How To Video
Set up a Roku Digital Video PlayerIf you just got or are thinking about getting a Roku player, Molly Wood shows you how to get it up and running.
Hi, I'm Molly Wood from CNET.com, and I�m here to show you how to get started with a Roku Digital Video Player. Ok, first: what the heck is a Roku player? In a nutshell, it�s a 99-dollar set-top box that you plug into your TV and your Internet connection, and you can stream Netflix Watch Now movies or TV shows, or Amazon Video on Demand movies and shows to your TV. There�s no monthly fee for the Roku box, but you�ll have to pay for a Netflix subscription, and a la carte for Amazon video. Good way to get rid of your cable, if you don�t mind a small selection. So, once you understand what it DOES, here�s how to set it up. Once you unbox the box, you�ll see HDMI, component video, S-Video, and composite video ports, as well as a digital optical port and the standard red/white analog stereo outputs, here. If you want your video to look at all decent, or you have an HDTV, you�ll need an HDMI or component cable. Sadly, you only get a standard composite AV cable in the box. HOWEVER, since the box does have composite and s-video connections, you can hook it up pretty much any old TV, or a computer monitor with a TV tuner. You do get batteries for your remote, but be aware that the remote � is annoying. To put the batteries in, you�ve got to pinch this and slide it forward, then pop it out. To get it back in, you can�t just slide it down, you have to put it back in the same position, like this, and then slide it down. Weird. Annoying. Ok, let�s plug �er in, shall we? I�ve got an HDTV here, so I�m going to use an HDMI cable. Don�t forget the power. Easy. Next, you�ll want to connect the box to the Internet. You can use Ethernet � that cable is also not included � or, it�s got WiFi, so you can follow the on-screen instructions for entering your SSID and password. Once you turn on the box and your TV recognizes it, go to Settings, click Select to change the settings, and follow the onscreen directions to search for your access point. Ok, now, back to the Home menu to set up our Netflix options. If you�re not a Netflix member, don�t bother with this. You�ll select �No, start my free trial,� and end up at a screen that tells you to go to your computer. And it gives you this special Netflix.com/roku URL for a free trial, but it�s the same trial you get from Netflix.com, and when you click �Continue� on the roku-specific page, you just end up at the Netflix home page. So if you�re not a member yet, become one before you bother with the box. If you ARE a subscriber, choose �yes, activate instant streaming from Netflix.� The Roku box will generate a code that you then take over to Netflix.com/activate and enter the code. If you run into problems getting your code, you might not be connected to the Internet. If you didn�t start with settings, go back there and configure your wired or wireless connection, and start over. Once you�ve got the code and entered it into the Website, your box should give you a little congratulations message, and you�re ready to start watching � once you put some movies in your Instant Queue. You have to do that at Netflix.com first, which is kind of a pain, but once you add a bunch, you�re all set. Ok, that�s it for Netflix. The other option on your Roku box is Amazon Video on Demand � movies, and TV on a pay-per-view basis. Once again, before you can start buying or renting, you need a purchase PIN from Amazon. Go to amazon.com/videoondemand/paymentsettings. Catchy, right? Then, choose a 5-digit PIN, and click Save Settings. Then, find the movie or show you want to rent, enter the PIN, hit select, and sit back and relax. And there you go. You�re ready to dump your cable and live off movies and on-demand TV. Well, you know. Once Amazon and Netflix have bigger libraries. But this is a good place to start. For CNET.com, I'm Molly Wood, and you�re welcome.