A Second Look at the Roku XD|S

I’ve decided that I am going to start reviewing products after I have had them for awhile. I’ve noticed that most reviews are done when the person has just brought the product or they have gotten it for a review. After you have had a product for awhile, problems may come up that weren’t there in the beginning. Also updates occur that can improve products. The first review of this type is on the Roku XD|S.

I’ve had the Roku XD|S about three months now and at this point I’m not sure I did the right thing when I brought it. I do like the Roku’s ability to get online content, which is the main reason I got it in the first place. However one its biggest weakness is  beginning to bother me and that’s its inability to stream media that’s on your home network . They did add the ability to attaching a USB hard drive to the Roku directly since I purchased it. This works great if you you only have one TV. If you have multiple TVs then you are out of luck, because  that hard drive is invisible to the network. I am not sure why the Roku was designed this way, my best guess is it was a way too appease the content providers so they could get the rights to online content, or maybe it was just an attempt to keep the cost down. What ever the reason, it has made a product that could have been great just good. I know what you are thinking but you knew it didn’t have this capability before you brought it. You would be right, however at the time I brought it I was more concerned with getting media from the Internet. I did take a look at the Boxee Box and the Google TV but both were significantly more expense and were still getting the kinks out. At this point in time I am looking at the Apple TV to fill in the missing ability. I also have to admit AirPlay has made the Apple TV more interesting to me.

I wish that someone would combine the capabilities of the Roku and the Apple TV, with the Apple TV UI. Am I sorry I brought the Roku, a little, it does on line media great, but it’s inability to stream media on my internal network is annoying. If you already have something that streams the media on your internal network, then the Roku is a great addition, but alone it maybe lacking.


6 thoughts on “A Second Look at the Roku XD|S

  1. ArtSadlin – I’m going to check out Roksbox further when I get home, it looks promising.

  2. I didn’t have any problems that I remember when I attached the hard drive to the USB port. I will admit I didn’t leave it attached very long, since my husband was rather upset when he couldn’t get to his favorite movie through his computer. i don’t have an HTPC so it is hard for me to compare the two, I suspect if you have a dedicated HTPC you might be better off, however I suggest because of cost, it is worth buying the Roku XD|S and trying it, it may save you a lot of money.

  3. Have you tried this solution to stream from your various computers to your Roku? I have not tried it yet. Only recently discovered it and have been reading about it. From the description of “Roksbox” it should do everything you are wanting. Here’s their link:
    By the way, I’ve had my Roku about 2 months and just love it. We bought the Hulu Plus subscription and download movies from Amazon. Have not tried NetFlix yet.

  4. I bought the XD a few months ago, just because Amazon offered a $20 discount, and $59 was too good to pass up. I use the Roku all the time for podcasts, and now watching baseball on MLB. I use an Xbox 360 for streaming local content, but it chokes on higher bitrate content. (I believe this is caused more by the older PC I’m streaming from than the Xbox. I plan to build a basic HTPC in the next few months to take care of streaming.)
    How would you rate the playback of different types of media from USB on your Roku?
    I’m thinking of buying an XD|S and giving my XD to a family member. Do you feel the USB playback good enough to replace a dedicated HTPC?

  5. I know what you are saying – I have a Roku XDS we got me for Christmas, and it has definite limitations. But between Amazon video and Hulu and other streaming, I haven’t felt that I am missing much. I can hook up a Mac/PC if I really need the streaming media, but generally in that case we just use the laptop anyway …

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