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Roku's Neflix Player

Home Theater

June 6, 2008 05:35 PM PST

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Shortly after I got the 360 streamer working my Roku box showed up. This is a pretty amazing piece of hardware. It is small and light and fan-less. There is no on-off switch! I went to the web site and they basically said you can just leave it on all the time, it draws very little power. If you want to turn it off you have to un-plug it. It runs a custom version of Linux on a strong arm based embedded processor. It has all the AV connection options you could think of, Svideo, composite, component, HDMI, stereo out and optical out. It has both Ethernet and Wifi-G connectivity.

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The setup was easy. I first configured it for my wifi network, then it ask for my Netflix credentials. After that it generated an activation code that I had to go online to Netflix's site and enter. The whole process took less than 10 minutes.

The user interface is about as simple as it gets. When you boot it up, it connects to your 'instant' queue. From there you can select a show, read about it and play it. It supports fast forward and rewind via a thumbnail preview. Once you find the spot you want it can take 30 seconds or so to cache up the data at that location before it plays. You can only select movies in your instant queue, you cannot browse for new movies to watch - this must be done from the PC. Originally I thought that this was a pretty major limitation, but now I think it is a pretty cool feature. I'm treating it like parental controls. If my kids use the box they'll only be able to watch the shows that I 'made available', instead of having instant access to all the R rated content I don't want them to see.

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Comments (2)
Paul, July 14, 2008 12:35 PM:

I guess you don't need one of these things now that the Xbox 360 can stream Netflix movies.

John, July 14, 2008 01:19 PM:

Oh yeah, the 360 rocks. I can't wait for the dashboard update. Oh, and I'll move my Roku box to the other TV that doesn't have a 360, so it will still be used.






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