Roku and the future of TV

By this time tomorrow Wednesday a lot of us will be talking about Google TV and if it’s the future of television or not. So I thought I would slip in a quick post about my experience with Roku’s video streamer since I received it last Friday.

Roku SD video streamerRoku just revised their line of media streamers so I used this opportunity to pick up a discontinued SD model from their eBay outlet store for our still SD TV in the bedroom. For less than $50 I could demo the user experience and decide if the Roku way was viable in the age of Apple TV and what is coming tomorrow from the Big G. And I wanted to watch Tekzilla and HD Nation instead of the late news.

So I’m happy to report it’s pretty compelling based on what they have now and what is to come (mostly Hulu Plus). Unlike the walled garden of Apple TV, the Roku is open to streaming a lot of content. Out of the box it has access to almost 80 channels but what makes it especially interesting to me is the ability to create private channels for niche content. Basically anything with an RSS feed embedded with videos of the right codecs are immediately playable making the Roku a podcast junkies dream. There’s even a slightly janky but usable Ustream channel for live streams when you want to check up on what Leo is up to right now.

This thing has a lot of promise and might convince me to forgo what Apple TV might be with apps in favor of what Roku does right now.

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