How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Roku 2

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Roku 2

So it’s been exactly 3 months since I finally snagged a Roku 2 XD box. For the uninitiated into the wonders of “set-top boxes” – Roku is one of the numerous offerings on tap for folks who want to be able to stream Netflix, Hulu or various other online media to their TV. I’m a bit late to the game since Roku has been out for a few years already along with Boxee and the like, but the second generation of Roku boxes came out in July ’11 and I snagged mine in August.

As a hardcore movie fanatic (I love them as entertainment and as an art form), I finally discovered the joys of Netflix last Christmas when my brother gave me a 6-month subscription. Stuck with the original 1-DVD-out/unlimited streaming plan (prior to the Qwikster change-over) for a while because my old desktop machine couldn’t handle streaming properly. The one thing that does suck about streaming Netflix to the computer is that you have to have a computer with some decent muscle for it to work.

I finally got a new laptop and was able to get my money’s worth from Netflix (my laptop comes with an HDMI output so I hooked it up to the TV quite a bit) for quite some time until I hit yet another roadblock. For whatever reason, my laptop decided it didn’t like streaming Netflix anymore – resulting in invariably shutting down due to overheating. Not a good thing, of course, so what’s a geek to do? Which brings me to the point where the Roku and I met up.

The great:

– The thing is ridiculously tiny. It literally fits in the palm of my hand.

– Very minimal power consumption, especially when compared to a DVR, which I was horrified to learn actually uses as much power as a REFRIGERATOR. It doesn’t even have a power switch. If you leave it idle (even if you pause a movie) for a little while, it automatically goes into a low power mode and puts up a screensaver. As it is, the 360 and my laptop both dump a ton of heat out so one less device spewing heat like Mount Etna on a bad day is a good thing.

– It’s wireless only (which could be problematic if you’re still a slave to Ethernet cables). I love that because the wireless router is on the other side of the house from my bedroom so I’m not running at least 3 cables. As it is, there’s an entire Medusa head of cables running to and from every electronic device on my desk including about 5 cables for the speakers alone. Kill me now.

-Setting up for Netflix is a snap. You just activate the device (takes maybe 2 minutes) and you’re ready to rock. No extra charges on top besides the initial one-off outlay for the Roku itself and your usual Netflix monthly rate.

The bad:

I was pretty irked for about a month or so where I couldn’t use the Roku because subtitles were inexplicably broken on everything I tried to watch (the joys of being a movie geek with gimped hearing) and there seemed to be some confusion as to whether Roku or Netflix was at fault, according to the buzz on the Internet. There are some quirky display issues (the Instant Queue in particular seems to be a little weird about refreshing sometimes) here and there but it’s been surprisingly solid aside from the subtitle issue.

Everything’s been working great again ever since and Netflix continues to add more stuff to their growing catalog of subtitled releases so I’ve got a stupid amount of stuff in my queue as of this moment. Netflix’s diversity is absolutely the biggest selling point for me – I’ve watched so much stuff I had absolutely no idea existed or wanted to watch for years but could never find a copy anywhere. Definitely a streaming gadget I recommend.