Roku XDS Streaming Player – The Future of TV

The Roku streaming player truly is an impressive device. While not necessarily a replacement, the Roku XDS Streaming Player 1080p is serious alternative to cable TV. If your tired of cable TV prices this is the product for you. My motivation to buy Roku came from high cable bills.

This small device streams movies, TV shows, music, and other entertainment to your TV via the Internet. Since Roku streams video, it provides instant access to a huge library of entertainment without having to use a computer or store files locally on a hard drive.

There are free and premium entertainment channels on Roku. Free channels include music services (like Pandora, RadioTime), major network news (Roku Newscaster), original programming on current events and culture (Revision3, Twit.tv), photo and video sharing (Flickr, Facebook Photos, Vimeo), and much more.

Premium channels include subscription movie, TV, sports, and music services (like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Pandora) and on-demand services (Amazon Video On Demand). Many of these channels offer free trials or make parts of their service available for free. I’d recommend signing up for the free trials of these services and poking around.

Hulu plus is nice and worth the money for sure. When you subscribe to shows on Hulu, when there is a new episode it goes in your queue. The shows take a day to hit.

Crackle is free and hosts a lot of classic shows and some movies. The USB player can play your mp3 collection, photos, and even movies. Roku is an open source device so anyone can make a channel. Do a search and there is some cool stuff out there. “Nowhere TV” is one of the best.

There are so many options on how to connect the Roku xds streaming player 1080p to your TV witch allows you to move the Roku box around in the house and attach it to other TV’s. Even if your old TV only has red-white-yellow connectors you can connect Roku to it.

Setup of this device took only minutes and the picture is awesome on my 1080p LCD. The Roku has composite, component and HDMI outputs; only composite cables are furnished. You’ll have to buy an HDMI cable if you want to use the HDMI output. HDMI cables are much cheaper from amazon than a local store where they tend to be pricey.

The ROKU XDS Streaming Player 1080p is the top of the line Roku player and features the latest wireless technology (B/N/G compatible), as well as Ethernet, and USB.

The wireless networking on the device is extended-range dual-band 802.11n (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) and backward compatible with b/g routers with WEP, WPA and WPA2 support. If wireless isn’t an option for you, the unit has an Ethernet port.

The physical installation using the provided installation instructions and a separately purchased HDMI cable was straight-forward. The set-up option chosen was “wireless” using my existing router, rather than poking a hole through the wall.

You will, of course, need a 802.11n router to take advantage of 5GHz 802.11n’s. You also need fast high-speed Internet. 3Mbps is a good minimum for streaming 720p HD and 6Mbps is probably preferable if you share your internet connection with family. According to the user’s guide there’s no power button and the unit is always on when connected to a power source. This makes me curious about power consumption.

During playback (using WiFi or Ethernet) the power consumption is a modest 6 to 7 watts, and when screen saver is in standby mode the power consumption is 5 watts.

However, there is no cooling fan so it is as quiet as a church mouse.

The remote control operates excellent and also fairly quickly. Navigating any stations is without a doubt quite simple, despite the fact that I think it is much easier to perform a heavy research associated with Netflix upon my personal PC. It is quite simple to use if you’re technology experienced. If you’re not, there’ll be an understanding contour in comparison to common TV. However once you understand exactly what exhibits tend to be upon that channels, it is truly fairly simple.

Bottom line

The Roku is the best streaming device out there now because of all the free content there is on it. What’s more, the channel lineup should only get even better in the future as Roku developers and individuals keep working on content. At this price too, it’s a very good deal.

What Are the Best Online Movie Rental Sites?

There are now many different websites that rent out movies online. It has gotten to the point where it is too much of a hassle to rent a movie at a traditional store. Online movie rental sites are usually more reasonable than their offline counterparts, and this is hurting traditional movie stores quite a bit. Blockbuster has recently launched an online movie rental feature, and is catching up to the competition quickly.

Cinemanow is a relatively new website in the online movie rental business but they are a very nice company to purchase from. They make deals with film makers and convince them to offer their movies for sale/rent via stream or download on their website.

