Wow, just wow. Cable (and satellite) is great, but anyone with a Tivo or DVR knows how the commercial that promised “it will change the way you TV” was true. I can’t remember the last commercial we had to watch, or the last time we considered what time/day something was broadcast. And now there’s Roku — another evolutionary step forward.
For those that don’t know what it is, a Roku player is small box (about a 6” square, 1” tall) that connects to a broadband connection (wirelessly or via a cable). There are video and sound outs (e.g., component, S-Video, HDMI) to connect to your home theater. It runs a hundred Semolians.
Once hooked up, it connects to your Netflix queue, granting you instant (well, fifteen seconds or so load time) access to their entire “watch it now” catalogue (about 12K titles right now, but they just signed a deal with (Starz?) to increase the number of titles).
It works exactly like they claim. Effortless wireless connection (thought I’ve since fished a cable into the den). Very easy and surprisingly helpful menu system: in series disks, it displays the season as an icon, then on that page it tells you which episodes you have seen (or how much of an episode you have already watched). Quality is about as good as standard television (not DVD or HD, but certainly good enough to watch on a 57” DLP).
The giddy part is that Roku is opening its platform to any content provider over the next few months — which means Hulu et al are on their way. Netflix also has plans for streaming higher def files, but there is no timeline yet.
The only downside so far (if you can call it that, we’ve been so damn spoiled) is that fast forwarding or rewinding means the box has to rebuffer the stream – ten to fifteen seconds to start playing again. Not really that problematic, but unlike regular DVR in which we’ve become accustom to that back-ten-seconds button, it’s not that instant.
Anyone else out there have one? Have your experiences been similarly good? Do have an anomaly and your experiences are bad? The hardware and interface seem straightforward enough — any competitors worth looking at?
Disclaimer: I don’t work for, own stock in, or benefit in any way from the player, but since several years ago there were several “Tivo rocks!” threads that helped convince me to get one, I thought to add this.
(Mods, sorry if I got the forum wrong. I thought it was more about technology then directly about TV/movies, but if Cafe is more appropriate, please move and accept my apologies.)