Remember the days when you used to rent movies on DVD? You’d drive to the local video store in hopes that the movie you wanted was available. Even when it was, you had to deal with scratched discs and another trip to the store to return the movie! Netflix revolutionized the movie rental business when they began mailing movies on DVD back in 1999.
In recent years watching what you want, when you want it, has progressed further forward. With a high-speed internet connection you can watch movies on demand via a new breed of devices – Streaming Video Players.
If you are looking for a good streaming video player that is affordable, Roku has some great devices that are easy to use and offer great content options. Prices range from $49 to $99 on a line-up of 4 main models: Roku LT, Roku HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS.
In this review, we focus on the Roku 2 XS 1080p HD Streaming Player – this is the fully loaded model.
Small But Powerful
This thing is compact! Measuring 3″ across (roughly the size of a hockey puck), and has all the necessary connections including: HDMI, analog video out and ethernet.
The simple remote is adequately functional, or if you prefer there are free Roku remote control apps available for your iPhone or Android phone.
In the Box
- Enhanced remote with motion control for games
- Angry Birds game
- Two AA batteries
- Analog A/V cable (red/white/yellow)
- Power adapter
- Getting Started guide
- 90-day manufacturer warranty
- Easy set-up on virtually any TV
- No monthly fee
- No PC needed
- Connects via wired ethernet or Wi-Fi (b/g/n)
Impressive Content Options
- Over 600 channels of content
- Access to streaming video content from Netflix, HuluPlus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and more
- Access to Live sports including MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, MLS Matchday, NHL GameCenter Live, and UFC
- It streams music from Pandora, MOG, Rdio and more
The Bottom Line
We use the Roku 2 XS on our 2nd TV and absolutely love it. It’s tough to argue with the simplicity, affordability and availability of streaming video content. We think this device is the perfect companion to an over-the-air antenna, allowing you to cut the cord on cable or satellite TV without breaking the bank.
Be on the lookout for deals as Roku runs direct offers published on their facebook page periodically.
Why not a perfect 5-stars score?
We believe there is always room to improve the on-screen user interface, and add more content. For $99 the Roku 2 XS is a great value!