Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Roku: Commercial Free Entertainment Parntered with Netflix

This might be a tiny bit off topic, but I have to post about it anyway: The Roku is...words fail me...legendary. This tiny bit of machinery delivers, at the one-time cost of $100, Netflix's on-demand videos and television shows to your television. Most of you know about Netflix. It's the service that will send you movies/tvshows, etc in the mail. You enter them into your cue and you pay a monthly fee to have two at a time out, or three at a time, etc. My husband and I have been big fans for a long time because you don't have to leave the house and you don't have to stand in front of a gigantic wall of videos and choose one. I can't tell you how stressful it was for me to go to Blockbuster. Cruising around the thousands of videos gave me vertigo...too many choices. Now, a video from our cue comes, we watch it, it goes back with no late fees ever. But this isn't about Netflix.

Recently Netflix started offering online streaming content FREE that you watch instantly, using your computer. We tried a couple of times to watch things in our office, but our office chairs are just not comfortable enough for that, so we stopped using the service. Then, we learned about the Roku. This little device uses the wireless network in your house to connect to the internet and plugs directly into your television. It's kind of like a TiVo, but you don't pay a monthly fee, and you only see things that you have entered into your "instant viewing cue" on Netflix's web site.

Warning: It can be a vortex. We watched four solid hours of the first season of 30Rock...commercial free, and already paid for by our Netflix membership. We're in love. Why do I write about it here? Imagine how many fewer commercials your child/student would see if they only watched items that you approved, in your cue, for your family to watch?! They have plenty of kids' content and the parent is in control of what is viewed. The only thing questionable about it is how the heck you pronounce it: rock-you? row-coo?

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