If you haven’t heard the word before, “Roku” might sound like a semi-painful form of therapeutic massage.
But Roku is really a small, powerful piece of technology that streams entertainment from sources like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and offers roughly 750 channels of content.
We bought our first Roku for Christmas in 2009. Our kids immediately found some of their favorite shows to watch on Netflix, and that Winter Break passed with many peaceful days spent piled on the couch in cozy pjs before the TV.
Once we bought a Hulu Plus subscription – and later, Amazon Prime – we found a world of entertainment possibilities open up through the Roku. It was easier to control what our kids watched, easier to find things we wanted to watch, and easier to rent the newest DVDs (without having to rent the actual DVDs).
We quickly realized that with just one Roku, we only had such entertainment freedoms on one TV. So…we bought another Roku. And a year later, we bought one more. We now have three Rokus – one for the living room, one for the game room, and one in my bedroom (hey, Mama’s gotta have her “me” time!). It’s safe to say we’re crazy about Roku.
Yes, there are other ways to stream entertainment at home. You can buy a “smart” TV with built-in streaming capabilities. Many game consoles now offer the ability to stream entertainment. But for us, the plug-and-play portability of the Roku is the easiest, most convenient – and definitely most affordable – option for streaming movies and TV. We even travel with a Roku – as long as there is WiFi where you are, you can have your favorite entertainment at your fingertips, and not be limited to what channels are available on the hotel’s network or on Grandma’s tv.
Over the years, as Roku has grown, we’ve started exploring the different channels offered through their network. Some – like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and even HBO Go – require a separate subscription for access, but most channels on Roku are free. We have started watching selections from PBS, SyFy, Mormon Channel and BYU TV. And we’re playing with how to stream music through Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, and Spotify. I’m probably most excited that Roku just added a PBS Kids channel. My 5yo son loves the shows on PBS Kids, but often asks to watch them when the block of programming has already ended for the day. Now I can just direct him to the channel on the Roku, and he can watch PBS Kids whenever he wants!
As Roku continues to grow and innovate, I imagine our loyalty to them will only increase. Already I’m looking at the Roku 3, mainly because of the new remote that features a headphone jack for wireless, private audio while watching tv. How cool is that?
For your information, Roku models range from just $49.99 to $99.99. You can see a side-by-side comparison of each at Roku.com.
What about you: Do you Roku? Have you even heard of it before? What are the chances you would use something like Roku to replace cable?
*Disclosure: This post is not at all sponsored. We just seriously love Roku. And as a fan, I also became an affiliate, so those links are included in this post.