Upstairs in our master bedroom we have a small TV that just has a Roku Streaming Player and a DVD player which hasn’t been used much in the last few months. The Roku does a pretty good job at fulfilling all of our goals that we listed in the introduction to Cutting the Cord.
Roku Streaming Player
The Roku was the first device that streamed Netflix movies. I think it’s still one of the best. This little box is fairly cheap ($60-100, depending on the model) and it can do a lot via its channels and it’s pretty easy to pick up and use. Aside from Netflix, here are some of the other channels that we use frequently:
I’m a huge baseball fan, and without cable TV I don’t get many games. I subscribe to MLB.tv, which I can watch through the Roku’s MLB.tv Channel or via the computer. This lets me watch all the games, except the local teams, which I can listen to live but not watch (I’m in New Mexico, so that means I can’t watch the Rockies or Diamondbacks games until after they’re over).
Amazon Video On Demand
We’ve had a few coupons from Amazon to their Video On Demand store, which lets you rent or buy movies that can be watched through a computer or other internet device (including the Roku and lots of TVs, Blu-Ray players, etc.)
The Plex channel has been great for watching movies on our computer. Basically, I don’t have to worry about the format of the file, Plex handles it (it can transcode and/or remux as needed). The best part about this is that I can see the movie poster or other artwork, which makes it much easier for my kids to find their favorite shows. I’ve seen other channels that let you play files from your local network, but none of them were free and none of them were even close to this channel in quality.
How well does the Roku box meet the goals stated in the introduction?
- Play back our media collection? Check. It’s pretty easy, too.
- Ability to watch and record TV? Not yet.
- Watch Netflix from any TV? Check. It’s probably the best device we own for that.
Other Parts of Cutting the Cord:
Cutting the Cord: Introduction
Backend: Desktop Computer (acting as file server) and TV Tuner
Master Bedroom: Roku streaming
Living Room: HTPC and TV w/ built-in Netflix
Basement: Original Xbox with XBMC