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back to article Roku 2 XS IPTV player

In the US, Roku has ridden to prominence on the back of services like Netflix and Hulu, and the phenomenon of ‘cord cutting’, where people discontinue pay TV services in favour of, well, paid IPTV services. That’s perhaps not surprising when their entry level box costs less than £40 including tax for US customers. Roku 2 XS …

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Apple TV?

I'll be getting one of these soon, then jailbreak, ready for Plex/XMBC. Will report back later....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple TV?

XBMC on the ATV2 is excellent, but with Raspberry Pi release anytime soon, that is going to be an interesting option, although you'd have to provide a case and a remote.

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Re: Re: Apple TV?

XBMC on the ATV2 is dreadul... crippled by the 720p only output and the inability to play anything over about 5GB in size... mine was un-jailbroken and returned to showing photos and playing itunes... of which it does one of those functions terribly!

The Pi? i didnt think that had the processing grunt for serious HTPC duties...

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Yeah Apple TV + Plex/XBMC is a better deal right now.

Also, the LT isn't available in the UK (and as far as I can tell there's no ETA - Amazon deleted their listing for it completely so it's not 'soon').

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Shame about the LT

It's a pity; I hope it does appear soon, because it does seem the better value option to me.

And, at $49.99 in the US, I can see why it's been such a hit; that's the equivalent of £31.99 if you don't have to pay sales tax over the internet, and just over £38 if you do add 20% VAT or equivalent, though the lower figure is obviously what most US buyers will be paying. Add a broader range of content and it's easy to see why it's attractive there.

Adding more of the main catch-up services for the UK would be a very good start

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No DLNA?

Well that's no big, seeing as it is a very loose standard (to the point of useless) but can the Roku stream anything over Ethernet? e.g. if I have subsonic installed, can it use that? Or Samba shares? Or something else?

Not being able to stream from the local network is an epic fail IMHO.

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Re: No DLNA?

Out of the box, nope. In the channel store, there's an app called Chaneru which will allow some streaming on the local network; it essentially has a custom web server on your PC, and a Roku app which retrieves content from that - more info at http://www.chaneru.com/ if you're interested. And it costs $10

So it is possible, but really I think at this price you're entitled to expect something pretty standard baked in.

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Re: No DLNA?

I've been led to believe that it can't stream anything from the local network, DNLA, SMB, CIFS, nuffin'. And I have no idea whether this functionality is planned; they seem to see themselves as more of an IPTV provider rather than a magic-box-o-IPTV-tricks provider which is a shame.

Yeah, epic fail for us techies although I suppose normal users might live without it ;-)

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Plex Channel

There is a Plex channel you can install, it streams movies from my PC with no problem but getting Plex do much else on the box is proving a problem.....

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Pointless device at this price. Baffling why their isn't better LAN support for streaming given the thing's got an ethernet port.

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A boxed RaspberryPi!

The Roku 2 XS uses the same Broadcom BCM2835 SOC + a LAN chip So the only differences seem to be just in the software and which CODEC's have been licensed.

n.b. Roku has a remote control the RPi has two USB ports

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Facepalm

Re: A boxed RaspberryPi!

Re "the only difference"

Except the Raspberry Pi isn't on sale yet, and when it is you'll have to find your own box for it, and a power supply, and a Wi-Fi adapter, and a Bluetooth adapter, and a remote control, and a remote control receiver, and find all the software for that, and create a bootable SD Card, and there's probably more as well. And when it doesn't all 'just work' you can't take it back to the shop and demand a refund.

The Raspberry Pi has its place but it's not an off-the-shelf, ready-to-go consumer product.

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Re: Re: A boxed RaspberryPi!

If that is what you want buy a Roku. I'll be using the Raspberry Pi's ability to use a keyboard and mouse, add other software, connect up a printer etc and.... run RISC OS:-)

I'm hoping to be able to buy my RaspberryPi next week!

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Private Channels

You are not going to find the content offered on Roku on most other set-top boxes and the article didn't touch on Roku's Private Channels. That is Channels that are not listed on the Censored Roku Store. This is the one thing that differentiate the ROKU from all the other set-tops specially APPLE TV.

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Re: Private Channels

Sure, there are private channels that you can add; but honestly, I don't really see anything there that makes up for the lack of big hitters, in terms of content for average consumers.

If you happen to have a yearning for some minority content, whether it's only available on Roku, VieraCast, WD Live, or something else, then that might well be a deciding factor for a few people. But most people spending £100 on a player will want a good selection of really high quality content, in my view.

If the likes of ITV Player, 4OD, Demand5, and LoveFilm were also available through the box, it would be a much more attractive proposition for the mainstream. I think a lot of people might even be prepared to pay a small amount for services like the HBO material that's available in parts of the US, too.

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Coffee/keyboard

Apple TV ++

For a streamer, the ATV2 is a decent bit of kit as long as you take the time to jailbreak it and get XBMC on it.

It has Netflix onboard natively, which on our BE broaband connection performs admirably. Quality is good, even on our lounge screen (a 50inch Pioneer Kuro) and we were so happy with it that we picked up another the last time we were in the USA for the master bedroom. I especially liked the fact that they have parental controls as standard so I can decide whether my 6 year old can browse Youtube or not.

Both of them share a central media library based on our NAS, with the XBMC library updating itself via a nettop PC that gets woken from hibernation via wake on lan and then goes back into hibernation once the deed is done. It did take a bit of tinkering to get it running with the shared library and extras but the process for both this and the jailbreak are well documented online.

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Bad history with Roku

Roku behaved really shabbily over RadioRoku - the directory of streaming radio stations that was needed to operate its SoundBridge Internet Radio Players. They essentially stopped updating the directory so most of the links were dead and new streams could not be added. Customers were left with only half-usable devices. I won't be trusting them again ... and I see that they have a similar sort of directory system for this new TV device. Just wait for them to pull the plug on that and you've got a nice useless piece of plastic. Buyer beware.

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I've bought the roku

It seems a lot of the comments posted here are from people who haven't tried the Roku. I bought one a week ago and I'm happy with it.

The key point I would like to make is REMEMBER THE TARGET AUDIENCE. This device isn't aimed at us techies (yes, I'm a techie), it is aimed at the non-techie user who want Plug and Play. Those of us who know that we need different codecs for a video rather than different software to make it work or its a video why won't it play, are probably not the target audience for this device.

In regards to the content, the thing has only been out a month, give it time. How many channels did it have when it was launched in the states? Any early adopters will complain about content. I wonder what a first gen Kindle user would say about the choice of books when they got it! I would also point out that we don't really have many established streaming channels in UK, I can only think of six (LoveFilm, NetFlix, BBC iPlayer, ITV iPlayer, 5 on Demand, and Channel 4).

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