Archives For Roku

Two Weeks With Roku TV

Dave Zatz —  January 12, 2015

I wasn’t the only member of the Zatz family that picked up a new television this season. And, unlike my Vizio experience, Mom has been quite pleased with the two TCL Roku TVs I chose for her. Of course, her expectations and tolerances in this realm are far more, uh, relaxed than most of our regulars – so context is indeed important.

Upon moving from Florida to Virginia in 2013, I had Mom unload her truly crappy living room television while hanging onto her 32″ bedroom Vizio with an understanding that we’d come up with a more modern solution once she furnished her NoVA condo. As the furnishing have now (mostly) arrived, it was time to identify new televisions for the bedroom and the living room, with the Vizio earmarked for the den/office. I originally thought a pair of 42″ HDTVs might do the trick and figured she’d benefit from the same manufacturer, remote, and interface. With that in mind, my original thought for practicality was to pick up whatever Vizio model Costco had on the floor. She’d had good luck with her original Vizio and Costco includes a stellar warranty and technical support.

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Best Buy To Launch Roku TV

Dave Zatz —  January 4, 2015

Roku-TV-Insignia

As with CES 2014, Roku’s 2015 Vegas outreach will skew heavily towards their TV partnerships. Last year, Roku introduced TCL and Hisense televisions with the Roku experience built right in (versus questionably successful “Roku Ready” MHL-like stick accessorizing). Indeed, I found the end product so compelling that I ordered two 40″ sets for Mom (review to come). And, apparently, I’m not the only one enamored with Roku’s boxless design as two new manufacturers have joined the fray. While Haier televisions aren’t so interesting, Best Buy is also unveiling a line of Insignia Roku TV models… which we fully expect will outsell and outperform the largely forgotten TiVo TV.

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roku-google-play

After the debacle that was Google TV and the aborted Nexus Q sideshow, Google bounced back nicely with the inexpensive and effective $35 Chromecast streaming stick. Not content to leave well enough alone, Android TV was announced at Google I/O and the Asus Nexus Player recently hit the market ahead of a revised, second generation Chromecast. And, as these two new products ramp up while project management fails to present a clear vision, Google has hedged their bets… by launching their Google Play video store on Roku. Given Logitech’s abandonment of Google TV and ASUS’ prior streaming efforts, Amazon Fire TV is the “Android TV” I’d go with or that aforementioned Roku for those deep into Google’s ecosystem. While Amazon similarly provides its video service to competing devices, including TiVo, the retailer’s business model and approach is better defined.

roku-screen-mirroring-settings

By way of several support notes, perhaps posted a bit early, we learn that Roku is set to unveil mobile device screen mirroring. It’s not clear if these are the Miracast capabilities originally predicted by GigaOm in 2013 or something entirely different, but we do know the feature is currently limited to Roku 3 and Roku Stick (HDMI) hardware and it’s suggested both the Android or Windows Phone streaming device and Roku reside on the same network for best performance. Beyond straight up screen mirroring, Firefox Video Casting is also revealed and is more Chromecast (DIAL) in presentation. Desktop mirroring is referenced too, but a mechanism to pass the content has yet to be described… also, noticeably absent is iOS. I expect we’ll learn more shortly! Continue Reading…

roku-credit-card

While Roku remains our go-to streaming player, gifting still leaves something to be desired. And, as the company eclipses 10 million units and pressures streaming partners, Roku continues to solicit credit card information for the small number of apps that require it and to take a cut of every M-Go video rental or purchase. Of course, this isn’t unusual given Apple and Amazon streaming devices that also have credit cards on file. But, for whatever reason, it seems out of place on Roku and not everyone is comfortable or capable of complying. Whereas the company once suggested folks that object create fake PayPal accounts, they now direct customers to a non-publicized link. Instead of registering new Roku boxes via the standard workflow, by going through the link below, customers are provided a convenient “Skip” button to bypass the payment form.

https://my.roku.com/signup/nocc

Accessing Roku’s Secret Menu

Dave Zatz —  September 23, 2014

roku-secret-screen

While I’d been vaguely familiar with a prior version of Roku’s service menu, I hadn’t yet stumbled upon the one associated with their newer user interface… Until a co-worker mentioned he’d had some issues resulting in Roku support directing him here. While there’s not a whole lot of interest for most of us on any sort of regular basis, I do believe it’s my digital media civic duty to document its existence. So, to bring up the Roku Secret Screen:

  • Click the Home button 5 times
  • Click the Fast Forward button three times
  • Click the Rewind button twice

It’s not Konami Code difficult, but remember to use the transport controls versus the directional arrows. And I should probably warn you that selecting the wrong option in this menu could possibly brick your device… although I doubt that’s likely.

(Thanks Keith!)

The A&E Streaming Infographic

Dave Zatz —  September 22, 2014

aande-infographic

In conjunction with the A&E, History, and Lifetime Channel apps launching on Fire TV, A+E Networks hit us with an interesting infographic. And, while it’s far too large to run in its entirely, we’ve chopped up a portion above. Beyond the numbers, and without knowing how exactly they measure an Apple TV “download,” A+E elaborates:

On average, XBOX 360 users watch 292% more videos per user than Apple TV and 21% more than Roku. Roku users watch 224% more than Apple TV users.

Further, reinforcing data previously provided in regards to the Verizon FiOS Xbox app, A+E Networks report viewing peaks each evening about 10-11PM. And 88% of connections by those running “mobile” apps occur over WiFi versus cellular.