So I’ve noticed an increasing amount of advertisements for Roku lately, and I have to say I’m a fan of their direct humor. Why lie about our love for Television? Embrace it and watch more of it. This is the message they’re delivering, but lets not discuss the moral example they are setting, lets discuss the device itself.
Spoiler alert: I love it.
Having moved around a lot in the last few years, I’ve used various roommate’s devices such as the Apple TV, XBOX 360, PS3, Wii and one of those Blu-ray players that have Netflix on it.. and not having paid for cable in even longer has resulted in copious hours of streaming TV. They all generally provide the same satisfaction but here are the things I like a lot about the Roku.
HBO GO! One of my biggest complaints around the board was the lack of a HBO GO App on most devices. Aside from the XBOX, I hadn’t been able to use my Mom’s HBO account on my TV. Yes I know the XBOX has an app as do some other devices, but I wasn’t really interested in buying a gaming console or a more expensive device or TV just for streaming. Let alone pay for cable and premium channels. Now I realize this isn’t necessarily the fault of the devices, nor do I care to really research it. Most consumers won’t.
It’s small and simple! While all the gaming consoles are great at being gaming systems, they weren’t the right fit to fill my need for a streaming device. They’re too big and filled with extra features that at this time I was not interested in. Yes they play Blu-Rays, DVDs, etc. but I already have a Blu-ray player (the cheapest one on Black Friday.. no streaming).
Apple TV was really cool and I loved the integration with iTunes and the iPhone/iPad, but I don’t have an iPhone or iPad (Droid and Tabet-less). I also don’t use iTunes exclusively, my shit’s everywhere. Sorry bout it.
The device is smaller than the Apple TV, but the remote is bigger. I like the size though, isn’t easy to lose. Like the remote for my Macbook I lost years ago.
It’s cheap! Starting at $50? That’s like 5 drinks at a bar. I impulsively spend that much way more than a one time purchase for a Roku. Naturally, I received the Roku 2 XD as a gift (thanks babe!), but that’s besides the point. The 2 XD is only $30 more and you get 1080p – worth it.
Apps on Apps! When it comes down to it, the Roku seemed to give me everything I wanted. Plus a whole bunch of apps I didn’t know that I would want and now can’t live without. I noticed a lot of the Blu-Rays I purchased on Black Friday came with Digital Copies, which I was able to save to a Vudu account and watch on my Roku. That’s pretty nifty. The Pandora app is pretty fun for parties, Crackle – which is basically a free Netflix (yes there are ads) had alternate options, a bunch of channels with shows/movies I’ve never heard of – time to explore!, and the ability to search and download new apps and channels all the time. I don’t rememberthe Apple TV ever letting me add and customize it this much..
If you’re considering purchasing one of these devices, you don’t really need someone to sell you on what they do. You already know you want to watch TV/Movies. If you’re looking for games, then get a console. (Though the Roku 2 XS can play Angry Birds and other such games.) All you need to know is that the Roku is one of the cheapest streaming devices, it is fast, works great, has a lot of options including apps that aren’t available elsewhere, and won’t let you down. I haven’t used any of the Android based devices, so maybe those are good too, but in my experience this was the best option and I haven’t regretted it yet.
Now excuse me.. I believe I’ve put off watching TV for enough tonight.