Tag Archives: Roku

Roku sticks it to cable…again!

Roku is playing in the big leagues with todays announcement from major panel manufactures stating they will comply with MHL implementation standards and provide support for the forthcoming Roku Streaming Stick. Due to be released later this year, the Streaming Stick takes advantage of the MHL port, not the HDMI port, on newish TV’s. Check out the MHL Compatibility Site for a full listing of compatible televisions. This list is updated regularly, so check back if you don’t see the set your looking for at the time. Expect several more “B” and “C” panel dealers to show up on the list soon.

This new device, first debuted at the CES, will allow your MHL equipped television to play with services like Hulu Plus, HBO and the like without relying on the internals of the TV to keep up with streaming set top box technology. Chas Smith of Roku, said “The Roku Streaming Stick adds instant access to the leading streaming platform with virtually no overhead from manufacturers, while giving consumers the best streaming experience available” This is a big plus with the rate of change we are seeing in televisions and set top boxes.

Roku Stick

The Roku Streaming Stick (credit:Roku)

For the techno hungry folks, here’s a few tidbits from wiki on the MHL specifications as they relate to HDMI.
-Power is transmitted thru the cable, unlike HDMI. Typically used for charging a mobile device or powering a MHL to HDMI dongle
- Resolution limited to 1080P
-Typical MHL connector is a micro USB, same as found on many mobile devices (hurry up Apple I now you’re working on it)
-Interoperability of devices guaranteed thru use of the HDTV remote control thru the CEC feature

So what does all of this mean to you? Basically, if you are in the market for a TV, make sure it’s on the list of compatible devices. This ensures you will be able to partake of the MHL/Roku goodness that’s to come with the Roku Streaming Stick release later this year and stream your favorite premium content shows to your new TV.

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Watch and listen to your favorite iTunes podcasts on Roku

Watch and Listen to Your Favorite iTunes Podcasts on Your Roku

Love your Roku, but miss your favorite iTunes podcasts? Well, today is your lucky day. Simply add the free iTunes podcasts private channel to your Roku and each and every podcast in the iTunes store is available at your fingertips. Search and sort by genre, categories and providers. Got a podcast that you can’t get enough of? Just favorite it from the Roku menu and the app will keep it safe and secure the next time you’re around.

In testing the app, audio podcast streamed nearly instantly and video programs had just a bit of buffering, but nothing that impacted the experience. Of course, this all depends on the speed of your internet connection.

To get started, add the iTunes Podcasts Private Channel by clicking here.

Thanks to Roku Guide for the tip.


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Everything You Need To Know About Roku

In short, the Roku is a streaming entertainment device for your TV. With a Roku box you can instantly stream tons of programming over the internet right to your TV – watch movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video, listen to music through Pandora or even catch the ballgame through NBA League Pass or MLB.tv.

Roku XD streaming entertainment device

Roku XD will stream TV shows, music and movies over the internet to your TV.

Content on the Roku comes in the form of “channels.” Each separate channel supports content from a different partner. These channels come in both free and pay form. Some of the most popular free channels are Pandora, Revision3 and Roku Newscaster which connects the free podcasts from CBS, CNN, FOX, ESPN and more into one neat little channel. Premium pay channels include Hulu Plus, Netflix, MLB.tv along with a few others.

There are currently three versions of the Roku player – HD, XD, XD|S. The main distinguishing factors among the three models are the quality of the picture (all get high-definition, but the HD only receives 720p, while the other versions are capable of 1080p), the speed of their wireless connection and the addition of a USB port on the XD|S. Models range in price from $60 – $100, require no extra computer to work and incur no additional monthly bills outside of your existing subscriptions (like Netflix, Hulu Plus or MLB.tv). In my experience, you can get a Roku up and running in about 10-15 minutes – you simply plug it in, add it to your home network and you’re ready to roll.

I have a Roku XD and I really like it. It’s small, light weight and takes up very little space. It simply just works. The only draw back for me is the integration with iTunes. I haven’t been able to figure out how to stream my library to my Roku (if you have an answer, let me know in the comments below). Depending on the programming you watch, the Roku could be a great setup for your living room, bedroom or kids room. They’re cheap and powerful.

You can find Roku at retailers like Best Buy and Radioshack or numerous places online. They come with a 30-day money back guarantee.

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