Roku Netflix Player Product Review – Part 2

This Roku XDS product review is continued from Roku Netflix Player Product Review – 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

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.

Roku Video Player TV Menu - Netflix Watch Instantly

Roku Video Player TV Menu – Netflix Watch Instantly

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 Netflix Player: "UP" by Disney/Pixar

Roku Netflix Player: “UP” by Disney/Pixar

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 because only the home theater receiver needs to be on for music.

Roku Player: Pandora Radio

Roku Player: Pandora Radio

Roku YouTube Channel – Alternate Method

Watching YouTube on TV is loads of fun! Add the YouTube channel to your Roku player by following these instructions at the Roku Support forum.

Update: The Roku 3 player with ver 5.3 software is now required to watch YouTube, but you can try this alternate method.

Roku YouTube Channel

Roku YouTube Channel

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:

Roku YouTube Channel - Search and Select Videos

Roku YouTube Channel – Search and Select Videos

YouTube videos look great on TV with the Roku player. Here I’ve paused the video with the Roku remote control.

Roku YouTube Channel: Music Video

Roku YouTube Channel: Music Video

Vertical Green Line on TV Screen

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!

Enjoy!

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2014 HandymanHowTo.com   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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14 Responses to Roku Netflix Player Product Review – Part 2

  1. Marshall Lindsay February 13, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    I have no phone line or cable. Use cell phones, Direct TV and a Verizon air card on my laptop to access web. How can I use one of the Roku units to stream movies from Netflix?

    • Bob Jackson February 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      What is your AirCard model number?

      If it’s the PC Card style that slides into your laptop, you’ll have some technical work to route the Internet connection through your laptop’s Ethernet port to a switch for Roku connectivity. Not easy to do and requires more detail than I can provide here.

      If your AirCard is the USB modem type, the home networking solution is easy. Just plug the USB AirCard into to the USB interface on a WiFi router. Now you’re rocking with a AirCard powered WiFi home network for your Roku and laptop. See NetGear 3G Mobile Broadband router for an example of what you need with the AirCard modem: Netgear 3G Mobile Broadband Router

      When you need to travel, just unplug the AirCard USB modem from the WiFi router and take it with you to use directly with the laptop.

  2. Cecil Owens October 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I just got a Roku box and they said it would not work with broadband aircard. I see what you are saying, I have a quest., Do I have to make sure that the router I get recognizes my aircard? I have an older Alltel 3g card that I need to get rid of but I still have unlimited plan. Please respond. Thanks

    • Bob Jackson October 22, 2011 at 9:43 am #

      > Do I have to make sure that the router I get recognizes my aircard?
      The AirCard will need to be setup as the “Internet modem” to your WiFi router as so:
      Internet — AirCard — WiFi home router — WiFi — RoKu — TV

  3. Cecil Owens October 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    I’m not the sharpest knife, you know what I mean? So if I set this thing up as the example you gave to Marshall (above) it should work and If I get the suggested USB router also in the example with the cradle, I should be OK, right?

  4. Cecil Owens October 23, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Thanks Bob, you have been HANDY!! Thanks

  5. Cecil Owens March 2, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Hi, Bob this is an update to the above quest. I went and bought the Cradlepoint router for my broadband internet connection and my Roku box and got set up. When I select a channel it loads and within a few minutes it reloads or rebuffers. Is there anything I can do to my computer to improve the streaming quality. Thanks

    • Bob Jackson March 3, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Your Internet bandwidth can’t keep up with the streaming movie. Try reducing the video bandwidth adjusting the video quality settings in your Netflix account.

      1) Log in to your Netflix account.
      2) Click Your Account & Help at the top right corner of the screen.
      3) Scroll down to WATCHING INSTANTLY ON YOUR TV OR COMPUTER.
      4) Click Manage Video Quality.
      5) Click Good quality (up to 0.3 GB per hour).
      6) Try Watch Instantly and check the video quality.

  6. Cecil Owens March 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Thanks for the respond. It’s not Netflix, it’s the whole nine yards. It is buffering on everything and when I finally get in to a channel it is very brief and then it goes back out to buffer. I’ve tried freeing up my computer by deleting a bunch of junk, so it might be a little faster but still the same. Thanks

    • Bob Jackson March 4, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      Do a speed test to measure your downstream bandwidth at http://www.speedtest.net.

      Compare your download speed to the video streaming requirements for the services you’re watching. For example, Hulu recommends a minimum of 1000Kpbs (= 1Mbps) downstream bandwidth.

      If your Aircard throughput is less than the required bandwidth for the various video streaming services, then you’ll continue to experience delays.

  7. Cecil Owens March 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    My speed is slow. So I guess I will have to put up with it or change a different way to access the internet. Thanks

  8. Claudia July 12, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Hello, do I need to have a Roku for each tv? I have WiFi at home and 4 tv’s

    • Bob Jackson July 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      You will need a Roku for each TV.

      It’s possible to get inventive with RF remotes, powered 1×4 HDMI signal splitters and wireless HDMI transmitter/receivers to share a Roku if you’re willing to watch the same program on all TVs. However, the extra equipment is way more expensive and hassle than simply buying a Roku box for each TV.

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