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Roku In Canada
on May 3, 2012
Depending on what you want to use this box for, its either a deal maker, or a deal breaker
Netflix: This box is great for netflix. Its easy to setup and install to your TV for users of all tech abilities. All you do is input the HDMI cord to your TV or receiver. If you TV does not accept audio over HDMI, just hook up a simple Male to Male audio cord and Roku will send audio over it. Once set up and connected to the wireless network, just head on over to the channel store, click and download netflix, enter your username and your ready to go!! Roku streams up to 1080p. Here's where it gets interesting. 1080p streams are very data intensive and needs an excellent wireless signal to achieve. In my short experience with Roku 1080p streams were constantly skipping and rebuffering in the middle of movies, making for an unpleasant experience. What you can do to remedy this situation is to go into settings and reduce the quality of the stream to 720p/i. Although this will reduce the onscreen quality, it will making movies stream without any "rebuffering" in the middle.
Cable Replacement: In my experience so far, Roku is a far cry away from a cable replacement. Most channels that american rave about are not "available in your geographical location" Even CBC, a Canadian channel, is not available in Canada. This is infuriating and unacceptable for this type of product. Although it is in the first month of being available in Canada, its understandable that canadian based channels have yet to come out. Hopefully in the coming months, more channels will be created for canadians to watch free tv through the internet. As of today, there are maybe 10 channels in the Roku marketplace, and even fewer that you can get through "private channels."
Plex: Plex is a private channel that allows you to stream any content on your laptop/home pc/home shared network folder to your Roku. This is the single most important channel out there. Although it means that your computer needs to be on, it allows you to stream any content from it (you need to install plex media server). It also pulls in ratings and info about each individual show/movie right to your roku box so you have up to date show information, cover artwork, and ratings. (a cool feature that makes the experience more enjoyable).
Wrap up: Everything considered, if you are going to use this as a netflix box, then this is a great choice. Although you should consider the Apple TV, which is a little more money, but a better user interface. Its small, easy to set up, and connects through HDMI or a "red white yellow" connection. If you want to use this as a replacement for Cable, this this is a terrible product. I would reccommend Boxee Box, although double the price, automatically pulls "shows" from the Canadian broadcast networks. If you are an avid torrenter for your shows and movies, then Plex works very well and I would recommend Roku.