After at least a year of the digital kids gathered around the laptop watching episodes of Hannah Montana, we have finally done the smartest thing ever. Bought a Roku. This digital video player connects to my home internet connection and accesses my Netflix account. Anything I can play instantly on Netflix I can watch through the Roku on my television screen. You can access Amazon too, but I haven’t done that. Now we can have iCarly marathons any time we want — with no commercials.
The small black box comes out of the package and sets up in a matter of minutes. Cost is $99.99 plus $14.99 shipping. You need a minimum speed of 1.2 Mbps, typically met by DSL or cable internet connections, and it works with wireless or wired connections. The quality is slightly grainy, but for someone who got her analog signal from an old-fashioned antenna on her roof until the world went digital, it’s really not too bad. A more high-powered internet connection might improve it.
Not everything is available to play instantly, but there’s enough to keep yourself busy. My new guilty pleasure — MI-5, a thrilling look from the BBC at the world of the clandestine British security service. The guys aren’t as tough as my favorites on The Unit, but they do have British accents.
Photo credit: graysky (flickr.com)