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Roku 2 XS Review

Roku has recently released its newest line of streaming media boxes which has been dubbed the 2 XS, although most Roku enthusiasts consider this to be Roku’s 4th line in streaming media boxes since its first release dating back to 2008. Since 2008, Roku has transformed from a being the industry standard Netflix player, to becoming an all out full media device. Capable of everything from Netflix, to gaming.

The Roku 2 XS: Whats In The Box???

  • User Manual
  • Roku 2 XS Unit
  • Roku 2 XS Bluetooth Remote
  • A/V Cables
  • Power Supply

The two biggest gripes that we have with this is the lack of an HD Cable, and the lack of an Ethernet Cable. To get that high definition experience that’s advertised with the Roku 2 XS, the HDMI cable is an absolute MUST HAVE. Luckily as mentioned in our unboxing video these cables come relatively cheap and you can buy the coupled with your Roku 2 XS device from Amazon for a great deal. The Ethernet cable however is not what we’d consider to be an absolute necessity, because the unit will still run without it. However, the one drawback to running the Roku 2 XS without the Ethernet cable is that you will be totally dependant upon the speeds that your internet service provider will allow you to have. We’ve found that having a wired connection will give you the most consistent playback without interruption, or choppiness.

Check out our video unboxing the Roku 2 XS below

The Technical Stuff

  • An Inside Look At The Roku 2 XS Operating System

A feature that is loved by most tech buffs out there is that the Roku 2 XS sports a Linux based OS (operating system). What makes Linux so popular is that its open sourced. You can make Linux work EXACTLY the way you want, and the manufacturers of Linux place no restrictions on the programmers. Linux is free, so it doesn’t cost as much as Mac OS, or Windows, and it’s extremely easy to learn and use, so you don’t need to have a college degree in computer science in order to get the most out of it. You can take the Linux source code, and use it to make your own operating system. It comes with more choices, with lower spec requirements which in a lot of cases can make systems using Linux more stable than a system using Windows. On top of all of that, its 100% virus proof!

  • So how does this help the Roku 2 XS user?

  • Unlimited Resource of Apps, Games, & Channels
  • 100% Virus Free
  • You can easily add your own resources to your device with a little Linux know-how

Please see video on how simple setting up the Roku 2 XS Is!

Why Bluetooth Technology Puts The Roku 2 XS In A Class Of Its Own

 One of the major features that we’ve found that sets the Roku 2 XS apart from its predecessors as well as its main competition (the AppleTV) is the Bluetooth programming. Roku’s previous models (the HD, and XDS) were both great systems, but were based entirely upon IR dependant (Infrared) programming, which would sometimes leave people desiring a more efficient way to control their unit from different ranges from their homes. Learning this, the gang over at Roku completely obliterated that problem by using new RF technology that sends signals from the remote to the device so that you no longer need to be in direct line with your Roku unit in order to control it. This is a huge step that was made on Roku’s part and makes them truly unique because they are currently the only company providing this type of technology to streaming media devices. At first glance this may not seem like that big of an issue, but having the ability to manipulate your streaming device regardless of your position relative to the unit quickly becomes addictive! During testing we found ourselves trying out some crazy “twister” like positions just to see if we could manage outfox the Roku’s technology, but we all failed miserably.

Is Paying The Extra $30 Worth It? How The Roku 2 XS Stacks Up Against Previous Models

After carefully examining all of the available reviews from previous owners of Roku devices, the most loved new features are the additions of the Ethernet and USB ports. This new Ethernet port now helps to eliminate pixilated, and sometimes choppy playback when wirelessly streaming video from your network to your Roku unit. The USB Port is great because it will allow you to stream previously loaded content from your hard drive, to your Roku 2 XS. There were some users of the Roku that mentioned having issues with this particular feature, but one thing that we’ve noticed is that most of the people who complained about this feature, didn’t follow the instructions given in regards to making sure your content was properly converted for streamable playback.

