For the holidays, I bought a Netflix Roku box for a a family member and me. I subscribed to Netflix for the $8.99 minimum (1 DVD by mail) and now I can watch any of the 17,000 Watch Instantly titles on my Samsung Flat Screen TV with the Roku box plugged into the free HDMI port on my TV using my wi-fi network. It's only a portion of their 100K DVDs but there are plenty of videos in their library that I haven't seen and if I don't like the video, I can move to the next one.
Here are some general notes on my experience:
- Roku Box - I ordered the $99 Roku HD box with free shipping. Even if you don't have a HD TV, I would order the HD box since you will probably end up upgrading to a HD TV eventually. The HD box supports non-HD TVs.
- Premium Cables Add On $19.99 - I ordered three premium cables 1) 6' HDMI, 2) 6' Optical Audio and 3) 6' Component Video since you can never have enough cables although my W may argue that point. I ended up using the HDMI cable.
- Video/Audio Quality - The Roku box plugs directly into my Samsung TV. Since the HDMI cable passes both video and sound, the Roku video quality in HD is unbelievable and the sound is piped out using my Bose Sound System. The sound quality is also outstanding.
- Internet Connectivity - You can plug the Roku HD box into your either your home wireless network or plug it directly into an open Ethernet port on your router.
- Setup and Configuration - To activate your Roku box, you will need to link your box to your network and enter your Netflix account. This will require that you enter codes on your computer screen that are generated when you setup your Roku box. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.
- Roku Remote Control Movie Selection - One of the biggest benefits of using the included Roku Remote Control is that you can easily select titles from your Netflix Watch Instantly Queue that you setup using your computer. It also gives you a summary of the movie if you use the [Down Arrow] and you can scroll through the movies in your queue much like the hotel pay per view video interfaces, the only difference is that you are paying a flat rate of $8.99 to watch any Watch Instantly Movie.
- Roku Remote Control Movies Fast Forward - When watching a movie, if you want to Fast Forward through some of the scenes, you can can. There is a little lag or buffering time, but I find it's well worth the wait. Especially if you are deciding if you want to continue watching a moview.
- Roku Remote Control - You can us the Remote Control to delete movies from your queue. This is a great feature.
- Watching on Other Devices - Even though you buy a Roku, with your Netflix subscription, you can also watch movies on your laptop or your computer. This is a great added benefit.
- Adding Netflix Movies - You can only do this through your computer. But you can do it from any computer such as your laptop.
- Other Roku Channel or Services - Using your Roku box, you can also access the Amazon.com Channel and order Pay Per View movies for $4.99 or more. These are basically the same movies you will find on your cable or satellite vendor offering.
- Facebook Roku Channel - You can also link your Facebook account to view your friends pictures. This may or may not be a great feature depending on what you think of Facebook and if you want to let any of your family members including or W or GF/BF flip through your FB photos.