Monday, February 18, 2013

It's Time To... Choose Your Roku !!

Welcome back, everyone !!

Now that you know exactly what your options are content-wise, at least from the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store, it's time to decide which Roku streaming media player is right for you.

Currently, there are just TWO OPTIONS available to Roku purchasers, here in the UK. They are:-

(i) The Roku LT, and;

(ii) The Roku XS.

For the best side-by-side comparison of the two Roku models, outlined above, I recommend first looking at this guide from the official Roku UK website, to help you decide which Roku is going to be the right one for your individual needs.

To further assist you, SOME IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS you might want to factor in, are:-

(a) If you want or need a WIRED CONNECTION then it will have to be the Roku XS;

(b) If you want 1080p FULL HD functionality, then it will have to be the Roku XS;

(c) If you want a USB port to connect a portable USB drive or external USB hard drive, for the playback/viewing of your own stored media such as music (AAC and MP3 format ONLY), videos (MKV [H.264] and MP4 format ONLY) or photos (JPG and PNG format ONLY), then it will have to be the Roku XS;

(d) If you want a MicroSD card slot for additional game and channel storage memory, then it will have to be the Roku XS;

(e) If you want an enhanced Bluetooth Remote with motion control for games, rather than the regular Standard InfraRed (IR) Remote, so that your Roku player can be stored away out-of-sight yet still be fully functional, then it will have to be the Roku XS;

(f) If you want the Angry Birds video game included FREE, then it will have to be the Roku XS, and;

(g) If you would like the option of adding certain games, channels and screensavers, etc. which are only compatible with the Roku XS then, obviously, it will have to be the Roku XS.

Now, if none of the above considerations are relevant to your particular needs or situation, then by all means, save yourself a few quid and opt for the Roku LT but, for me at least, the Roku XS is the way to go because the extra outlay is minimal given the additional functionality it provides.

If you would like to look at the 'Get Started' guides for each of the players, you will find them here:-

Roku LT Quick Start Guide (UK)

and, here:-

Roku XS Quick Start Guide (UK)

These guides are well worth a look because they will give you a better idea of what is included with each player, as well as providing an insight as to what can be expected during the setup process.

It is worth noting that BOTH the Roku LT and the Roku XS are capable of WIRELESS functionality. So, if that is your preferred or (unfortunately) ONLY OPTION, then you need not worry, as either player can be set up to perform as part of a wireless network if necessary.

However, it is ONLY the Roku XS which is capable of:-

Having a WIRED CONNECTION, by virtue of the Roku XS having a built-in ethernet port, whereas (unfortunately) the Roku LT does not feature an ethernet port.

You may also like to know that BOTH the Roku LT and the Roku XS are capable of outputting the following video standards:-

480i (over composite video)
480p (over HDMI)
720p (over HDMI)

However, it is ONLY the Roku XS which is capable of:-

1080p (over HDMI)

In other words, the Roku LT is NOT CAPABLE of outputting 1080p FULL HD video, which may be a consideration for those of you hoping to take advantage of the higher quality streams available from Netflix and other channel providers.

Speaking of HD video content, there is one oversight on the part of Roku when packaging these products, in as much as they do not include an HDMI cable among the contents in the boxes for either the Roku LT or the Roku XS. For, whilst they do include a composite video cable with both players, for connection to older standard CRT television sets, an HDMI cable IS NOT INCLUDED for connection to more modern HD televisions. So, if you have an HD TV, you will need to get hold of an HDMI cable to benefit from the best output video quality from your (new) Roku player.

Another point of interest to potential purchasers may be the language options available to you when investing in a Roku player, here in the UK. You might be pleased to learn that the following languages are currently catered for by the UK version of the popular streaming media player:-

1. English;
2. Deutsch (i.e. German);
3. Español (i.e. Spanish), and;
4. Français (i.e. French)

So, if you happen to be fluent in any of those languages, you can simply configure your preferred language within the Roku Player Settings menu and customize your Roku player to function in your native tongue or perhaps your chosen second language. As with all things Roku... the choice is yours !!

Anyway, now that you've decided which Roku player is the right one for you, you are probably going to want to know HOW MUCH IS IT? and WHERE CAN I BUY IT?

