This Roku XDS product review is continued from Part 1 which covered the Roku player hardware and setup. I’m ready now to relax and watch Netflix instantly on my HDTV!
Roku Netflix Watch Instantly Demonstration
The Roku will list the movies in your Netflix Instant Queue, which is nice because anything you add using the computer will reflect here. You can also find movies using the Roku remote control by clicking Search widget in the center of the screen.
In this next image, I’ve paused the movie UP by Disney/Pixar. You can fast forward and rewind at slow/medium/fast speeds with the remote. The video and sound quality was excellent. However, many Netflix movies are not Dolby 5.1 surround sound encoded so you’ll get stereo instead.
Roku: Pandora Radio
Roku has a free Pandora Radio channel. A one time activation is necessary to link your Pandora account to the Roku player. We fire up the TV to select the Panadora radio station we want to listen to, then turn off the TV since only the home theater receiver needs to be on for music.
Roku YouTube Channel
Watching YouTube on TV is loads of fun! Add the YouTube channel to your Roku player by following these simple instructions at the Roku Support forum. The YouTube channel is free and will appear in your Roku channel lineup very shortly – in less than 1 minute in my experience.
The Roku YouTube channel application is nicely organized with several categories for featured and most watched videos. Use the search option to find your favorite artists and videos. Here I’ve searched for Lady Gaga to display all of her videos:
YouTube videos look great on TV with the Roku player. Here I’ve paused the video with the Roku remote control.
Vertical Green Line
The vertical green line down the left side of the screen is an alignment error where the image is shifted a few pixels to the right leaving an exposed area that displays as a thin green line or bar. I’ve tried adjusting the TV picture options and changed the Roku display from 1080p to 720p resolution, but the green line is still there. It’s an overscan or pixel mapping imperfection that’s easy to ignore. My next troubleshooting steps are to try the second HDMI port on the TV and/or 1080p component video cables. If I find a fix, I’ll post an update.
Roku Netflix Player – Two Thumbs Up!
Roku fundamentally changes the TV viewing experience by bringing streaming Internet video into the living room. I used to get bored because watching TV because “there’s 250 channels but nothing’s on” or I’ve already watched the Netflix CD’s received in the mail. Now I can surf the extensive Netflix Watch Instantly streaming video library, laugh at YouTube videos or simply listen to my favorites on commercial free Pandora radio.
For ease of use and value for the money, Roku is a winner!
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