Roku: Entertaining Tech Gadget

January 12, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

rokuRecently, I obtained a Roku XDS internet TV box and my friends have been generating a lot of questions. I have been enjoying it from day one.

I cannot compare it to cable, as I am not a cable subscriber. I signed up for a one month free trial of Netflix streaming ($7.99 per month). The streaming selection is very limited, especially for new releases. However, in order to run it at the best quality you need to have an internet connection between 3-5 Mbps. Mine runs at 1.5 Mbps and the quality is acceptable but not good. On a large 720 or 1080p HD TV the quality may be unacceptable to some. The additional connection speed would cost me an extra $10-$15 per month. There is a quality meter bar with four circles which appears when retreaving a stream (four being the highest) and mine has not reached four yet. Some additional cables may be required to work with your set-up (I had to purchase HDMI and ethernet cables.). Despite these things, it is fun and easy to use.

Roku is available in three models starting at $59, which can accommodate customers with analog TVs and those with 1080p HD TVs.

The unit comes with a variety of view ready free and premium viewing channels. Add Roku channels in your online account at or once in the interface through the Channel Store. Find ways to add private channels (like at or at the Roku channel database

Recently, CNET reviewed Roku XDS vs. Apple TV. Play the video and click on the ‘Next Round’ button. Roku came out ahead overall as compared to Apple TV. Also, read the reader/user comments.

Fox news announced in a video that Roku has reached 1 million customers. Anthony Wood,  Founder and CEO of Roku says that 12% of their customers end their cable subscriptions and 12% reduce their cable plans, after purchasing Roku.

Some preparatory questions may be answered on the company’s support page, or type their name in Google to read some reviews. For those who already own a Roku, follow their Tweets and ‘Like’ them on Facebook to hear the latest news.