(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)
Great Netflix box for $50
lots of content
Single-band Wifi N
The Roku 1 is a great inexpensive streaming player. The user interface is easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and responsive. The remote, while IR-based, is intuitive and simple to use. It includes (non-customizable) hot-keys for Netflix, Amazon, M-Go and Blockbuster (?) It is also one of the few players that includes composite AV output, in addition to HDMI output, allowing use with older TV's.<br /><br />The available content partners eclipse those available on most competing players, including Blu-Ray players and game consoles. It includes Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, HBO-Go, ESPN, Vudu as well as Pandora Radio and iHeartRadio support in the same device, a combo un-matched by competing units. A Channel Store available on-line and in the Roku itself allows individual channels to be installed and removed. The interface also includes a unique search function that works across all installed services simultaneously. Initial setup is slightly cumbersome, requiring manual configuration of the Wifi, and creation of a Roku account via web browser, to which your Roku 1 is linked. <br /><br />Unfortunately, some channels such as ESPN, Disney, A&E, etc. require that you have the corresponding pay TV subscription from a participating provider, putting a damper on the device's utility for cord cutters. In fairness, the Roku is not unique in this regard, and a great deal of content is available even without a pay TV subscription. At any rate, the setup process to authenticate your TV subscription is web-based, much like the initial setup.<br /><br />Roku has a free iOS and Android app. The app allows you to use your phone or tablet as a remote, and (contrary to the CR review) makes it possible to stream local music, photos and video to the Roku. A Roku Media Player channel similarly allows playback of local content on PC's in your home network.<br /><br />Stepping up to the pricier Roku 2 buys you dual-band Wifi (useful only if your wifi router is also dual-band) as well as an RF-based remote, with head-phone jack, that doesn't need line-of-sight to operate. The Roku 3 further adds motion-controlled gaming, Ethernet and MicroSD slot, and YouTube support, while losing support for analog TV's. <br /><br />Unless one of these features is a deal-breaker to you, the Roku 1 provides the identical core functionality and user experience at a price point that makes it an easy, even impulse buy.
How long have you owned it:
A month or less
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.