Archive for

The Roku 2 XS Streaming Player Now Has Gaming Support

Take a Look at the Roku 2 XS

The newest edition of the Roku 2 XS streaming player has an added slot for a microSD card along with Bluetooth support that allows you to play downloadable games. The current price of the 2 XS (as of August 18, 2012) is $98.99 and it lets the user play Rovio’s Angry Birds by just using Roku’s new enhanced, motion-sensor remote.

The lower priced Roku 2 HD at $60.00 and Roku 2 HD at $80.00 still come with the IR remote, however you can also purchase the newer remote control, that includes an Angry Birds license separately.

Regardless, the best selling point of a Roku player is what it does best, and that is to stream an impressive variety of Web media content to your HDTV through your home network internet connection.

With over 250 channels of media content that is also optimized for watching on a large screen the Roku streaming players are the easiest to use and most cost friendly way to stream content to your TV. Both the Roku 2 XD and 2 XS will support 1080p, while the 2 HD is limited to 720p.

The 2 XS Sets Up in Less Than Five Minutes

I personally own and use the Roku 2 XS and it literally took me four minutes, using the included instructional guide, to get it out of the box and totally setup. If you are going to connect the player wirelessly and only need to use an A/V composite cable (Red, Yellow and White RCA connectors), all the cables you will need are included.

If you plan on using an Ethernet cable connection you will have to supply your own Ethernet cable. The same for HDMI, you will need to supply one. If you have an HDTV with an HDMI port, use an HDMI cable instead of the red, yellow and white A/V composite cable. Like everything else out there, you can spend a lot or a little for cables. Don’t spend a lot for an HDMI cable. It is not necessary, so buy the cheapest one.

Although it is recommended by many to use an Ethernet cable and an HDMI cable for a better quality picture, I connected my Roku 2 XS wirelessly using only the included A/V cable and I really can’t see any difference, the picture quality is really very good either way.

I am sure that all the experts are right and using an HDMI and Ethernet cables will provide a better image, and an HDMI cable is necessary if you want to view anything in HD. So, it is all a matter of personal preference, but hooking up my player with what was in the box is working very well for me.

The Roku 2 XS remote has no off/on switch. Once you have everything connected just turn on the TV, and the welcome screen will appear and guide you through the startup process. You will be prompted to setup your Roku account and to supply some credit card info, in the event that you may want to install any of the paid services in the future. You will then have to link your player to your account. You just have to type in a code on your computer and your done.

What You Can Watch With A Roku

Your next step should be to visit the Channel Store and start installing whatever content channels you want. There are plenty of free channels and some really good and popular paid ones, like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon. Amazon offers a 30 day free for their Amazon Prime, which has premium movies. If you want to keep the service after the trial it is about $79.00 a year.

Crackle from Sony is a new free service that has movies very similar to Amazon Prime but it is ad-supported and there are commercial breaks in the movies. The breaks are not like conventional TV commercials, they occur about every fifteen or twenty minutes and only last for about fifteen to twenty seconds. The first time I watched a movie from Crackle I wasn’t expecting advertising and I was a little annoyed. However, the breaks weren’t really that bad, once I got used to them, and it really beats paying for movies.

AnyRoku player will really deliver a lot of free and interesting niche type content. If it is your intent to replace your cable service with a Roku, you won’t be disappointed. There is so much more comparable content with the Roku than with cable, it just takes a little adjusting to get used to the different way of searching for what you want to watch.

A new addition to the Roku 2 XS is game playing. The Angry Birds game is available and is an actual channel listing. The software for the game is downloaded and stored in the players 256MB internal memory; in the event that you exhaust the available memory storage, all of the Roku players have room for expansion via a microSD card slot.

Roku 2 XS Motion Sensor Remote
The motion sensor remote that comes with the 2 XS works when you point it at the screen and gesture. When you move the remote; the cursor on the screen moves too. The remote also has an A and B button, mainly because Roku intends to be coming out with two or three dozen games in time for this year’s holiday season.

As far as gaming is concerned, most people that are interested in it already have a Wii or something similar. The gaming capability is a nice touch, but I don’t think that will be a big part of Roku’s future plans. The main thrust of their appeal.

That being said, the fact that the new enhanced remote uses Bluetooth rather than infrared is an improvement. With Bluetooth, there is no need to be concerned about maintaining a line of sight between your remote and your player.

The Roku 2 XS does have a USB port that allows you to play DRM-free content that you have stored on your flash drive. The HD and XD versions do not have any USB ports. The file format support is basic: AAC audio, MP3 audio, MP4 video and PNG or JPG images.

What is missing is the capability to stream from your PC’s hard drive or storage device that is attached to your network. Also, the current “2″ series of Roku streaming players support only 2.4GHz (802.11b/g/n) Wi-Fi spectrum. The 5GHz Wi-Fi version would be better in highly populated urban areas that may have a Wi-Fi spectrum that is overcrowded, to prevent the occasional stalling and freeze ups.

Which Roku Should You Buy

Within the new Roku “2″series, the Roku 2 XS is noticeably superior to both the 2 HD and the 2 XD, because of the Bluetooth remote control and the USB support.

If gaming is not your thing and you are not concerned about storing your own media on a flash drive, then consider saving a few dollars with the Roku 2 HD or 2 XD.

If you already have a Roku streaming player and are satisfied with it, there is no reason to change or upgrade. Other than games, the content available is the same for all Roku players, newer and older.

