It used to be that the set-top box your cable company or your satellite dish company gave you was the only box other than the VCR that sat near your television. About a decade and a half ago, TiVo appeared on the scene and kind of revolutionized what the set-top box could do.
Today, in an age when the Internet is an important way to obtain content for your television, there are all kinds of new set-top boxes that are suddenly on the scene. There noteworthy for the kind of names they have alone – Slingbox, Apple TV and Roku, for instance. Roku, one of the last ones, happens to be particularly interesting for all that it offers. What is Roku, you ask? That’s what we’re here to know.
Roku is basically a small and glossy black box that comes with a remote that you connect to your television. What it brings to you is an ability to get content from the Internet to play on your TV. The little box can receive digital broadcasts from the Internet through Wi-Fi or through Ethernet cable, and it can display those on your television.
If you’re still working with a regular picture tube television, Roku can still put out signals that your old fuddy duddy of a TV can understand. It comes with connections for component video, HDMI and composite video. Sound goes out through optic fiber or through regular RCA plugs.
But you probably could guess this much. What you’re interested in is what is Roku cable of bringing to you in content selection.
Roku itself is free to use once you buy the thing. What you pay for are subscriptions to services like Netflix, Video on Demand by Amazon, Hulu Plus, and so on. You also get access to Facebook Photos, Flickr and Vimeo.
The great thing about Roku is how affordable it is. The basic model at $60 puts out HD; for $20 more, you get full HD, and the top-of-the-line model, the XDS, that sells for all of $100 gets you all kinds of extra digital I/O options – like media player functionality for instance through a provided USB port.
It’s very difficult to argue against Roku when it comes at such an affordable price point. Controlling Internet video through a remote control is a great way to go.
However, you need to keep in mind that Roku does come with its own limitations. For instance, it doesn’t have any recording. And even if it does allow you to watch full HD, it can be difficult to find any content out there.
Still, what is Roku or any other Internet video box with a downside? The thing is, if you find that it serves your purposes well, Roku is a great service.