Saturday, October 16, 2010

Netgear Roku Player

Just the other day I picked up a Roku XD S from my local Best Buy. With the living room being a new front in platform wars it was a hard decision on which to take home. My second choice easily would have been the new Apple TV. Having been able to use and feel Apple TV i was not as in awe anymore, i.e., the honeymoon was over. Roku boasted an endless lineup of channels that could be fed through the device and so I caved.

Setup was a breeze with just an ethernet and hdmi cable needed (Roku does have 802.11 b/g/n however, I just wanted to experience peak performance). At boot up Roku had me work with the remote in one hand and my computer the other. It was one of the most inept experiences ever. I then was presented with two boxes. Settings and Channel store. Roku ships with no content (read none) at start up. I was floored. The cheap UI didn't help either. After a few minutes of scrolling through the channel store I got the basics (Netflix, Pandora, Facebook Photos, Break) and began a new journey.

Upon initial launch of each application you need to login to the corresponding desktop webpage and enter a given code seen on your tv. Once entered your content reaches the tv and the fun starts.

Roku delivered content to my couch potato enjoyment like TWiG, Break classics, and other great internet only content in a fun, simple way. Another good point is that Netflix ran noticeably stronger and clearer in 720p. Faster movie load time and all. My one complaint so far is a silly one. Roku has no on/off switch or button. The device stays on 24/7. Odd? Yes. Potentially expensive? No, as it only uses 5 watts of energy. 

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