Friday, September 7, 2012

ROKU 2 XS

ROKU 2 XS

Why You'll Dig it:

The Roku 2 XS lets you stream media from the internet direct to your TV, turning your last-generation LCD or CRT TV into a next-generation Smart TV. Connect it to your TV using HDMI or composite outputs, with HDMI essential if you want to view media in 720p or 1080p. The Roku 2 XS has built-in 802.1 In Wi-Fi as well as 100MBit Ethernet port, so you don't have to trail more wires around the TV stand. However, the Roku's light frame meant the weight of the HDMI cable sometimes made it rise off the TV stand.

Media streamers require an excellent user interface if they're to be a pleasure to use, and the Roku 2 XS's is fantastic. Its animations are smooth and fluid, and its control system is self-explanatory and easy to use. It consist of a series of options that scroll across the screen. If you select an option, you're presented with another horizontally scrolling list. This keeps the interface simple and consistent throughout.

When you first connect the Roku 2 XS, you're guided through a delightfully simple setup process that takes minutes to complete, but you'll need an internet connected computer to activate the unit. You also have to provide payment details before you can use the streamer, so you can make purchases from the unit's Channel Store.

Once set up, you can easily change settings and download new channels from the Channel Store, such as Netflix, iPlayer and Crackle. You can also download games, and you get the highly addictive Angry Birds for free, although sadly not the HD version. The quality of the picture depends to a large extent on that of the channel being streamed, but certain channels such as iPlayer HD looked fantastic. There's decent number of channels from which to choose. Some channels must be bought, some require a subscription and some, such as the excellent Crackle film channel, are free.

You can also play media from a locally connected USB flash drive or hard disk, but your choice of file type is limited to MP3, AAC, MP4, MKV, JPG and PNG. Annoyingly, the Roku 2 XS doesn't stream media to or from a network-based PC out of the box; you have to use an app such as Plex or Roku. These are both free, but you need to install a server on your PC to stream the media, so they won't work with a NAS device.

Conclusion:

Roku's 2 XS is a lovely compact media streamer with a great interface, but its LAN streaming and file support is limited.

Product Details:

Internet Streaming SDevice: 1x HDMI output, 1x composite output, supports AAC, MP3 audio, H-264, MP4, MKV video, one year warranty;
Part Code: Roku 2 XS;

Where can I buy it?

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