rokuLast summer I bought a Roku in order to watch movies from Netflix on what at that time was a regular 27″ tube TV. Recently I updated my television to a 42″ plasma and was a little worried about how the Roku would perform considering it is hooked up via a wireless connection to the Internet.  This I thought would be a problem since the Roku can now support the newer HD stream from Netflix, but only has a class g wireless card.  Suprisingly it came as a shock that the Roku presents a picture that is close to an up converted DVD player.  While this isn’t as good as an HD broadcast it sure is impressive considering that my Media Center Extender requires the newer wireless class N signal to keep up with a High Definition program. 

While the Roku doesn’t support surround sound as of yet, it did recently add Amazon support for buying movies.  We tried our first one last night, and while it isn’t Blue-Ray quality it is still somewhere between a DVD player and a true HD picture.  The Roku is much better than an XBox for this because the XBox is so loud and the Roku is dead quiet.

For $99 I would recommend this over the built-in usually optional feature coming in some of the newer TV’s.  Most of these options add about $200-$300 and tie the devices together which means you would have to send in the TV to fix this feature.  Which may be a problem if you are building an online library of movies using the Amazon service.  If you have an XBox I would recommend trying that first since it is essentially a free service, but if you are like me and can’t stand the loud drown of the Xbox over the movie soundtrack the Roku will make a good addition to your media center.

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