewed unit.