Bob Rankin: Can Roku Replace Cable TV?

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By Bob Rankin

Roku 2 Review

Essentially, the Roku 2 is a very small WiFi streaming-media box that offers about 300 Internet “channels” of video and audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Pandora, NHL, NBA, and MLB. It brings internet movies and online TV show to any standard or HDTV television sets, and it supports a Wii-like motion controller for casual gaming. (Angry Birds is the first and so far only game included with Roku 2.)

Roku has built its reputation as one of the best values in streaming-media devices by continually improving its product and its service offerings. Although the latest box is dubbed Roku 2, the product has gone through four iterations since its debut in 2008. Roku 2 packs a lot of features into a palm-sized box priced at less than $100.

Three Roku 2 models are available to accommodate different tastes. If you’re into gaming, you will want the top-of-the-line XS model, priced at $99.99. It includes the Bluetooth-powered motion controller you’ll need to play casual games as more become available. The XS model sports an Ethernet port in addition to 802.11n connectivity, should you wish to go hard wired instead of wireless. It also features a USB port so you can play local video, audio, and photo files. The XS supports 1080p HDTV, but you can also use it with older non-HD sets.

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This excerpt is shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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