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Old 11-30-2010, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default Roku XD Media Player

With the surging popularity of streaming content online, media players are popping up all the place from a countless number of vendors. Roku isn't a bandwagon jumper, though, as it's been designing robust media solutions for some time. With all of the competition we've tested, we're taking a look at one of its current products, the XD.

You can read Greg's full look at Roku's latest media player and then discuss it here!
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:13 PM   #2
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After reading this article a few of us started talking about the Roku setup, which lead to the channels that are available. While the NHL channel is drool worthy to me they mentioned that here in Canada we cannot get Hulu yet and Netflix Canada content is drastically different (aka suckier) than the US version.

Whether this is true or not I'm not sure but I'll be doing my research pretty soon since this would be a welcome change from paying out $50+ a month for basic cable only to watch 4 or 5 channels.

Greg, can you give more information about Vimeo? Can you stream anything from your PC with this channel?
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
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To be honest, as a Canadian also, I'd never consider purchasing this. It's designed to be a streaming device, and as most of the services it offers is unavailable to Canadians, it'd be like purchasing a skeleton unit. Even then, nothing says that the Netflix feature would even work in Canada, because they have to be programmed to do so. The WD TV Live Plus for example won't work for Netflix in Canada.

These limitations are not the fault of Roku of course, but it still limits the allure for Canucks. The XD|S might be a more attractive option since it allows you to plug in a USB device and watch other content, but for that, I'd quicker go with a solution that focuses more on that than anything else, like the WD TV Live.

If Netflix is the only thing that really matters, the Apple TV is a decent solution, but you'd be buying it for that purpose alone, unless you also enjoy renting movies off of iTunes.

There's just no ideal solution in Canada... none.

As for the article, thanks for the detailed look Greg. I'm in the same position of wanting to get rid of cable, but there's been just a couple of things keeping me from making the move. Alright, one thing... sports. Unfortunately, I hardly get any of the English Premier League games I want anymore (no idea why, it was amazing last season), so basically all that's left is NFL, and since the season ends soon, I'll be canceling my cable after it.

I do miss out on a couple of other TV shows I like, but none of those are that important to me... not $100 a month important. I'm going to be working to figure out how to stream Hulu through a proxy, and if I manage that, I'll be set.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:37 PM   #4
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Funny you should mention that, Rob. A few of us were brainstorming ideas on how to get that to fly. Either that or a BS IP address to fool it into thinking we're in the US.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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Funny you should mention that, Rob. A few of us were brainstorming ideas on how to get that to fly. Either that or a BS IP address to fool it into thinking we're in the US.
I'm working on something, so stay tuned...
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:00 AM   #6
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Optix, vimeo is just an online repository of user created video content. It was also the easiest way for me to get streamable 1080p content to test if the Roku could keep up.

The different channels are interesting and a nice addition to the versatility of the device. I did want to mention in the review (Rob, maybe I can add an edit?) that the Roku lineup is crippled without DLNA support. If they could add that functionality (and they are supposedly working on it) and users can stream their movies on their PC or NAS box in my case, the value of the Roku lineup goes up dramatically. Christ, I just updated the firmware on my Samsung TV last night and can now stream from any DLNA supported device. There isn't any reason that the Roku can't do that too.

Amazon video is a very good alternative to iTunes if we want to compare the XD to the Apple TV.

Rob, I will let you know how I make out when I get rid of cable for good. Once the NFL season is over, that's it for me. Perhaps a deal can be made SOMEWHERE before next season and the games will be available online. I certainly wont hold my breath but IP based media is the future. Like it or hate it, that's where things are going so the quicker everyone can get their products available online, the better we all will be. My cable bill is $170 a month and that seems more and more absurd every time I think about it. 50 is for broadband, 50 is for the cable package and 70 of it is hardware. I have two DVRs and a HD receiver, as well as two other standard definition cable boxes. Now I do split this bill with a roommate but still. That's asinine. So, if I can eliminate that bill, the 20 a month I pay for Hulu Plus and Netflix seems a lot more reasonable.

