The Roku digital video player is a small box that streams video, audio and other content over the Internet. All you need to use a Roku box is a computer, a router or access point, a high-speed Internet connection and a free Roku account. All the content from the Roku is available on demand, when you want to use it.
The Roku digital video player offers a very wide range of channels. There are public channels that connect to popular content such as movies, TV shows and streaming radio, among others. The Roku also supports private channels, which require a special code to install. Using private channels, you can watch videos on YouTube, view podcasts, check the speed of your Internet connection and stream media from your computer. You can even play games on your Roku box.
The Roku HD supports up to 720 pixels (p) of high definition (HD) resolution and the Roku XD and XDS support up to 1080p of HD resolution. The XDS model also has a USB port for viewing content from your computer. The Roku comes with a built-in wireless adapter that can connect with wireless home networks. It can also attach to a network with a wired connection. It has HDMI, component video and composite video outputs to connect to either a cathode ray tube (CRT) television or HDTV. The Roku is very small and compact, allowing for installation even in the most cramped space.
The Roku is very inexpensive compared to other instant streaming devices, such as the Boxee box and the Logitech Revue. The greatest value, however, is the content it streams. You can stream a significant number of movies, TV, music and other content on the Roku for free. The paid services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video, typically stream content very inexpensively. Compared to on-demand movies, TV and radio from paid TV providers, the Roku's content is very cheap. The services that stream on the Roku typically get content somewhat later than other TV services. If you have some patience, you can drop your expensive cable or satellite TV service and save a lot of money.
Ease of Use
The Roku is very simple to set up and use. You can quickly complete setup with your wired or wireless home network and install any channel you like from the Channel Store. You can also install private channels on your computer by entering a code in your online account. The Roku uses codes to simplify setup of channels, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, that require you to connect to another account. The Roku comes with a remote that lets you navigate menus quickly and easily. The remote that comes with the XD and XDS models is slightly enhanced, with buttons for settings and instant replay.
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