First Look: Roku LT
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First Look: Roku LT2:55 /
The Roku LT is a killer streaming-media box, offering tons of streaming video content, including favorites like Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and Pandora, for just $50.
-Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak at CNET.com, and we're gonna take a look at the Roku LT. This is Roku's $50 streaming media box and the company manages to hit that budget price point by stripping away a lot of the non essential features such the USB port, the fancy remote that you will find on the step up models. That LT just takes to the core streaming functionality. Unlike the other Roku 2 boxes, the Roku LT is tiny. It's even smaller than the Apple TV. There is virtually nothing on the front panel and around back, you will see there is just an HDMI output and AB Output, which you can use with the included breakout cable to support older TVs. The purple case does give it a distinctive look, but we prefer the old black look of the step up Roku 2 boxes. The included remote is really simple and we like it even more than the Bluetooth remote included on the Roku 2 XS, especially the matte finish here, which doesn't attract fingerprints as much. The user interface is basic, but simple. There is a horizontal [unk] icons and there are 4 channels pre installed; Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and Pandora. The first 3 are in excellent trio for cable cutters letting you mixed subscription and pay per view content to catch upon your favorite TV shows. You can add more content sources in the channel store. There's just the plain grid interface here and the amount of content is a little overwhelming especially without search functionality if you're looking for a specific channel, but that variety is one of the real strength of all of Roku's boxes with content like HBO Go, MLV. TV, NHL Gamecenter, Crackle, MOG, Rdio, TED Talks, Revision3. There's just a ton of content on this box. Now, what you don't get is easy support for streaming your own digital media collection. There is no USB port and while you can get some local streaming capability using unofficial private channels, we'd recommend going with another streamer if local media streaming is important to you. You might also notice that the Roku LT only supports 720p video, but during our test we couldn't really notice much of a difference between devices that do support 1080p video. HD streaming from Netflix and Amazon look very good, so we don't think that the lack of 1080p should be a major consideration. Now, if you already have a few Apple devices such as an iPod or an iPhone, you will still wanna consider the Apple TV. The AirPlay functionality is really convenient, and it works well with streaming content from iTunes and the connected PC, although it does cost twice as much than it has fewer content sources, but if you're not committed to Apple's family of products, the choice is much easier as the Roku LT is the best streaming Video Box value we've seen and the most recommendable from Roku's Lineup. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this the Roku LT.