Return of the $79.99 Roku-Hulu Plus combo deal
Once again, Roku has teamed up with Hulu for a great bundle, which includes six months of Hulu Plus and an HDMI cable.
This is an update of a deal I first wrote about back in June. With the holidays upon us, it's the perfect time for this "rerun."
Through the end of next week, and while supplies last, Roku is bundling the Roku HD box, a six-month Hulu Plus subscription, and an HDMI cable for $79.99 shipped. Those items would normally cost you around $128 if purchased separately.
A brief personal story: we're having a bit of trouble with our cable service. For some reason, the signal from ABC has degraded in the last couple weeks, leaving us with recorded shows that suffer from significant, distracting artifacting.
Thankfully, while we're waiting for Comcast to figure this out, we can stream the latest episodes of "The Middle," "Modern Family," "Once Upon a Time," and other ABC favorites via Hulu Plus -- all in crisp, artifact-free HD.
The rub, of course, is that we have to sit through commercial breaks -- usually anywhere from 30-90 seconds' worth. That beats the 4-5 minutes the networks hit you with, but it's still annoying.
Although less so when you're getting it all for free. (Well, free-ish.) I tend to think $7.99 per month is fairly cheap for Hulu's unlimited streaming, but free is even cheaper.
For those of you who haven't yet experienced the joy of Roku, the boxes plug into your TV and serve up streaming-media services like Hulu Plus (natch), Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, and Pandora.
Once you buy the box, the only additional costs are what you pay for any given service (and your Internet service, of course). Netflix, for example, costs $7.99 per month, just like Hulu Plus.
I own three Roku boxes, including the HD, and they're all kinds of awesome. They offer plug-and-play operation, simple and straightforward menus, and even freeand apps that can take the place of the bundled remote.
The HD model tops out at 720p, not 1080p like the two pricier boxes, but I think that's fine for smaller TVs -- those measuring 42 inches or less. (Many of them can't display higher than 720p anyway.)
I grabbed this deal last time around, and couldn't be happier with it. Your mileage may vary, but I doubt it.