Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I happened to stumble upon this little gem that I am about to tell you about recently. I think it is the future in watching movies at home and is so slick, that I want to give it a shout out. It is called Roku.

I have been a member of Netflix for several years and have enjoyed it tremendously. I get movies mailed to me at home where I can watch them without all the noise and distractions and whenever the time suits me best, i.e. after Little Abbey has been tucked into bed. I have always enjoyed movies and Netflix has allowed me to pursue the enjoyment on a much larger scale than I had previously been able to and much much cheaper. For the cost of a single movie ticket, I can watch on average four to five movies at home. It is great. My only complaint about it is occasionally a DVD arrives in the mail broken or otherwise unplayable and I have to send it back and get another copy resent. I think in three years, I've had it happen four times so it doesn't happen too often.

I never thought it could get any better until I stumbled upon Roku. Roku is a box that you plug into your television that can be wired or as in my case, wirelessly connect to the internet and your personal Netflix account. At the touch of a button, I can watch any movie that I have added to my movie que at any time, as often as I like and anywhere in the world. Even that really didn't hit me until I started digging into it a little more.

Now that we have an apartment in the city for Mrs. Abbey to use during residency when it is too late or she too tired to make it back home, I plan on spending some time up there with Little Abbey while she is at work. There are lots of things to do around the city and I certainly do plan to take advantage of them all but there are times when I need to relax and a three year old doesn't understand this. Renting or buying kids movies is expensive and they often like to watch the same favorite one over and over, something I don't like to do. With my old Netflix account, we did rent children’s movies from time to time but in order for us to get an adult oriented movie, we had to send it back and wait a few days. With Roku, I have a dozen kid’s movies in my que that Little Abbey can watch unlimited times and whenever the mood suits her. When she is done, I can instantly watch an adult movie without having to wait for mail transit times.

Also due to our second place of residence, if I wanted to take one of our DVDS's with me to watch there, I would also have to take a DVD player or buy a second one. For much less cost, I decided to purchase the Roku player, which is also much much smaller to haul around, and just take it. It takes a few seconds to plug into the television, automatically connects up to the apartments free wireless internet service and we are watching a movie.

If you are tired or watching movies, you can watch entire seasons of television shows that range anywhere from Dora The Explorer or my personal favorites on PBS like Histories Mysteries or multitudes of documentaries on various subjects. In other words, if there isn't anything on, there is always something on with Roku. We don't watch much television these days but since this service is already included in my month subscription fee of $8.99 to Netflix though I did have to make a one time cash outlay for the box, when we do want to watch something, our options are now almost limitless and our chances of finding something we want to see are excellent.

Finally, there aren't any scratched or broken DVD's every to worry about. Every movie in the system is a saved flawless copy than can't get scratched and it automatically picks the correct format for your television, (i.e. 4:3, letterbox, HD, etc.). The software in the Roku remembers where you are on any number of DVD's that you are currently watching so when Little Abbey watches Dora, it jumps right to the fourth episode on season two where she left off, that long documentary that I'm watching is also saved right where I left off along with the very cheesy first two part episode of the A-Team which I just had to check out since I missed it as a kid with no television. I'm kind of doubting I will even start episode three but hey, it is there and waiting should I ever want too. Best of all, if I want to pause it I can, if I want to rewind it because I missed something I can, and if I deem it not worthy, I can stop it at anytime and not feel cheated since it is already included in my monthly fee that I felt without Roku was a great deal.

In short, it is the new version of sliced bread and what I feel is the future of entertainment.


R. Sherman said...

Sounds great. Alas, I live in a place without high speed internet, so it probably wouldn't be worth it at the moment. Nonetheless, thanks for the tip.


Sage said...

we have a computer hooked up to the big screen TV and can get downloads from netflix--lots of older movies as well as many programs and it comes with your basic membership. I've not seen this box.

Murf said...

The thought of you being on the cutting edge is very unsettling. ;-)

Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - I wouldn't even attempt it with dial up but other people says it works fine with DSL.

Sage - I've watched via a laptop computer before the Roku player but haven't had a television I could hook it up to until recently. Even if I did, I still like the box because of the slick interface software it has.

Murf - I was once king of technology but in my macaroni and cheese lack of money after college, I fell off wagon and somewhere along the way lost my desire to get back on. I'm making small steps.

geri said...

You are right, it is a gem! Can you play all of the movies that you have in your Netflix queue or just the ones that had the "play" button under the instant column!

geri said...

errr... the last sentence was supposed to have a question mark.

Ed Abbey said...

Geri - You can only watch the movies that have the "play" button under the instant column but from what I have seen, the their numbers have been increasing at a rapid pace.

TC said...

Oh man, my best friend is addicted to Netflix. yesterday she realized she sent back one of her movies in place of theirs - they sent it out to someone else and now she can't ever get it back. I think I'll suggest this to her instead!

Beau said...

We've avoided NetFlix (and cable tv!) thus far, but you may have twisted my arm. I would really enjoy it, but I shudder at the thought of more tv time available. Our PBS station went out with the digital switchover (they're upgrading antennas). The boy has been outside more than ever since tv options have been limited, and it's nice to see.

PhilippinesPhil said...

You Americans, so advanced, so efficient. Here I am stuck with my HBO and my Monday noon matinee.