Lots of people are looking for ways to get web based content onto their TV’s, rather than viewing it on an iPad or iPhone. The Roku makes that a reality, but with some nice little touches that make it a stand out product.

What is it?

A set top box (about the size of a deck of cards) which connects to your TV via HDMI or composite cable, allowing you to stream web based TV such as BBC iplayer, Netflix and other content providers to your telly. Here’s some info on the services you can access to:

BBC iPlayer

The standout feature of the Roku, is its BBC iplayer capabilities. The app for accessing this service is excellent. Sturdy, bug-free and quick, browsing content is a breeze. It also provides content in HD, which is great. Picture quality is sharp and the interface very responsive.

This is easily the best iPlayer app we’ve come across, and there are a few.

Crackle

Free movie service.Good selection of free movies, although no latest titles.

Euronews

A series of lifestyle and news articles available on demand, updated daily. Good for watching specific news articles as opposed to a live channel. Available in several languages too.

ADC

Good selection of independent films, documentaries and older films. Free to access and ad supported. Rent movies without the ads for just $0.99.

Revision 3

Internet television content from Revision 3. Channel based content from independent artists.

WSJ

Financial based content from Wall Street Journal. Good app, quick loading too.

Weather Underground

Nice looking weather app, containing a 5 day forecast and webcam views of your location. Comprehensive list of cities and towns worldwide.

Tune In Radio

A Roku version of the popular iPhone app, allowing you to stream thousands of Internet radio stations to your TV. One of our favourite stations is Club 977 80’s radio, which played in high quality without buffering on a modest Wifi connection.

Flixster

Movie trailers from Flixster also containing ratings from rottentomatoes.com – most trailers available in HD format too.

Netflix

TV shows, movies, documentaries etc from Netflix. Fast, clean app allowing access to all the usual features.

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone of any age group, although we think it’s great for families who want more TV choice without monthly financial commitments.

 

What we think:

Setting up the Roku is simple, and takes less than five minutes. Connecting to Wifi is simple and it holds the signal well without buffering at all in the time we used it. There is plenty of content, and enough to keep adults and kids entertained for hours.

It comes with a small, cute purple remote which works from all angles in our moderate sized room.

We were very impressed with the Roku, not least for its size but also it’s reliability with connecting via Wifi, and range of free content. The BBC iPlayer app is the standout feature here, and makes it worth it’s price alone.

We took our Roku on a weekend trip with the children. We connected the Roku to the hotel room TV via the HD socket, logged on to the hotel Wifi and were able to stream our 15 month old daughters favourite shows, without racking up a movie bill or using a laptop.

We tested the Roku LT, priced at just £49.99 – which we feel is an amazing price. A fantastic alternative to standard subscription TV services (Sky or Virgin Media for example). Also great for keeping the kids entertained whilst travelling.

Take a look for yourself at http://www.roku.com/uk

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