Roku 2 WS
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Roku 2 WS

There was a time when if you wanted to watch something on television you had to go to the living room about fifteen minutes before the show started and tune in to the proper channel, one of seven or eight, adjust the antennae, set the video and finally settle in to enjoy the show. You were literally at the mercy of the limited programming and strict schedule of the networks. This may seem like fantasy to the younger set but it was the facts of life for those of us with a few more winters under our belts. now, television series and movies are available through a myriad of sources including DVDs, Blu-rays and online streaming services. the quandary presents itself that usually this restricts you viewing to the size of your computer screens. While this is not a bad way to enjoy your favorite shows there are now better ways to go. It is becoming increasingly commonplace to find streaming service access included in modern Blu-ray players and televisions but now stand alone solutions are readily available. I've tried a couple and after a bit of experimentation and research installed what is generally considered the top contender, the Roku 2 WS. This little device barely measures 3"x3"x1", conformably fitting in the palm of your hand. Contained in this tiny package lies the potential for innumerable hours of enjoyment. There are several versions available with the WS leading the family. Considering the price differential is typically only a about $30 with the cost of the WS coming in at an affordable $90, it makes considerable sense to go with the top model. The added technical abilities will make it a must have in your home theater.

as is the case with most such devices there are many different applications available although in most cases you will find only a few useful on a regular basis. among those will certainly include connections to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video. you do have to pay subscription fee of about $8 monthly for Hulu and Netflix and $78 for Amazon Prime but that does include free expedited shipping for purchases that many people make on a regular basis anyway.

The installation could not be simpler. It took me only 30 minutes from opening the box to watching my first movie on it. The hardware portion consists of:

bulletPlug power adapter
bulletConnect Roku to TV or receiver via HDMI cable
bullet Plug in power cord
bulletSet-Up Roku account; email and password
bulletGo to the setup channel and select video resolution, audio and network ; wired or 802.11n/g/a/b wireless
bulletOptionally you can set up a code number to prevent unauthorized purchases

That's really all there is to it. After that it is just a matter of installing the Applications, or Channels, as they are referred to here. for the subscription services like Hulu and Amazon the first time you open the channel you will receive a validation code and web address for activation. go to the site and enter the code. The screen will change in a few moments confirming the activation.

Both Netflix and Amazon offer content with 1080p video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. This exceeds the 1080i typically available on most cable providers equaling Blu-ray. the audio is robust with excellent channel separation and sub woofer utilization. The video is also exceptionally well presented.  This will quickly become a regular way to watch films and television. Amazon offers full seasons of many popular television series, current and previous. If you purchase a currently running season new episodes will become available the day after they broadcast. Most shows are available in 1080p/5.1 HD. i also noted that some seasons have not been released on DVD. For Amazon Prime members there are thousands of free movies and television series.


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