Roku HD Media Player; NetFlix on your TV

roku-box-remote-cables Ok – so I know this doesn’t sound like much of a ‘kids’ product per-se, and we didn’t buy it thinking it was either, but as it turns out, there are TONS of great kid’s shows and movies available on NetFlix that are easy to find and have no commercials!

I know that it’s important to limit ‘screen time’ for your kids, but when it’s TV time for our kids, we like to have a good selection of shows to choose from and no commercials!

There is a big wave of people moving to internet tv and watching movies online these days and some are even cutting the cord with their TV Cable providers since there are plenty of web tv options now – like Google TV for one.

We haven’t gone that far yet, but with the introduction of Hulu on Roku, which provides access to the most popular TV shows shortly after they air, we probably could do without our cable service. We watch most of our programs on a DVR anyways, so watching ‘live tv’ is pretty much a thing of the past for us.

One of the cool things about the NetFlix interface is that once you watch a certain type of movie or show, like Dora the Explorer, or zombie movies, it will give you suggestions for lots of other similar shows.

Set-up is pretty easy, all you do is connect it to your home network via ethernet cable or wireless, then you have to enter a code that you get from netflix.com and your done. Note that you do have to have a ‘1 DVD out at-a-time (Unlimited)’ NetFlix account that costs $8.99/mo. (edit: now they have a ‘Watch Instantly Unlimited’ plan for $7.99/mo)

Pros:

  1. It’s really small – about the size of a stack of 10 CD’s.
  2. It’s completely silent – no fans!

Cons:

  1. On rare occasion, some shows will report that they are ‘temporarily unavailable’ – they usually come back online w/in an hour or so, but can be annoying.
  2. No off switch. I guess there isn’t much running really since there are no fans, but it bothers me that I can’t turn it off.

Roku offers three different models – all three have HDMI and regular composite output:

Roku HD – $69.99 : 720p HD / No Wireless option

Roku XD – $79.99: 1080p HD / With Wireless N

Roku XDS – $99.99: 1080p HD / Dual-Band Wireless / Component Video / Digital Audio / USB Port

Each Roku player comes with:

  • Remote control
  • Two AAA batteries
  • Composite (red/white/yellow) A/V cable
  • Power adapter
  • Getting Started guide
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • One year warranty

roku TV interface

Here is an example of what the interface looks like on a TV once you have it set up and linked to your NetFlix account. It would be nice if  there were more search options, and I would prefer the option for  a ‘list’ view instead of the huge thumbnails that can require a lot of scrolling at times, but the interface is definitely functional.

There are TONS of kids shows on NetFlix –  here are  some of our favorites:

  • Disney Movies
  • Caillou, Barney
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Dora/Diego
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • The Backyardigans
  • Blues Clues
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Pingu
  • Bob the Builder
Amazon Product Description:
Roku is a little box that allows you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV. Watch over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and more. Listen to music on Pandora, or listen to your own iTunes playlists. Even watch major sports, news, or original Internet programming. It’s all available whenever you want it. Now smaller, more powerful, and more affordable, the all-new Roku HD delivers high-definition entertainment instantly to virtually any TV in your home over your wireless network. No wonder Roku is the best selling streaming player ever.

Roku NetFlix Video

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