Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Roku XD digital video player (Part 1)

It's finally here. My 5 year old daughter informed me that she heard the doorbell while I was in the shower. She said that no one was there, and she didn't see a package, but she had seen the UPS truck. Yay for Brown. I went to the front door, opened it, and retrieved the small package that was leaning against the door. No wonder she didn't see a package, it was small.

Anyway this is my initial review on the Roku XD digital video player, henceforth Roku or player. If you are at least partially interested in this device, please read on "This is gonna be fun."

Top 6 Things...

This first thing I noticed, although I was prepared based on what I had read about Roku, was the small size of the box that it shipped in. It is definitely minimal packaging, which I'm sure is great news to all those that believe that the end of the world will be brought on by the excess packaging used for many products.

Before you even get the box open you are presented with the "Top 6 things to do when you set up your Roku." In case you weren't sure where to start, this gives you a few ideas.

This is a friendly product, as witnessed when opening the box and being greeted by "Hi!"

The product fits nicely within the box. The box is indeed not too large, yet still offers plenty protection for the electronic device enclosed.

In addition to the "Hi!" sheet was a quick start guide and a warranty sheet. No big manual - it better be a breeze to setup and use.

The player itself is quite small, which means that it will take very little space amongst the other electronic components. In actuality space was not a huge consideration and we could have easily fit a much larger device. For those that are already cramped for space, then this will certainly be an advantage. The Roku has room for all the needed connections and does not have anything extra.

One thing that I've seen mentioned in many other reviews of this product is the small purple tag on the player and the remote. It's a small fabric tag which seems somewhat out of place on an electronic device, but I take as a bit of whimsy on the part of the company. It doesn't bother me in any way.

The XD model has only an HDMI, an Ethernet, RCA audio/video, and power connections on the back. The step up model, the XD|S adds in component video and optical audio outputs as well as a USB port, options which did not justify the additional pricing for me. I admit though, that USB port would be nice, but I can live without it.

Since we don't have a high definition TV the HDMI port does nothing for us. Thankfully Roku provides the standard RCA connection for those of us that are still content with standard definition TV. The Ethernet port is a great plus, but with the built in Wi-Fi I didn't expect to need to use it (more on this later).

For size comparison purposes I placed a DVD on top of the player. As can be seen in the photo, the player is just barely larger than a DVD and only about an inch or so tall.

It's smaller than most other entertainment electronics. I've seen some small DVD players, but not this small. Prior to this our smallest device was our digital TV converter box, which is about twice the size of the Roku.

What's in the box:
The player (of course); the remote; power supply; batteries (2 AAA) for the remote; RCA cable;
"Hi!" and warranty sheets and quick start guide.

Connecting the Roku should take less time than I took to take photos of it. Due to the length of this post already, I'm going to save the connection and setup of the Roku for another post.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my review.

As I mentioned in my previous post, you can get the best available pricing direct from Roku. By following my link I will get a free month of Netflix service if you make a purchase. Obviously I wouldn't mind that, so please bear that in mind if you decide to make the purchase.

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