Roku XDS
3:12

Roku XDS

Culture
-If you wanna join the hot new trend of streaming full-screen video to your television without having to connect to computer to it, the Roku XD series of Set Top Boxes are a very strong choice. I'm Brian Cooley from CNET here to shine the product spotlight on the Roku XDS. The original Roku TV boxes were Netflix only, but even at that, they were a big hit. This new XD series offers even more; Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora Radio, MLB, Podcast, and more channels while the box itself is less. It's much smaller and some models start as low as $59. The Roku XD boxes all have at least 720p high def output, built-in WiFi as well as wired Ethernet and an HDMI output as well as a simple little remote. The XDS we're looking at is top of the line at $99; and for the additional money, it includes the latest dual band wireless for solid WiFi playback of even HD material, so you will need a compatible router to take advantage of that. It also steps up the HD output on the back to 1080p. It has component and optical inputs along with HDMI and adds an instant replay function as well as this USB port for playing video or photo files off a thumb drive. It really is easy to connect and set up and took no more than a few minutes. Once you get it plugged in, you will have to do some one-time authorization on a computer and to enable your accounts on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vimeo, etc. Aside from the Marquee Channels, you can add or drop others all ala carte, but have you noticed what's missing? No Youtube or Apple iTune support and Hulu plus has been announced but not yet enabled as of our shoot date in early November. Once you request a title from any of these channels, we'll have a buffering time of around 6 to 15 seconds in our experience. While that's happening, you'll see a little array of dots. These tell you the level of quality you'll be getting, which depends on both the quality of the source you're about to see and the speed of your internet connection. The box will scale the quality down if it must to keep the stream moving smoothly. Most folks prefer that. Navigating back and forth within the video is not as smooth as when you're watching the DVD or a computer file, but considering it's a stream out on the internet, it's pretty good. The big question is whether to go with a Roku XD series or the latest apple TV box. Now, if you're heavily invested in video on iTunes, you wanna use Apple's airplay feature or wanna watch computer files without first putting them on a thumb drive, Apple TV might be your choice, but we feel the combination of content offerings, great interface, ease of use, and low price on the Roku XDs make them a very strong series of contenders. I'm Brian Cooley with the Product Spotlight. Thanks for watching.

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