Speaking of Netflix, the movies on it fucking blow. I basically use it to watch past episodes of TV shows that I have enjoyed over the years. They need to do some serious work on their streaming titles if they are going to keep my business. Once I see all the shows I want to watch, why would I continue to pay for the service? Now that they offer and streaming only price tier, they need to put more effort into getting better titles for streaming. There are a lot of things that are DVD only and that sucks. Hire 30 college kids to rip movies in their off time. Case closed.

Finally, WHY THE HELL CAN"T YOU GET ANYTHING IN CANADA? That's absurd. You guys are practically America for Christ's sake. I don't know what laws are in place preventing things like Hulu from happening up there but that shit needs to get straightened out. That's ridiculous.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:39 AM   #7
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You think the FCC is bad. Our CRTC is insane! We have to have X% Canadian content on all Canadian stations. Something about wanting to preserve Canadian heritage or some BS like that.

Crap stand up comedy shows, made for tv mini-dramas and low budget series that only last a handful of episodes are not our heritage. Hockey Night In Canada, Royal Canadian Air Face (which hasn't been funny in about 10 years) and Tim Horton's commercials are our heritage.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Tim Horton's commercials are our heritage.
I guess he's Canada's version of Billy Mays?
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix View Post
You think the FCC is bad. Our CRTC is insane! We have to have X% Canadian content on all Canadian stations. Something about wanting to preserve Canadian heritage or some BS like that.

Crap stand up comedy shows, made for tv mini-dramas and low budget series that only last a handful of episodes are not our heritage. Hockey Night In Canada, Royal Canadian Air Face (which hasn't been funny in about 10 years) and Tim Horton's commercials are our heritage.
I regard Red Green as a hero. He alone is all I need from Canada. Well, his show and Rob's unwavering love.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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I guess he's Canada's version of Billy Mays?
Heh...not quite. He was a hockey player who started his own coffee shop. It was franchised and now one can be found on every street corner from Newfoundland to British Columbia. I wish I had a couple grand (and the forethought not to mention being alive) back in 1964 when they were first starting. I'd invest it all and be rolling in dough.

http://www.timhortons.com/
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I regard Red Green as a hero. He alone is all I need from Canada. Well, his show and Rob's unwavering love.
Steve Smith is pretty bad ass along with Patrick McKenna (Red's nephew Harold).
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #11
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Heh...not quite. He was a hockey player who started his own coffee shop. It was franchised and now one can be found on every street corner from Newfoundland to British Columbia. I wish I had a couple grand (and the forethought not to mention being alive) back in 1964 when they were first starting. I'd invest it all and be rolling in dough.

Anyone that can give Starbucks competition is cool with me. Well played Canada.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:09 PM   #12
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I just read the Wiki article on Tim Horton's when we had a slow period and they have control of 62% of the Canadian coffee market compared to Starbucks at 7%. Their coffee really isn't that great and makes me really jittery. More than the Monster Energy Drink I just downed as a result of a 1am bedtime and a 4am wake up call from my son so you can just imagine how bad it is.

I go to Java Moose myself. It's just as expensive as Starbucks but it's local.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:10 PM   #13
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I hit up the local gas station almost every single day. If I want something special, I hit up Starbucks but I prefer cheap coffee from a pot.
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:47 AM   #14
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Nice overview on the Roku XD. Thanks!

There was no mention of streaming media from the user's PC. Does the Roku lack this functionality completely? Media boxes like this are great, but not being able to stream existing media (music, movies, whatever) is a serious handicap when many Roku competitors include this in their feature arsenal.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:45 AM   #15
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Nice overview on the Roku XD. Thanks!

There was no mention of streaming media from the user's PC. Does the Roku lack this functionality completely? Media boxes like this are great, but not being able to stream existing media (music, movies, whatever) is a serious handicap when many Roku competitors include this in their feature arsenal.
Thank you for the kind comments. Unfortunately there isn't any way to stream content from your PC or anywhere else on your network. Roku has said that DLNA support is coming but but they haven't elaborated on whether or not it's going to be with the current lineup of devices or if it will be in future hardware releases.

There really isn't any excuse NOT to have this capability. So many other devices can stream local media but lack the polish of the Roku. I hope they can get their stuff together because this is a serious hole that needs filling in their current lineup of hardware.
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