Roku XD device and Remote
Roku XD device and Remote

Roku is a firm specializing in a device that has revolutionized the way digital content is delivered by allowing users to stream audiovisual content directly to their television sets.

back of roku.jpg
Back of Roku 2 XS, detailing the options for Internet connection, media connection, and the lack of an on/off switch
Roku was founded in October 2002 by Anthony Wood. It is an consumer electronics company focuses on consumer media products. The company owes its success to the Roku Player, a streaming device which allows the user to stream content from a wide variety of sources, called channels. The Roku Player is a small set top box (3.3"x3.3"x0.9") with models currently ranging in price from $59.99 to $99.99. Once the player is plugged in, it stays running indefinitely in order to eliminate boot-up time; it also uses very little energy (~2W), making this a viable option. Depending on the model, it connects to the television via HDMI or standard definition component cables and to the internet via a wired connection or wi-fi.

roku interface.jpg
the Roku user interface

The Roku Player can be used to stream content to any TV. The user can subscribe to different channels to receive this content; these channels are categorized and downloaded in a manner similar to a mobile app store, allowing the user to pick and choose which channels have content which they wish to stream. Some popular channels for movies and TV shows are Netflix, HBO Go, and Amazon Video On Demand. It can also be used to stream live sports events outside the home market via channels such as MLB.TV.

Angry Birds on the Roku Player
Angry Birds on the Roku Player

The player can also be used to play games; the Roku 2 XS comes pre-loaded with a copy of Angry Birds.

Other amenities included are 700+ entertainment channels, one-stop search, works with virtually any TV, built-in wireless (Wi-Fi b/g/n compatible), free app for iOSĀ® and android available, plays 720p HD video, plays full HD video (1080p)*, motion control for games, and Ethernet port and USB ports.

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