In case you haven’t heard of it, Roku is a small $99Â set top box that lets Netflix subscribers watch over 12,000 on demand shows and movies for free.Â Â Â We bought ours shortly after we canceled cable and have been really pleased with it.Â Â Here’s why…
1.Â It’s like having a free on demand cable box without having to pay for cable: If you are already a Netflix subscriber, all shows and movies on Roku (approximately 12,000) are free. Â If you aren’t, you can sign up for a $8.99/month unlimited Netflix plan.Â So for less than the cost of basic cable, we get unlimited instant rentals each month.
2. Much cheaper than Itunes. We recently got hooked on the show Heroes and watched the entire first season (23 episodes) on our Roku for free.Â Â If we bought the season on Itunes, it would have cost $64.99.
3. No commercials: Unlike Hulu.com, there are no commercials – even on the TV shows.Â So you can watch your favorite one hour TV shows in about 42 minutes.
4. Easy to use interface. The remote only has a few buttons and the graphic interface shows a picture of each DVD on the TV screen.Â So simple that our three year old can find his favorite shows and play them on his own.
5. Great for kids. Since titles are added from a master account on our computer, the only shows and movies on the Roku are one’s we have personally reviewed and think are appropriate for our kids to watch.Â And if we make a mistake or change our mind, we can easily update the queue remotely at any time.
Any downside? Sure, when we first got our Roku, there was a limited selection of current movies.Â Â This has gotten much better, mostly due to their recent partnership with the STARZ movie channel.Â Â Since most brand new releases still take a while to appear on Roku, we still watch a lot of movies the old fashioned way (DVD) using our Netflix subscription.Â But since our membership includes 3 DVDs at a time as well as unlimited Roku movies, we almost always have something good to watch on TV.
2011 Update: Roku now offers 3 different models with pricing dropped to $69 for a basic model up to $99 for their deluxe model. Roku also now supports Amazon Instant Video, which lets you instantly watch current releases for about $4 a piece.
Great blog — I put it in rss. Love your calculator. It’s so true.
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I’ve been using Netflix since June and there are so many good movies and TV series to instantly watch that I’ve only turned on my cable for less than 10 hours in these 6 months. It’s time to turn off the cable completely! I get 3 movies per week mailed to me and spend the rest of my time watching instant movies.
I just want everyone to know that you do NOT have to buy the $99 box. I use my HDTV as my computer monitor with a $40 HDMI cable and I can watch all the instant view movies on my huge widescreen HDTV. Newer movies have better resolution but they are all still good and I saved $99.
It’s all about bandwidth and ISP networks…
On the downside, keep in mind that Netflix video streaming requires bandwidth and no network congestion. Many users experience loss of picture/rebuffering problems due to network related issues that you would not see or notice when surfing the web or watching a small screen UTube or website video. There is no hard drive so the buffering is more limited than using your PC. which may not exhibit the video loss/resyncing. All in all the Roku box is a great product but you may not always recieve the high picture quality or uninterupted picture
We love our Roku. And now we can buy movies and shows to stream through Amazon on the Roku. This widens the range of current shows. For instance, we are watching Mad Men, Season 3 only one day behind the broadcast!
To the blogger: are you still blogging on this topic? No updates since June. Please also see my Facebook group called
“I don’t have Cable or Satellite TV” at
i have direct our bill keeps growin we r considerin roku Can we tape programs and do we need tivo or dvr THANKS MUCH
We use our Roku and HuluPlus subscription in place of a DVR, but if you really like TiVo, pretty sure they support over the air broadcasts.
Time to consider getting rid of cable.
Great blog… You must have been peeking at my house. I did the exact same thing… I got tired of the $65 DirecTV bill that ended up being $94 after all there fees and taxes and increases. I now pay around $15 per month for Netflix and Hulu and I love them both. I only hope that these type of broadcasting media do not end up getting so popular they start raising there pries and I end up right back where I started paying $94 per month.
P.S. I do not want to mislead anyone for those who do not know you will also need some type of internet to use these servers. high speed is the best. I also want to say I have had some problems they are not perfect. now with that said I wish I had done this a long time ago.. I love them both (netflix Hulu) and with Roku you can go into its channel store and there are tons of radio and video and movie channels other then the few already mentioned..
I say drop cable and Direct TV and go with Roku or one of the others like it .I have also used my PS3 but I like Roku better..