Cinemanow is one of the best online movie rental sites out there, and they have some really excellent movies available. Another popular website that has a rental service is Amazon. Many people do not know they have such a service, but if you go to the video on demand section of their website, you will find that they not only offer movies, but new TV shows for rent as well. Amazon is a well established company and it is always a pleasure using them whenever possible. Last but not least, is Netflix. Netflix started the online movie craze, and they still dominate the market.

Of all the top websites for movie rentals, Netflix is still one of the best. You can have DVDs delivered to your home, or you can stream your selection live over the internet. Netflix seems to have the widest variety of movies and TV shows available. All of these are good rental companies, and you are sure to find something you like at each store. Whether you prefer to pay one low monthly fee, or individually by the rental, there is a service out there that will match your preferences.

Online Movie Rental – What Movie Viewers Want

Consumers have a number of options when it comes to viewing movies at home. Two of the most popular are renting movies at the local video store and renting movies via an online service. An informal survey was recently conducted on a home electronics/entertainment site regarding the movie viewing habits of website visitors. The results pointed to some of the misconceptions that still exist about online rental of DVDs by consumers that have not yet tried the service.

Participants in the survey were asked a number of questions, including how often they watch movies at home, whether or not they rent movies online, and if not, why. Nearly 28% of those responding indicated that they rent movies online. Of the remainder, the most frequently cited reason for not using an online movie rental service was concern which centered around the perception that online movie rental would be more expensive than the local video store. When looking at a couple of scenarios it becomes evident which method tends to be more affordable.

For individuals who indicated that they watch only 1 to 3 movies per month the savings from renting online are small. Renting 2 movies per month at the local video store would average around $7.40 whereas renting from Netflix for example, if they chose the plan that has a limit of 2 movies per month, would run $5.99. After getting a video at the local store the user would have overnight or perhaps one week to return the movie but an online rental would allow them to keep the movie for an unlimited period of time.

For those individuals who responded that they view 1-3 movies per week, the savings would be more significant. For instance, renting 8 movies per month would run around $29.55 at the local store and as low as $14.99 online if they chose the “2 out at a time” plan or $17.99 for the “3 out at a time” plan. As viewing increases so does the likelihood of experiencing greater savings.

For those who responded that they view 4 movies per week (averaged out to 16 per month) the average cost at the local store would be $59.04 while online rental would be $23.99 allowing the user “4 out at a time”. Renting through a service like Netflix generally does not limit how many movies a person views but rather, how many movies they can have out at any given time. Therefore rentals are more or less unlimited with many of the plans.

The second most frequently cited reason for not utilizing online movie rental services was that the individual rented movies on the spur of the moment and did not plan ahead. Certainly renting movies online and receiving them through the mail would not allow someone to decide at 6:00 p.m. that they want to see The Queen and receive it so that they can be viewing the movie by 8:00 p.m. However, the delay for receiving movies selected through the mail is only 1 business day which would seem sufficient in most instances.

The future of DVD rental may be changing however as Netflix announced in early 2007 that customers would now have the option of watching movies instantly via a streaming service that is now available for some movies. The service should be quicker than most download services as streaming allows viewing of the movie as it is streamed rather than waiting until download is complete. Although a full transition from the current mail delivery system to a download type of service will take time, it is clear that immediacy will only continue to improve. It would seem that other online movie rental services would follow suit in coming years in order to compete.

Consumers who have not been initiated into the online movie rental world also may be unaware of other benefits/features of such services.

* Greater selection- A typical video store has 10,000 to 15,000 titles available whereas the Netflix online movie rental service has over 80,000. This would seem to eliminate the problem of consumers arriving at the store only to find that there is nothing there that they really want to see.

* There are no fees related to the delivery and return of DVD’s; and there is no traveling to and from the store as movies are delivered to their door or to their home via streaming.

* Movie selection is assisted by user reviews through online programs like Netflix.

* Trials of online movie rental services are generally risk free as there are free trials available and no cancellation fees.

* There are never any late fees nor restrictions on how long a movie can be kept.

Misconceptions about online movie rental services appear to limit the participation of a significant number of consumers. Online movie rental probably offers the services that most consumers want, even if they don’t know it yet.