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Product Spotlight: Roku's $50 streaming box keeps getting better

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Product Spotlight: Roku's $50 streaming box keeps getting better

3:17 /

The Roku LT is a killer streaming-media box, offering tons of streaming content -- including favorites like Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and Pandora -- for just $50.

-Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we're gonna take a look at the Roku LT. This is one of the top home theater products on the market and it's available for just $50. It's essentially the same compact streaming video box that Roku released last year, but it's gotten a few software and hardware updates in the meantime. On the hardware side, it's largely the same compact purple box with built-in WiFi, although it doesn't have dual band WiFi that's available on the Roku streaming stick. The big change on the back is that the LT now has full sized analog video output rather than needing to use a breakout cable like on last years model. You also notice an HDMI output on the back, but there is no Ethernet or USB port on this model, so you'll need to step to one of Roku's more expensive boxes if you want those features. The included remote is excellent and it's really simple to use, which has a directional pad, some playback controls and a few additional buttons. It's also a great size. It fits nicely on your hand rather than some of those super thin credit card style remotes that are included with some other boxes. The software and user interface is largely the same, although there have been some improvements. The Roku LT continues to stream a huge selection of services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Pandora, RDO MLB TV, and Vudu is recently added. The big missing services at this point are YouTube and Spotify. So, if you really want those, you are gonna have to look elsewhere. On the other hand, Roku still has over 600 other channels to chose from, so there's just a lot of content that you can find on this box. Roku also recently added something called Roku search, which lets you find content across Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Vudu. This is a feature that isn't offered on many competitors, and it makes it much easier to find content that you may not remember what service it's actually on. Another feature is play on Roku, which is basically Roku's answer to AirPlay. Load up the Roku app on your smartphone, select play on and it lets you stream music and photos stored on your phone right to your TV. It's not quite as nice as AirPlay since it doesn't work with third party apps, but for many people, it's gonna be good enough. Final question many, many have about the Roku LT is its 720p app especially when most competing boxes have 1080p output, but honestly in my testing, the lower resolution just isn't noticeable especially if you have a TV that's 50 inches or less. So, unless you're really picky about image quality, I wouldn't consider the Roku 720p output much in your buying decision. So, altogether, the Roku LT continues to be a killer streaming video box that keeps getting better with an incredible $50 price tag. If you invested in the Apple ecosystem, you'll still want to seriously consider the Apple TV, but for everyone else, the Roku LT is an unbeatable guy. Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and this is the Roku LT.

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