Apple TV and Roku Which Wireless Router Best for Streaming

Apple TV and Roku are two devices you can use to stream High Definition (HD) Video, movies, TV Shows, photos, and more to your HD TV wirelessly and connect to your wireless environment and connect to the internet. With the internet connection, you can rent TV shows and HD movies to your widescreen HDTV and you can also stream the HD media from your computer. To connect the Apple TV and Roku to the internet wirelessly, you need a wireless environment with the wireless TV router or wireless router for streaming as the heart of the wireless network. The question is which wireless router is best for Apple TV and Roku?

Firstly you need to know what the technical specs of both Apple TV and Roku, particularly the wireless specifications. Apple TV is powered by the 802.11n technology with dual-band support for both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands. While Roku supports only 2.4GHz band (but the XDS version supports dual-band) with 802.n technology. Both are backward compatible with the 802.11g standard. They also include one 10/100Mbps Ethernet port for wired connection to the network instead of wireless connection.

With the streaming function, your wireless TV router must be a high performance one, a wireless router which is designed for streaming HD media and smooth gaming.

A wireless router for video streaming should be capable of delivering high speed wireless connection and less interference from any types of signal attenuator. Your wireless TV router should be powered by the latest wireless 802.11n technology and with the addition of MIMO antenna technology is better for high speed and longer distance coverage.

Wireless network which operates in 2.4GHz is prone to signal interference from other wireless devices in homes including the Microwave oven, baby monitor system, cordless phone etc. Therefore, your wireless router should support 5GHz band – a dual band version of wireless router. With 5GHz band support, your wireless network is clean – less interference.

The other plus feature that the router should have is the Wireless Multimedia based Quality of Services (WMM QoS). WMM Quality of service can provide wireless prioritizations for video or gaming traffic over other data traffic. This will ensure the lag-free video and jitter-free gaming.

The following are wireless routers for streaming which are powered by the wireless 802.11n technology, dual-band, and a plus feature WMM based QoS. These wireless TV routers are ideal to support Apple TV and Roku XD player.

Apple Extreme Base Station

Apple Airport Extreme Base Station is ideal for Apple TV. No argue, you will agree because they are from the same vendor – Apple. Not just that, Airport Extreme is designed to work with your iPod, iPad, iPhone and other Apple products. Apple Airport is powered by the latest wireless 802.11n technology and is backward compatible with 802.11b/g. It is a dual band router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. Roku XD Player supports only 2.4GHz band (the XDS supports dual band), that’s OK you can connect to Airport Extreme since the router supports dual band simultaneously.

Airport Extreme is also powered by the intelligent MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) antenna technology in transmitting the multiple data streams simultaneously for higher speed and better range performance.

Another important feature to support your home network environment is the router includes one USB port. With this USB port you can share the external disk storage to be accessible by the users on your network as well as accessible via Internet securely. Or you can attach a USB printer and configure it to be accessible by all users in the network. The good thing with this USB port is that you can attach both External disk storage and USB printer at once by adding a USB hub.

Cisco-Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router

Cisco-Linksys E3000 is a high-performance router for gaming and video streaming which is ideal for your Apple TV or Roku. The router is powered by the latest wireless 802.11n technology deliver the high speeds of up to 300Mbps (in ideal conditions) and is also dual-band support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz simultaneously.

The E-3000 includes one USB port you can use for sharing the external disk storage with users on the local network or on the internet via secure connection. The router includes a built-in UPnP AV media server to allow you stream video and other media content to an Xbox 360, PS3, or other compatible device. For wired connection, you can use the 4xGigabit Ethernet port to connect to any other Gigabit enabled devices such as Computers, servers, or any other high-speed workstation. You can also consider the WNDR37AV wireless N dual band gigabit router which is DLNA compliant.

By Ki Grinsing

The Perks of Watching Movies Online

Do you want to watch your favorite movie but it is not available on the cinema or video rental store? Or do you have no time to go to the cinema to watch recent releases of action and thriller movies? Never worry since there are some websites available online which offer links to movie database ready to be viewed online. Comparable to the cost of cinema tickets, this is a better choice to watch movies at the comfort of your home. You may even find high quality movies from the selection of movies available from these websites.

The website which offers access to new movie releases may also allow its visitor to watch television shows on the computer. There are several channels which are available on the Internet, which you may only find on your local cable network. In some cases, there are television shows you can view on the website which is not available on the provided cable or satellite TV channels.

There are numerous websites providing online users to watch movies online thus it is difficult to determine which of these sites are considered as reliable sources. There are some websites that contains a wide variety of movies and videos available on their video indexes. If there are children on the house and you want to spend some family time watching movies together, you may search for the suitable movie online. For example, a nursery rhyme such as Little Miss Buffet can be easily searched on the website’s index and can be viewed immediately by streaming the video online. If you have a decent Internet connection, it may appear as if you are watching a movie from a DVD player. These high quality videos are great finds, though accessing and viewing such movies require a registration procedure before the movies appear on the screen.

In order to watch movies online, there are some requirements that you should have:

o You should have a 56K modem or higher. Having a broadband connection is highly recommended for faster buffering of the streamed online movies.

o You should have a suitable media player to play the videos acquired from the website. This video player plug-in is often available for download from the Internet.

o The cookies on your web browser should be enabled. The setting to toggle the cookies of the Internet browser is accessible on the options Menu of the web browser. The web browser should be set to “always accept cookies”.

There are accessibility options to watch movies you want from a database. Most movie lists are grouped into genres and more often alphabetically arranged. You may watch the movie by simply clicking the play button provided on the web page.

The comfort of having to watch movies online is a relaxing way to spend your time. Yet, it is important to have the suitable equipment so that you may not encounter any buffering problems while watching your favorite movie.

Whether you are an old movie aficionado or just into viewing movies online, this is the best site for you. With just a simple click of a button, you may watch your favorite movies anytime you want.