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322 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little streamer, well-made, well-designed, easy to use. Content limited as yet but due to grow
This is a very neat, very tiny streaming box with a surprising amount of connectivity for its size (hdmi, composite video, usb, micro sd card slot, wired and wireless networking, rf and ir). The device seems to be well made, and comes with power and composite video cables - ethernet and hdmi cables are not included. I have two of these boxes connected to my wired...
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by Rainbowlight

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! CREDIT CARD DETAILS REQUIRED!
I can't comment on how good streamer is as I have returned box because Roku require credit card details even though most of channels are free. As I am reluctant to hand over my credit card details to just anybody I would not have bought this box if I was made aware of this fact in the product description.
Published 2 months ago by G. mckenzie


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322 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little streamer, well-made, well-designed, easy to use. Content limited as yet but due to grow, 5 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
This is a very neat, very tiny streaming box with a surprising amount of connectivity for its size (hdmi, composite video, usb, micro sd card slot, wired and wireless networking, rf and ir). The device seems to be well made, and comes with power and composite video cables - ethernet and hdmi cables are not included. I have two of these boxes connected to my wired network via Devolo homeplugs, which are a good way to get a wired network point behind a tv set, and they work well.

Setting up is very easy, and on-screen prompts walk you through it. I was slightly puzzled at one point, after letting the box download the latest software, when all I could get on the tv screen were bouncing purple Roku letters. I thought maybe things had locked up, as pressing all the buttons on the remote made no difference (must be the modern equivalent of banging something to make it work!) but I eventually deduced that the bouncy purple letters are displayed while the box is installing its updates, so if your system sits on these for a while, don't worry, it gets there eventually.

Once installed and updated, you can add various content channels either via the website or directly on the box, and in addition to the vetted and approved options in Roku's channel store, there are also private channels, which can be found by googling if you're interested. Roku divides its channels geographically, so UK content is at present quite limited. Having said that, there are more channels than I expected, including movie channels devoted to eg, Anime, old Westerns, old Hollywood films and the like. There are also various news, weather, tech, and other assorted sites, and a number of games. However for most people the main reason to get this box at time of writing is for Netflix, the shining star in the collection, but Lovefilm is due to arrive imminently, and Roku are keen to get 'big local content deals', so that might (or might not) mean the likes of iPlayer and 4oD one day. On their forum Roku state that "We will be adding channels each week in the UK and Ireland as we do in the US. Many of the private channels in the US will likely show up in the UK". Note that not all channels are free; Netflix requires a subscription, as will Lovefilm when it arrives.

A tip whilst registering if you have a smartphone, it's worth getting the free Roku app as this makes entering text for netflix logins etc much easier than using the onscreen keyboard with the Roku remote.

Although the box sets itself up automatically, you can change things like display resolution (720 or 1080p etc) and audio (stereo or 5.1) in the settings menu.

Very generously for such a small device, this version of the Roku box not only has rf functionality (supplied remote is bluetooth, so no line of sight needed) but also ir, which means it is compatible with all-in-one remotes including eg, the Harmony One. Note that Harmony list Roku under DVD devices.

The box has adaptive bitrate streaming, which means it adjusts the amount of data it is pulling in to match your connection speed and keep the stream flowing without buffering as far as it possibly can. This works if your linespeed goes up as well as down: if your connection improves, it will improve the picture, and vice versa. With a reasonable internet connection streaming works very well, and begins within seconds of choosing a program, so no waiting for films or tv to download.

With Netflix you can additionally choose the video quality that programs are sent in if you wish at the Netflix website, and the options range from "Good Quality" at 0.3GB per hour up to "Best Quality" at 1GB per hour or up to 2.3GB per hour for HD. This may be helpful if you have a download cap. Note that Netflix's current definition of HD starts at 720p. The quality of the tv programs marked as HD is variable; some are excellent, some look a little soft to me, compared to even SD broadcasts from some of the higher quality UK tv channels (viewing on a couple of very good panasonic hd tvs, over a stable 7.5MB connection, so should be about as good as it gets), but considering it's a streaming picture, overall it's really very good. One could wish for a little more definition here and there, but it's nowhere near being a deal breaker.

The Netflix user interface on the Roku is particularly nice: it's clearly been designed with a 'lean back' experience in mind (ie, sat back on the sofa rather than 'lean forward' as with a computer) and the icons/tiles for the programs are easy to see from a distance, and the synopsis text is easy to read. This is true even on a small screen, eg I have a 24 inch screen in the bedroom, and the display is very usable from the other side of the room. Much more readable, for instance, than the Lovefilm interface on the same screen via a Sony Blu-ray player.

