After using my Roku XDS for a while now, a few patterns have developed, and I think I have experienced enough to explain who would benefit by a device like this and how.
The main use for a Roku (or similar device such as the Boxee Box or Google TV) is to provide an easy way to get internet content onto your TV. The old way is to connect your laptop and multiple cables (unless your lucky enough to have an HDMI compatible laptop) to your TV. The laptop method can be unsightly and annoying to set up, break down, set up again, etc.
Most people will benefit by Roku’s flagship content providers: Pandora, Netflix and Hulu Plus. I fall right into this category. In addition to those content sources, I use MOG (on demand music) and stream video podcasts from my computer using a product named Chaneru.
Over the last few days, our family has tested Amazon Movies On Demand on the Roku box and the Vudu rental service on the PlayStation 3, as well. They’ve been offering free holiday and new-subscriber promotions via their Twitter and Facebook feeds. Normally, prices range from $1 – $6. Generally, new releases in HD are about $5. This is neat because you have two large movie rental services on devices not controlled by your provider, so you get to price shop the movies. We’re not tied to the old method of having to pay the one price to our cable or satellite provider.
So, if you are interested in content similar to what’s listed above, Roku is an awesome toy at a fair price point. Other audiences may be sports fans. As of this posting, Roku has deals with the NHL, MLB, and UFC.
This is no easy feat. TV access is evolving right in front of our eyes. Netflix is appearing everywhere. Broadcasters are finally starting to make their content available online, either through Hulu or on their own website. It’s an exciting time to get the content you want, where you want, and how you want. It’s not 100% accessible, but there is some nice momentum, finally. Being able to subscribe to these sports packages without a cable subscription is a big deal. The one that lands the NFL, if ever, will be in pretty good shape.
I’ll post more on this, I’m sure. This is a decent overview to get you started. One other tidbit I’ll mention is how nice it was to watch Netflix when I had a severe cold and was stuck in bed. I subscribed to an older TV series that I had not chosen to dedicate time to before. I was able to have a commercial-free marathon. I love those!
Karen and I hope to cancel the satellite service at the end of our current contract. Start thinking about what you watch and how is it currently available, and more importantly, how, when and where you’d like to consume the content.