Sat 25 Feb 2012
Rarely does a product satisfy me to the level that Roku has since I purchased it a few months ago. To go back in time, my kids kept begging me for fancy smartphones and I finally broke down and offered them a choice phones or cable TV. Much to my surprise, the kids chose phones over TV so I cancelled my AT&T Uverse subscription at the start of the year.
Having spent quite a bit of money on two large screen LED TVs the year before I didn’t want the screens to go to waste so I picked up Roku boxes and hooked them up to my TV. It took a bit of getting used to but the kids finally adapted and have been finding show after show on the internet to watch without giving me any grief whatsoever.
As a primer, the Roku boxes cost about $60 each and then you subscribe to services (many are free). So far the only paid subscriptions I have are Netflix ($8/month), HuluPlus ($8/month) and AmazonPrime Streaming (free with Amazon Prime). I’ve finally been able to catch up on shows everyone talked about years ago. I’ve managed to watch 7 seasons of “24” and the kids seem to like a variety of shows on HuluPlus including Grimm with limited commercial interruption.
It is becoming very obvious to me that cable companies are in real trouble when it comes to the internet. The only thing missing is a “Steve Jobs” type person to put the pieces together and essentially bankrupt the cable provides like Amazon bankrupted brick and mortar book stores. I think Roku is doing a great job but there are a few cons.
Con #1 – Organization. There is simply so much content on too many channels that it’s difficult to organize, sort and find something. There needs to be a “Genius” like feature to help find similar shows people like to watch.
Con #2 – Pay vs. Free. The biggest oddity in the internet TV field is the odd mix of FREE shows vs. paid shows. I have essentially stopped using my AppleTV box because almost everything on there is pay-per-episode and it’s FREE on Netflix or HuluPlus. Why would I pay iTunes? The only difference is that AppleTV has newer shows while Netflix and HuluPlus have older content but for someone that missed out on countless shows they’re all new to me anyway.
Con #3 – Navigation. This needs to be improved on HuluPlus, Netflix and other channels on Roku but it’s functional just not exceptional.
I’ve watched great shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, 24, Downton Abbey and many others that I have queued up to watch when I get some free time. We’ve reached the tipping point where there is so much content coming out of the internet that cable subscription services are obsolete in my opinion.
Give Roku a tray and you may be surprised! You have nothing to lose except that high cable tv bill! Btw…you’ll still need to pay for high speed internet but it’s still worth every penny!