Roku Is Almost Great

| January 1, 2011

The Roku player is an Internet TV device that allows you to watch many different types of IP TV channels. It’s most notably known for carrying Netflix, Amazon and now Hulu Plus. While the device is pretty straight-forward and easy to use, it’s not quite the solution for those looking to toss their cable Set Top Box in the garbage. As with all of these emerging Internet TV solutions it just  doesn’t quite fill every need single need. And despite it’s compact size and simplicity, the Roku box isn’t without it’s technical issues.

The Roku Green Screen

The biggest problem we experienced with this device was with it establishing and maintaining communication with any of the HDTVs we connected it to via HDMI. Almost anytime we wanted to watch something on the Roku we’d have to do the “HDMI dance”– meaning we’d have to either unplug the HDMI cable a few times or unplug the power on the Roku player until it would eventually communicate with the television. Or if there was a long period of inactivity, the screen would just go green and remain that way until the next HDMI dance was performed. If interested, read more about the Roku Green Screen here. The general consensus is it works flawlessly if connected via the component cables, if you’re willing to downgrade your taste, and no true videophile wants to do that.

back of roku player

The Roku Player Is What It Is

Another disappointment was content. If you do not mind paying for virtually everything, you’ll be happy with the Roku player. Granted, we all knew coming in that we’d need to have a Netflix subscription (which we already did). We were, however, hoping for a little Hulu love. Instead, we were presented with Hulu Plus. While it seems like a very good service for under $10 per month, we’re just as happy watching it for free on the computer. So now, once again, we’re away from the television and watching the computer screen–the very problem Roku was supposed to solve.

Sure, there are free channels, but just make sure you’re aware of how much it’s going to cost you to get the same content you’re currently getting on your STB.

The Roku Player Is Almost Great

Aside from the green screen issues, and the lack of quality, free content at the moment, the Roku player is an almost great device and should satisfy a void in a lot of people’s lives. Here are some of the strengths of the Roku XD|S model, which is currently the top of their line:

  • Capatible with almost any SD or HDTV.
  • Built-in WiFi
  • USB port
  • Component and optical ports if you can’t get the HDMI to work.
  • Growing content (Some even free).

roku player channels

In Conclusion

The Roku player seems to be a continually improving device. Once the content catches up and the sporadic HDMI problems are resolved, it should continue to be the leader in online television solutions and finally fill the void consumers have been looking for in regards to Internet TV. Check Out The Latest Roku Players

Category: Home Theater


About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Syed W. Ali says:

    Great review. I cut the cable 7 months ago and turned to Roku. The green screen problem is annoying. What is worse is that the company doesn’t admit there is an issue and the customer support keeps running you in a circle. Had I not known better thanks to my soft engg profession, I would be angrier staying longer with the imbecile support staff. Regarding content, I only watch Netflix, and hence the cost savings. If I try to turn into the cable-like premium channel gizmo, the cable packages will undoubtedly fair better cost-wise. Hope this helps.


  2. Victor Vigil says:

    Movies look great but then they stop and start to load again. Can you tell me what causes this?

    • Dave Dave says:

      With Roku, and other streaming devices, bandwidth is key. If the buffer runs out as the movie is streaming, it will need to get caught up for the movie to begin playing again. The faster your internet is, the less likely this is to occur.

  3. Mike says:

    What can I say but I love this thing. Mine (I have 2) work 99% of the time. I enjoy the old movies from chiller, drama, horror you name it and all the oldtime radio programs and this stuff is all free. It gets better every week.

  4. Shot says:

    I have the ROKU 2 and I don’t know of any “Green Screen.” Mine has worked flawlessly from the start. Also, I’ve never used anything but the HDMI cable. Works Great!!