Monday, July 14, 2008

Roku Review

My Roku arrived and came in a pretty little purple box. Upon opening, you see that it has a nice little getting started guide, which I did not open. :)

The packaging is standard fare really, plastic wrapped in more plastic wrapped in cardboard.

More goodies underneath. Batteries for the remote, crap composite video cable, and power adapter.

Everything in this package is tiny, except the level of pure awesome.

Wee little remote with super high gloss finish. Perfect for storing fingerprints, in case you ever misplace yours.

The outputs are worth noting as the Roku has some that it can not fully utilize yet. For example, the HDMI. As cool as it would be to hook it up with this now, it would be a bit of a waste... but when HD streaming rolls out... this little unit will add a +5 to DVD killing to your entertainment oasis.

A simple size comparison. It may not seem fair to compare "sizes" against something so awesome as Boom Blox, but rest assured, Roku is pretty damn awesome as well.

The menus are simple and easy to navigate. There is a whole setup wizard that is as easy as this screen. Even setting up the WiFi is a breeze. Well as long as you know the wireless security key. I prefer wired hook up as I went through the trouble of running Ethernet through my house.

System information will tell you only what you ever really need to know... but not really fun info that what us geeks would want to see.

After connecting to your Netflix account and adding movies to your "Watch Instantly Queue"(done from the PC not the Roku), the movies show up here. I will pick a great movie such as Boondock Saints.I was watching it earlier so lets resume playing... (ignore the yellow bar on the screen, it is an artifact of taking picture of a CRT, in this case a rear projo CRT).

It will take about 20-45 second to start the movie as it buffers.

You can press the navigation buttons and click through the upcoming scenes. You can go past what you have buffered, but it will result in another 20-45 second buffering as you are pretty much starting in a new place.

Yes I know that this is not Boondock Saints, it is Appleseed: Ex Machina.

The quality is about 75-85% DVD quality. Like I stated earlier, the Roku can handle more than Netflix is feeding it at this time. The quality is definitely watchable. Even at this quality, I did not run into ANY buffering issues.

My final thoughts on my little Roku friend. $99 + $8.99 subscription at Netflix(you also get 1 DVD out at a time) is well worth having 10,000+ movies and TV shows at hand. This bad mamajamma will be even more worth it when HD is coming down the pipe. When that happens, say good bye to my DVD player. This delivery model, provided the licensing can be obtained to release ALL titles to this, will be the death of the optical medium. Adding features such as streaming music from a popular site, or streaming video from YouTube... should be added to give it the extra bump.

All in all - 4.5/5 w00ts
If you need "Special Features" or to physically touch a plastic disc this isn't for you.

--Cheski