Roku 2 XS IPTV player
Smarten up your TV viewing
Review In the US, Roku has ridden to prominence on the back of services like Netflix and Hulu, and the phenomenon of ‘cord cutting’, where people discontinue pay TV services in favour of, well, paid IPTV services. That’s perhaps not surprising when their entry level box costs less than £40 including tax for US customers.
The Roku 2XS comes with a wireless gaming remote, and Angry Birds
The company’s just launched in the UK, following the arrival of Netflix here, with two players – the £50 Roku LT and the Roku 2 XS; both are extremely compact, and designed to connect to your home network wirelessly, and to your TV, preferably using HDMI.
The 2XS that I reviewed also has an Ethernet port, and can output 1080p over HDMI, rather than 720p. The analogue output is a combined stereo and composite video, on a 3.5mm connector, and there’s also a external plug top power supply. There’s no HDMI cable in the box, which seems a bit mean when you’re paying £100 (and US owners pay the same in dollars).
Surround support from the HDMI output
The two big services for Roku in the UK are Netflix and the BBC’s iPlayer; Angry Birds is included with the 2 XS, if you like that sort of thing, along with a wireless gaming remote; the box also worked fine with a Harmony IR remote too.
Other channels can be added, either during the initial web-based setup, or from the on screen ‘channel store’, including Vimeo, Picasa, Flickr, Fox News, Weather Underground, Crackle, WSJ Live, Tune in radio, and a selection of smaller channels offering public domain films, or specialist content, like Bollywood or other foreign material and TED talks. But, compared to the US, there’s not the same breadth of content from major players.
Functional remote does the business
What there is, though, does play well; my heart sank at first seeing the quality of the logos introducing some programmes, even those marked as ‘HD.’ But the adaptive streaming soon perked things up. I wouldn’t say it’s as crisp as broadcast HD – the picture’s a bit soft – but it’s certainly better than some of the low-rent Freeview channels and the best content is around DVD quality.
Next page: Content management
Well that's no big, seeing as it is a very loose standard (to the point of useless) but can the Roku stream anything over Ethernet? e.g. if I have subsonic installed, can it use that? Or Samba shares? Or something else?
Not being able to stream from the local network is an epic fail IMHO.
I'll be getting one of these soon, then jailbreak, ready for Plex/XMBC. Will report back later....
Re: Re: A boxed RaspberryPi!
If that is what you want buy a Roku. I'll be using the Raspberry Pi's ability to use a keyboard and mouse, add other software, connect up a printer etc and.... run RISC OS:-)
I'm hoping to be able to buy my RaspberryPi next week!
Re: Apple TV?
XBMC on the ATV2 is excellent, but with Raspberry Pi release anytime soon, that is going to be an interesting option, although you'd have to provide a case and a remote.
Pointless device at this price. Baffling why their isn't better LAN support for streaming given the thing's got an ethernet port.