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An adapter that transfers television shows and movies to the TV through the internet.

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Roku Rocks: There Goes My Summer Reading List

  • Jul 30, 2009
  • by
I am not tech savvy. I'm so not savvy that when I unwrapped the Roku -- a birthday gift -- I didn't know what it was.

Only 5 minutes after unwrapping my Roku, I was blinking in astonishment at my entire Netflix instant queue displayed on my TV. Disclaimer: It took my housemate 5 minutes to set up. It would have probably taken me 15.

Now it's one of my favorite entertainment appliances. I love it. It's easy even for me to use!

The Roku is a little magic box that allows you to easily view Netflix Instant shows or movies and amazon.com video on-demand purchases on your TV. Sure, you can track down the right cables and connect your laptop to the TV to do the same thing, but this is so delightfully easy. It was probably more difficult to get through the tape on gift's wrapping.

I first loaded one episode of "Weeds," just to see the picture quality. It was as good as a DVD. But then, because it was so easy to just click on of the very few buttons on the Roku remote (yes, there's a simple remote), I just kept watching. A week or so later, I was two seasons in and had watched a movie or two as well.

WITH NETFLIX: Because you connect Roku to your Netflix account, and it updates using your wireless Internet connection, I can open my laptop, add something to my queue and have it appear on my Roku menu instantly.
ROKU REQUESTS: It would be nice if you could search Netflix and add items to the queue on the TV screen, which is the only thing that keeps me from rating Roku a 5. I have high standards. My only other request would be that the items in the instant queue could be sorted some way. The Roku menu displays the titles and their DVD art in one long horizontal line. As my queue gets bigger, it becomes a lot to scroll through.

Having watched a lot of Netflix instant movies on my laptop, it is such a luxury to have the bigger screen, to not have to tap the touchpad when it decides to go to sleep, to not have the playback stall or even have to click the full screen button.

SIZE: Thanks to Netflix, it's like I now have an amazing DVD collection, but I don't need storage for it -- just one small box. The Roku is very compact, making my Playstation 2 look big.

I recommend it.

If you don't want many movies, it may not be worth $99.99 to you. But if you're feeling generous, it's the sort of gift that can make the day of someone who didn't even know they needed it.

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July 31, 2009
This seems like a great deal. It is so easy and nice to have instant access to any movie or show you want to watch. I wish I had this a couple of weeks ago! I was trying to watch the first season of Heroes and couldn't find it anywhere (i don't have Netflix) and ended up buying the DVDs which was so much more expensive. Now I know! Thanks for the review.
July 30, 2009
This sounds really cool...especially during the summer when there is nothing on TV.
More Roku HD Player reviews
review by . August 26, 2010
I purchased this for an older relative that has an out-of-date television and refuses to buy a new one. She has a blu ray player that is not internet/network supported, but has a WiFi network. She is always complaining there is nothing on to watch on TV so I decided to purchase the Roku HD Player. Installation was a breeze - it was up and running in no time. The remote control is simple to use since it only has a limited number of buttons. We activated the Roku in the NetFlix account and she was …
review by . April 24, 2009
There are so many poorly design products out there, and since  I spend a great deal of time obsessing over user interfaces, usability and simple questions like "Will this address a need?", I'm often fazed when products are catastrophically unusable.   Great adventures in the Product Idiocy Hall of Fame include:  1. Windows Vista: click OK, and a pop-up appears "You selected OK. Are you sure?" Hmm.2. Wireless Rear Speakers on home theater systems, with a huge offender here being …
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About this product


The Roku digital video player (also known as the Netflix Player by Roku) instantly streams high quality movies from Netflix and Amazon Video On Demand from the Internet -- directly to your TV. The affordable Roku player is compact, easy to set up and intuitive to use.

  • roku box in handThe Roku comes with everything you need to start watching within minutes of opening the box - the standard yellow, white and red cables, both Wi-Fi and Ethernet are built in, wireless remote and batteries. Start watching instantly anywhere you have a TV and a high-speed Internet connection.
  • More than 50,000 titles are currently available from Amazon Video On Demand and Netflix, with many available in HD. 
  • The Wall Street Journal, CNET, WIRED, and other publications have given the Roku player overwhelmingly positive reviews.
  • For even better audio and video using the Roku player with your HDTV, home theater or A/V receiver, look for the Roku digital video player plus premium cable pack.

As Easy As 1 - 2 - 3 Roku plug detail 1. Wired or Wireless, The Choice is Yours
You can connect the Roku player to the Internet using most broadband providers (such as a cable modem or DSL connection.) You need at least 1.2 Mbps to watch movies instantly on the Roku digital video player with decent quality. The faster your connection, the better the quality (although this rule-of-thumb peaks out at about 5mbps). Use the built-in Wi-Fi capabilities to connect to your wireless network, or use the Ethernet port for a wired...
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