My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Roku streaming player allows you to watch streaming Internet content on your TV. Roku easily plugs into your TV and receives Wi-Fi from your home network. Set-up is easy and you’re up and running in no time.
The Roku menu is easy to navigate using a simple remote (one more remote!). The Roku menu includes a number of “channels” such as subscription services like Netflix, HuluPlus, and Amazon, plus many more free content providers. There is no monthly fee for the Roku box, it is a one-time hardware purchase. The Roku box is not much larger than a deck of playing cards.
With over 350 channels, and more coming all the time, Roku provides an almost unlimited amount of content. There are live sports, music, photo and video sharing, games, international programming, radio, tech news, non-tech news, podcasts, and cartoons. Some of my favorites include NASA TV, Khan Academy, and TEDTalks. Pandora and TuneIn Radio provide music and Internet radio. Popular Internet sites such as Facebook, Flixster, Fandango, Flickr, and Vimeo (no YouTube yet, as far as I can tell) provide social networking and video content.
For a movie and TV buff like me, Roku is a dream. Besides having access to my Netflix account, there are a number of channels that provide free movies and TV. Most of these are public domain titles, but there are a few channels that offer more recent releases. Crackle, in particular, has a large library of free content including a lot of anime and science fiction that is worth looking at. PopcornFlix has similar content, although not much of it is worth watching.
There are several channels dedicated to anime, such as Crunchyroll and Anime Vice.
For the bad-movie aficionado there are several channels to choose from, including Drive-In Classics, Moonlight Movies, and Pub-D-Hub.
Pub-D-Hub is my new favorite channel. They have an extensive and eclectic catalog of public domain titles. For animation fans, there are many old cartoons such as Betty Boop, Felix the Cat, old Merry Melodies, Popeye, and Superman. I’ve seen Winsor McCay’s Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend from 1921, a forgotten classic. On the other end of the scale, they also have Lego Star Wars from 2008. There are also a few foreign cartoons.
Pub-D-Hub’s movie selections are diverse—including all kinds of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Of particular note are short educational and “cautionary” films—things like “Duck and Cover” and “VD is for Everybody,” and “Good Grooming for Girls.” There are even old TV commercials for all kinds of products, including toys and cigarettes.
I’ll be exploring my new Roku player much more in the days to come.