A small guide on the different Roku devices

Roku LT Roku HD Roku 2 XD Roku 2 XS
500+ Channels X X X X
Compatible With Most TV’s X X X X
Plays High Definition (720p) X X X X
Compatible With Extended Range Wireless N X X X X
Plays 1080p Definition X X
Has Enhanced Motion Activated Remote X
Has Free Full Edition Of Angry Birds X
Has Ethernet & USB Port X
*Data current as of 06/30/2012

The Roku 2 XS Makes The Cord Cutter Lifestyle Fun For The Whole Family

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to streaming media devices is how to make them useful for the whole family. The guys and gals at Roku sought out to fix this problem by adding the FULL edition of Angry Birds, as well as many other games to accompany Angry Birds on the Roku 2 XS device, all of which are powered by the Roku 2 XS motion detecting remote. The way in which the remote interacts with the Roku unit is what makes gaming on the Roku 2 XS different from both EVERY other streaming media player, but the Nintendo Wii as well. While the Nintendo Wii Stick relies on infrared to interact with the Nintendo system, the Roku 2 XS Remote does not.

Unfortunately, there have been many complaints by users of the Roku 2 XS who said that attempting to load and/or play Angry Birds resulted in experienced a lot of lag, forced reboots, and unit failures, however over 98% of these complaints were made by people who weren’t using the latest firmware updates provided by Roku. One thing that we suggest doing to completely avoid any malfunctions while attempting to play games with the Roku 2 XS would be to expand on the Roku’s memory by buying an extra MiniSD card. These cards are extraordinarily cheap (check Amazon for the best price), and will make gameplay a lot smoother because the Roku units resources wont be overly taxed.

Please view the video below on how to have a great time playing Angry Birds on the Roku 2 XS!

How This Tiny Little Hockey Puck Shaped Box Will Save You Over $1,400!

After carefully surveying our readers and combing the internet for all available statistics, we’ve found that the average household cable bill is about $119.00 (not including state taxes when they apply). This bill consists of the usual basic channels, premium channels, and the occasional Pay-Per View buy. So that’s about $1,440 (again, not including any applicable taxes) that the average household spends on a yearly basis JUST for watching television. Pretty expensive when it’s all added up and evaluated huh?

Check out the video below to see the stations offered by the Roku 2 XS!

Well thankfully living what we call the “Cord-Cutter Lifestyle” is nowhere near as expensive as having cable, and you still will have the ability to watch the majority of what the cable subscribers get to watch, at less than 30% of the cost. The Roku 2 XS’ has a channel store (shown in our video) that enables you to watch stations such as Netflix, Hulu+, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, and several hundred other channels. These stations provide you with the exact same programming that you’d find on cable stations ranging from HBO, TNT all the way to Nat Geo.

So with a small $99 dollar investment, there will finally be enough money left over in the budget to travel, put a down payment on a new car, get that nice leather recliner for the man cave, or get a nice remodel done for the kitchen.

What Others Are Saying

Love My Roku!

I now have 2 Rokus. Absolutely pleased with this product. Our television viewing consists of a couple of Broadcast Channels, delivered Netflix DVDs, and Roku (which includes Netflix Streaming). To date, we have had no problems with Roku and would highly recomment this product – William T. Miller

Got Rid Of Direct TV!

I wanted to get rid of the high Direct TV cost so I bought this. It has worked out well. I have Amazon Prime ($79/yr) so I can watch all the Prime streaming videos and I got NetFlix streaming ($8.00/mo). It is much easier to watch old series such as Bones without having to record them and skip through the commercials. I added an ‘over-the-air’ antennae so that I can still get the major networks and PBS. I am very proud of my purchase and savings. – Tiffany A.

Roku Rocks!

I am in absolute LOVE with this product!!! I gave up the way-to-expensive cable and satellite over a year ago and was limping along with renting movies from Redbox and viewing NetFlix on my laptop computer. This little gem (Roku) allows me to access NetFlix, Amazon Prime movies, Hulu Plus, and many free channels of tv and movies, all on my television. I’m not technical AT ALL and I was able to get everything set up and start watching all the channels I mentioned within 30 minutes. I messed up when ordering and ordered two boxes, and ended up keeping both because they work so well. Now my daughter can watch tv in her room and I can watch what I want to watch in the living room. We’re both happy! I highly recommend this product!!! and ordering from Amazon was a breeze. My product arrived within two days, when I checked the 3-5 day shipping method. – ReRe41

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The Bottom Line

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