This week, I'll continue sharing my experiences with the new Roku 2 XS player. In case you missed last week's column, this player is the top level of the newest line of Roku Internet media players.
The Roku 2 XS player comes with a full version of the popular Angry Birds game pre-installed. I must admit — or should say warn — this game can become very addictive.
To complement the Angry Birds game, and others to follow, is the wireless, Bluetooth, motion-sensored remote that comes with the Roku 2 XS. One thing about the remote I don't like is it doesn't have volume controls or a power button. That's right — the Roku box is always on but it only takes a minimal amount of power, so no worries about running up the electric bill.
As for viewing content, there are hundreds of channels in the Roku Channel Store. In addition, there are a bunch of private channels that also can be added to the Roku. Among the channels of streaming content are movies, TV shows, games, cartoon and movie classics, podcasts, music, concerts and so much more.
Currently, I have chosen 80 channels for my Roku player. My channels are mostly from the Roku Channel Store but I do have a handful of private channels as well. My favorites among the 80 channels include Antena Latina, Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Pandora, Revision3, PlayOn and Angry Birds, just to name a few.
Since I already have an Amazon Prime account, all I had to do was link my account to my Roku player to enjoy Amazon Instant Videos on my Roku player. Instant Videos are one perk I'm thoroughly enjoying from Amazon in addition to my free, two-day shipping.
As for paid content, I signed up for a free trial month of Netflix. I wanted to see how its service performed on the Roku player before subscribing and I actually was impressed. Netflix got its start as the original Roku Netflix Player and I think they make a great team.
Netflix has a nice selection of TV episodes and movies. The first Netflix movie I watched on my Roku player was “Toy Story 3.” The video quality was crystal clear and it only briefly buffered twice. It was a busy time of the day when I was watching the movie so that is taken into consideration.
The best thing of all is an unlimited streaming Netflix membership allows activation on up to six devices. In the end, it seems both logical and value worthy having a streaming-only subscription to Netflix to enjoy on the Roku.
Next, I signed up for a free one-week trial of Hulu Plus. I've watched the regular Hulu service on a netbook in the past and was please with its performance.
However, my free week of Hulu Plus is almost up and I have yet to watch anything they have to offer. I'm hoping I can squeeze in some shows before my time runs out so I'll know whether or not it is worth starting a subscription with them.
On a side note, Hulu Plus is offering a free one month of service if a user links a Facebook account to a Hulu account. In addition, for every friend a user gets to subscribe, the user can earn two weeks free of Hulu Plus.
So far, I am still loving my Roku 2 XS and it has been fun learning how it operates. It's almost crazy how something so small can offer so much entertainment.
If you are looking for an alternative to your current TV and movie viewing options, check out the new Roku offerings. They are inexpensive, feature loads of great Internet content and are loads of fun too. Visit www.roku.com for details.
Note: A TV, broadband Internet access and a Roku account is required.
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