One point to bear in mind: streaming video in the sort of quantity that the Roku/Netflix combination encourages causes your data usage to rocket. If you have a capped or limited broadband package, it might be an idea to keep an eye on your usage until you get a sense of what it's typically going to be if you're subject to fees or throttling/slowdown etc for exceeding your package.

Overall, despite the relative lack of channels at present, in my opinion this is a five star streamer - very small, very well-designed, well-made, very easy to use, and effective. Whether it's worth the money for Netflix alone, if the other channels don't interest you, will depend on how much you intend to watch; for me, it's worth it for the instant ease of use, (no messing around connecting the laptop to the tv), the quality of the streaming, the readable display, and for future channels such as Lovefilm.

10/02/2012 Update: BBC iPlayer is now available, with another very good and user-friendly interface, including a 'Favourites' feature for easily keeping up to date with your favourite programs.

26/04/2012 Update: Just a comment on how the content is progressing. The number of channels is steadily increasing, with new ones being added each week as promised: the tally is already over a hundred. Most of the new channels at the moment seem to be making their way over from the US. As far as the UK catch-up tv services are concerned, there may be a little while to wait, but Roku sound encouragingly pro-active about building the content according to an interview with Pocket-lint last month: "Roku...is talking to all the relevant catch-up services in the UK to bring them to the new Roku box...'The BBC iPlayer is the only catch up service on there at the moment. That will change. We are talking to all the guys you would expect us to talk to', [said] Clive Hudson, head of Roku in Europe".

18/07/2012 Update: The newly launched internet tv service from Sky, called Now TV, will be added "soon" according to Roku's blog. The service offers films on a pay-per-view or monthly subscription basis, with other content such as sport and programmes from Sky Living and Sky Atlantic to follow.

28/11/2012 Update: Sky's Now TV service has arrived. The interface is quite clunky; hopefully it's a work in progres and Sky will make it slicker over time. Small tip: at time of writing you can get 30 days free trial and then, if you wish, up to three months subscription at 9 pounds instead of 15 per month, no contract, cancel at any time. You can also get ten pounds cashback via Topcashback.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! CREDIT CARD DETAILS REQUIRED!, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
I can't comment on how good streamer is as I have returned box because Roku require credit card details even though most of channels are free. As I am reluctant to hand over my credit card details to just anybody I would not have bought this box if I was made aware of this fact in the product description.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes streaming to the television very easy., 4 Feb 2012
This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
I bought this box as a quick fix for streaming Netflix to my television and the box performs admirably.

The box itself is tiny, measuring about 3"x3"x1.5". It comes with a standard composite cable rather than HDMI, so an additional cable is required for HD picture.

Out of the box this unit can be setup within 10 minutes, with an easy to follow on screen guide to get the wireless connection going. The only issue is that you will need a computer to register on the Roku site and link the box, although this is only a small niggle.

The remote control is simple to use and required no configuring or special settings. It also runs on Bluetooth, so doesn't require line of site with the box.

Once it is setup, the Netflix interface is very easy to use and very similar to the Playstation 3 version. The quality is brilliant but is dependent on connection speed and stream quality. I'm currently running this on a 42" LCD television using BT Infinity and the quality on a lot of films and TV shows surpasses DVDs. In some cases it's almost as good as actual HD television shows. Not quite Blu-Ray, but a good alternative.

At the moment, there is not an awful lot else available on the box. The only other notable channel is crackle, a free movie streamer offering a limited selection. There is the promise of additional channels from Lovefilm and YouTube in the works, but at the time of writing, they are not available

It is also possible to add private channels of user created content including Break, Flixster, Revision3 & NowhereTV, with a list that is constantly growing.

The only game available as far as I can tell is Angry Birds, which uses the remote control as a controller, very similar to the Wii. This works surprisingly well and required no initial configuration. Great as a time waster.

Overall, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to watch netflix on the tv, this is a great option.

Edit: BBC iPlayer support has been added which runs really well. The interface is identical to the PS3 version (I'm unsure if this is the same as other units) and supports HD
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Composite output not PAL (for UK TVs), 23 Jan 2014
This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
One of the main reasons for getting this product was to add SMART TV functionality to an old analogue TV; in particular using iPlayer.
I was disappointed therefore to find that the AV composite output conformed to the USA NTSC colour encoding standard and not the UK PAL standard. Roku support confirmed that this was the case and that there was no way of changing the output to conform to the UK colour system. The upshot of this is that old UK TVs will display the AV output in black and white only.
I did however have an old TV (14 years old) that supported NTSC but this displayed another problem in that after the unit had booted up into the menus, the colour would flicker every so often. Not a major flicker but enough to be irritating. I Googled about and it would seem that the likely culprit is the use of Macrovision copy protection at a higher level than the TV was capable of ignoring.
So to get a viable picture I either had to buy a new TV (maybe SmartTV and return Roku) or try an HDMI to SCART converter which I just happened to have on me due to an earlier project (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00AQ1LCZ0/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
Well everything works fine with that adapter, but if I'd known that I'd have to use that I would have bought the Roku 3 without the composite output in the first place!

