Roku HD (2012) review: Roku HD (2012)

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Pricing Unavailable

Average User Rating

3 stars 15 user reviews

The Good The Roku HD is a small streaming-media box that costs only $60. It offers hundreds of streaming-video and -audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Vudu, Pandora, Mog, Rdio, and MLB.TV. Roku also offers cross-platform search, capable of finding content across major streaming services. And the HD also supports older TVs via its analog video output.

The Bad For those invested in the Apple ecosystem, the Roku HD doesn't offer the same tight integration as the Apple TV's AirPlay functionality. The Roku HD also lacks channels for YouTube and Spotify. And there's no Ethernet port, so you'll need a solid Wi-Fi signal in your home theater.

The Bottom Line With its ability to stream hundreds of audio and video channels (including Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, and Hulu Plus), the $60 Roku HD would be our top pick for those seeking an ultra-affordable Internet media box -- if not for the fact that it's nearly identical to the slightly cheaper Roku LT.

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Editors' note: As of October 2013, the product reviewed here has been discontinued and replaced by the Roku 1 .

What's the difference between the Roku LT and the Roku HD reviewed here? Ten dollars, a different color body, and not much else. But you just want to know one thing: should you buy this box?

The answers: if the Roku LT is sold out (or discontinued), yes; if the HD is discounted to $50 or less, yes.

That's because the $60 Roku HD is, so far as we can tell, all but identical to the $50 Roku LT, which remains an enthusiastic CNET Editors' Choice as the most affordable streaming-media box you can buy. Both models offer hundreds of video and audio channels, including favorites such as Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Crackle, Pandora, MLB.TV, Mog, Rdio, and HBO Go. Both connect seamlessly to your Wi-Fi network. And both can be connected to new HDTVs or any old-fashioned analog TV.

The only differences appear to be cosmetic: the LT is purple with a black base, the HD is black with a purple base. But the electronic innards, features, and performance of the two boxes appear to be identical.

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Where to Buy

Roku HD (2012)

Part Number: CNET2500R Released: Nov 7, 2011
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 7, 2011
  • Connectivity Protocols IEEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi)
    IEEE 802.11g
    IEEE 802.11n
  • Type remote control
  • Functionality Internet radio playback
    Internet video playback
  • Output Mode stereo
  • Type digital multimedia receiver