For those of you interested in the Roku LT, you can obtain it from the following retailers, listed below with the cheapest total price (incl. VAT & delivery) first, and then sorted A-Z by retailer wherever the same price is offered by two or more different retailers:-£49.98 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY£49.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY£49.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Currys.........................................................£49.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

PC World....................................................£49.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY£52.95 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Scan Computers......................................... £49.98 (incl. VAT) + £4.99 (minimum) for delivery

Maplin.........................................................£59.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Alternatively, for those of you with a little more cash to splash, who may be leaning more towards the Roku XS,  it can be purchased from the following retailers, again listed with the cheapest total price (incl. VAT & delivery) first, then sorted A-Z by retailer whenever the same price is offered by two or more different retailers:-£79.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY£79.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Currys.........................................................£79.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

PC World....................................................£79.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY£82.39 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Tesco Direct................................................£99.97 (incl. VAT) + £3.00 (minimum) for delivery£99.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

Scan Computers......................................... £100.00 (incl. VAT) + £4.99 (minimum) for delivery

Maplin.........................................................£109.99 (incl. VAT) + FREE DELIVERY

I would like to point out that the above list of retailers was obtained from this page on the official Roku UK website and that the prices shown were obtained by following the various "Buy Now" links posted there. I can also verify that the prices shown were correct at the time of posting but are subject to change by the individual retailers, at any time. The official Roku "Where To Buy?" guide indicates that the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Roku LT is currently £49.99 and for the Roku XS is currently £99.99 but, again, those prices are subject to change.

There may, of course, be other retailers or sellers for either product whose prices may be lower (or higher) than those outlined above and you are, therefore, advised to do your own research before committing to any purchase of this kind. Just let us know if you find any bargains out there !!

So, now that you know what options are available to you, all that remains is for you to take the plunge, invest in a Roku streaming media player and join the UK Roku revolution.

That's really all there is to it.

Although, having said that, I should not really end this post without first giving you...

MY TWO CENTS WORTH... because, in my humble opinion, a WIRED CONNECTION is the only way to ensure a reliable experience, particularly when watching HD content via a streaming media player. Even if you need to make the added investment in a couple of powerline adapters (at say £30-£50 for the pair) to allow for your router being in a different part of the house to where you install your Roku, I would ALWAYS RECOMMEND going with A WIRED CONNECTION for best results.

Also, the added benefit of a MicroSD card slot (included with the Roku XS) makes it worth investing in a suitable MEMORY CARD to expand the available memory on the Roku XS to enable a faster, smoother experience when navigating the User Interface (UI) on the Roku streaming media player. For best results, Roku recommends a 'Class 2' or greater MicroSD card, with a minimum of 2GB storage capacity. For the record, I use a 'Class 4' MicroSDHC card with an 8GB capacity and, especially once you've added a bunch of channels, YOU WILL NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE in the speed of the UI when used with expanded memory versus without it. Again, it may add another five or six pounds to your budget but the decrease in loading times for channels and games PLUS the increase in speed for just zipping through your channels is money well spent.

It's also worth noting that, if you were to buy the enhanced Bluetooth remote (with motion control for games) as a standalone accessory from Roku, it would likely cost you £29.99 where available. With the Roku LT priced (generally) around £49.99 and the Roku XS widely available for £79.99 (currently), it doesn't really seem like much of a saving if you opt for the Roku LT. If you think about it, with the Roku XS, you are not only getting the enhanced Bluetooth remote and the functionality afforded by it, but also 1080p FULL HD instead of just 720p, plus an ethernet port (allowing for a WIRED setup) and a USB port, as well as a MicroSD card slot for expanded channel/game memory, not to mention a FREE copy of Angry Birds, all thrown in for the same price an enhanced Bluetooth remote would be.

So, for these reasons PLUS the aforementioned considerations, I (personally) opted for the Roku XS because, although priced slightly higher, I felt the additional features and functionality warranted the increased cost. Just thought you might like to know...

Anyhow, that's definitely all I have to say on the subject for now.

The rest is up to you... and all I will ask from here on in is, "Do you Roku?", because if the answer is "Yes" then you'll be frequenting these pages on a regular basis to find out all the latest goings-on for Roku in the UK. Whereas, if the answer is "No", then you are probably not interested in the Roku player and are unlikely to be visiting these pages very often. That said, do come back every once in a while because, you never know... you may see something here which will change your mind and have you rushing out to buy a Roku player of your own, afterall.

Until the next time, then...

That's all folks !!

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