Now that it's all working I like the product - the WI-FI is fine, it streams well and the user interface is straight forward.

One last thing, don't use the HDMI output with a monitor with a HDCP compliant DVI interface as although technically it should work (not supported say Roku support) it doesn't.
Whilst the picture is clear during the boot up, once the menus appear the display alternates between a clear good picture and a screen full of coloured noise every two seconds. The unit functions as if nothing is wrong - you can play the channels etc - it's just the display alternates. Copy protection again I wouldn't wonder.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good product until it broke; support sucks., 17 Mar 2013
By 
Clarke (Linlithgow, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
I really liked my little roku. And then it broke. And then I too-ed and fro-ed for weeks with the support guys. They were helpful but I'd already googled the problem and found it was very common (the box kept loosing the bluetooth connection with the remote) and it was frustrating to go through the process before they finally agreed to get me a replacement.

This is when things went sour: they've lost my roku and won't send me a replacement.

I've been emailing backwards and forwards, waiting for them to replace the defective product ... but they're stuck.

So: good product until it broke. And now I'm screwed. And really disappointed.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great box, expanding channel lineup, great remote, low energy, try one!, 15 Aug 2012
By 
SteveINtheUKok "SteveINtheUKok" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
I replaced my Roku LT with this XS model and i'm glad I did.

The unit appears faster than the LT to do things like add new channels, etc and zip through menus.

I have noticed a large build up in channels for the Roku in recent weeks and it is now light years away from where it was when it was first launched, so treat the old reviews with a major pinch of salt. Remember, you can always return the item if you do not like it, so worth a try at least.

I like the mix of free and paid content on the Roku, there is something for everyone there, there are now multiple free movie channels and now tv show channels, mostly with old 50s movies, but there are some newer films such as on Crackle and if you can pay Netflix. Rumoured to be coming soon is SkyNow.

As for other channels, there is sports content, cooking, foreign channels, tech, weather, reviews, traffic cameras, you name it, its on there. Do however keep your expectations in check. Your not going to get the latest blockbuster movies or TV shows for free, that is a fantasy, but you will get free content and you will get new movies if you pay, this is a new industry and content will improve as it grows and matures, so keep that in mind.

It's certainly better than most Smart TV platforms and so far I have tried AppleTV, Sony Qriocity and Samsung Smart Apps and it beats all of those.

Connectivity: There are multiple options to hook this box us to use content stored on your Mac or PC, I personally choose Plex and it works well. The XS also has a USB socket and will play many files via that socket, so USB keys, USB HDD's, etc.

Sound too technical, don't panic, you just plug in, and follow the on-screen prompts, if your using wired ethernet/network cables its super easy, if your using wireless all you need is the name of your wireless network and the password, which is normally printed on your router or on a card, etc. Easy peasy.

The Bluetooth remote is nice, no need to point it directly at the box and there can be a table in the way, it doesn't care as its done by radio rather than infra red light. The remote has gyroscopic sensors so you end up with something like a Wii controller which you can use in games I recommend Angry Birds and You Don't Know Jack (free and paid versions) which really show the machine off in its best light.

It's a small black box with HDMI, Ethernet, power, memory card slot (micro or miniSD forget which) and a USB on the side, also wireless built in. Due to the radio remote...you can tuck it away behind the telly or anywhere out of sight, which is quite cool. It uses a tiny 2w of electricity while watching a movie, less when not, crazy, the Sky HD box uses around 40w in standby alone, so the Roku never turns off, it doesn't need to.

Great box, lots of great stuff on it to explore and there are more channels several times a week right now as I write this.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, but it's no Boxee, 2 Mar 2012
By 
VJ (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
I already own a Boxee, which I love, but I was setting up a TV in the spare room for the kids and thought I'd give this a whirl. On the plus side, it works, the remote control is nice and responsive and works well with the handful of available games.

Video playback is of an acceptable quality as is the sound.

Video streaming is also very good, so far from Netflix and iPlayer.

Downloading a free app allows you to play music and video from a USB device (either FAT32 or NTFS)

All in all, it's a good little device if you want to bring Netflix and iPlayer to your TV.

