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Unwrapping Christmas 2010 in San Diego, CA

Battle For The Living Room - Round 1 Roku

Media-playersOver the last couple of months I've been trying to decide what the best device was to purchase that would allow the family to access the "most" digital content in our living room.

Some things that mattered:

  • Access to Internet content: NetFlix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, podcasts, etc
  • Streaming media from the local network
  • Ability to play media from local storage
  • Reasonable up front cost, upgradeable, viable roadmap, track record of improvements
  • Technical features: easy GUI, upgradable, Ethernet, WiFi, and HDMI

The choices were pretty competitive in many ways -- Apple TV (new & old), Roku, Google TV, Western Digital WD TV, Game Players (Xbox, Wii, PS3), Boxee Box, etc with each having many good points but also a number of issues that just couldn't be over come.

My decision was to go with the Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p that is currently on sale at Amazon for $99.  It seems to be the one that hits most of the requirements with the only big issue right now is that it does not seem to play well in the Apple ecosystem with video, but you can reportedly stream audio from existing iTunes collections to the device.

After I get the device up and running (it should arrive in a couple of days) I'll send out an updated review.  If you have done a similar analysis, I'd love to hear what decision you have made.  If you have any suggestions or hints on how to better use a Roku device, I'd like to hear that also.




I got several devices since, at the time, one box didn't do it all. I got an older AppleTV, a Vudu box, and a Tivo. I rarely fire up the Vudu anymore but it made me a believer of on-demand streaming video.

Now with Netflix streaming support, the Tivo is still my main machine, but mainly for television. I've bought Amazon movie rentals in the past but that download time is a killer. Netflix streaming is okay (some better than others) but there's no way of browsing Netflix movies from the Tivo. I had to add movies to my queue from a computer.

The AppleTV is good for getting my content stored on my Mac. Its main use is for my own photos and movies. Easier for the family to view pics on my AppleTV-connected television.

Steve Holden

Geewhy - Thanks for the input. I didn't actually look at the Vudu or the Tivo. We have the most basic cable from Cox so that might be why I didn't consider the Tivo.

Mandy Steinhardt

We looooove our Roku. It's much faster to watch Amazon rentals than Tivo. We do not have cable, just antenna, Roku and Netflix and the occasional Amazon rental. It's awesome. Hope you are enjoying it.

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