Now the bad points. Unlike Boxee, Roku can't access media stored on your home network - I had assumed it would, I should have researched more before I bought it I suppose, on the other hand, if the kids are going to use it I can restrict what they watch to whatever is connected directly to the Roku, so for this purpose, its fine.

I can't set specific settings for the network connection - this won't bother most people, but I use a private DNS server - Boxee can handle this, but for Roku, I'd need to change the setting on the router which I don't want to do.

I didn't like the idea of giving Roku my credit card details before I'd even finished setting the damn thing up.

It doesn't support AVI files. That's right, Roku doesn't support the single most popular video format on the planet, so, the videos I need to provide to the kids all need to be converted first. Boxee on the other hand, handles any video format you throw at it.

On the whole, given that Boxee Boxes are down to about 145, I would recommend buying a Boxee over the Roku any day of the week - it is so much more flexible than Roku. This Roku device will be fine in the spare room, but having used a Boxee for the past six months, I'd be very disappointed if I had to use this in my living room instead of Boxee.

UPDATE:

A kind poster commented below on how you can install the Plex app and access media on the home network (thank you very much for that). I can report that it works well and adds much needed functionality to the Roku, however it still isn't a patch on the Boxee - the interface isn't as swish, it mis-named a TV series, and doesn't provide movie summary or TV episode summaries the way Boxee does.

All in all, the PLEX app is a great addition, but it still isn't Boxee. Take my advice, spend a little more and buy a Boxee. Sure, you can't play Angry Birds on a Boxee, but why the heck would you want to?

Thanks again to the person who pointed me in the direction of PLEX - you are a star!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good little box., 24 Nov 2013
This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
Excelent choice to watch TV channels from over the world, movies, cartoons and music for free on you TV set. All you need is this box anda an Internet connection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job!, 7 Mar 2013
By 
Paul James Denman (England UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
It shows Netflix in 1080p, probably other stuff to if you NEED it.
Beware of the wireless set-up, if you (like most people) use WPA-PSK2 you will have to temporarily disable this, set-up and configure the box, then re-boot and set your security back to normal.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 52 year old replacing Virgin TV Package & LoveFilm subscription, 27 Oct 2012
By 
David Shillito (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player (Electronics)
Roku box streaming content player bought through Amazon.co.uk

After years with Virgin Media I realised I was paying over-the-odds for an XL TV package, 90% of which I didn't watch. The very action of scrolling through legions of channels I would never watch in and of itself induced dissatisfaction

We are well into an age where consumer choice drives ever narrower nich channeling of media, tailored to the individual - so the Virgin & SkyTV Sport, Family or History type 'bundles' are just plain inappropriate - waaaaayyyyyu too restrictive.

People have quickly gone from 'wanting more of what they want, and less of what they dont want' to 'demanding an unlimited ammount of EXACTLY what they want, and ABSOLOUTLY none of what they dont'

Enter the streaming player. The Americans are ahead of us in the UK when it comes to available content on streaming players. Don't for a moment think this is to do with technology - it's all about contract negotiation, syndication, rights etc etc.

... but the mass switch to net based streaming content is a-coming, and the big UK terrestrial channels' iplayers and catch-up services are their first nods at this sea change

The irony is, I switched to net streaming as I actually want to watch LESS TV

Im not an 'early adpoter' by nature, so I didnt 'anorak' for hours comparing players. I figure whatever I get will be old news in 18 months time, and the reviews of Roku were as good social proof as I needed. I went for the Roku2.

I already had a LoveFilm account, and was eager to see if a subscription to NetFlix would replace it, figuring unlimited movie streaming for 5 a month is better than 4 DVDs a month. Now Im set up with the Roku (which was easy & I used a cat5 hardwire, not wireless connection) & I have a new NetFlix account ... I will be KEEPING my LoveFilm subscription

Netflix is GREAT. You can sample a movie, & if it turns out to be crap just stop & choose another! The downside is, many of the movies you know WONT be crap, just aren't on NetFlix. I look at it this way, with both subscriptions I get the best of both worlds.

As for the Roku, it is smaller than I expected, but is well built & works perfectly. Restricted UK content is a pain ... but you can find hacks on the internet to open up a whole new world of fun, if thats your bag ;0)

I am pleased with the Roku2, and it does the job well, in so far as what job is available for it to do late 2012. I imagine in 2 years time I will get some other magic box which combines vastly improved streaming, Tivo/Sky+ like recording capacity, the same choice as the Yanks etc etc ... but we are not there yet

So if you are like I was, sick of paying for 199 channels you never watch and not having access to content you DO want to watch on your TV (e.g. TED Talks, YouTube etc)then streaming content is for you

It wont be the last streaming player you ever buy, but as Im writing this late October 2012, Roku2 is an excellent choice
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