MY NUMBER ONE GIFT PICK
(and it's not a radio!!)
NUMBER ONE: The "ROKU"
My number one pick is not related to radio at all, but it deserves the No.1 slot just because it's.....GREAT! Robin and I were thinking about upgrading to a Blu-Ray player recently but we wanted one with the ability to view NetFlix movies via a wireless connection to the Internet. Our problem: after looking at a ton of reviews, we couldn't find a Blu-Ray player that was excellent in playing Blu-Ray discs AND Netflix.
Then we started to ask ourselves some questions and the answers were illuminating. We didn't really want to expand on our Disc collection, but we wanted to be able to view a library of movies and TV shows that were seconds away from thinking about it - to watching it. Comcast has a very limited video-on-demand listing each month, and we never seem to get unblemished picture and sound when we choose it. Enter the "ROKU".
All you need for this little box to work is a Netflix account ($8.99). This allows you to get one movie at a time per mail, software to view movies on you PC, and the ability to watch movies on your ROKU list thru the big screen. It sounded too good to be true but for about $100 and change we decided to take the ROKU challenge....
The box itself (pictured, above-right) is about the side of a wireless router - only with video outputs. I kinda let it sit in the shipping box for a few days, dreading the complications of trying to get this to work on a secured wireless network, but last night I took the plunge. Approx. 15 minutes later we were available to pick a movie from our NetFlix view now list and we watched two movies, getting to bed around 4 a.m.! The picture and sound were flawless. Not all of the 30,000+ movies are able to be watched in this manner, but with over 10,000 movies that can be viewed, this will only get better and better with time - not to mention, saving money on buying or renting DVD's. The ROKU does not only let you see media from Netflix but from a variety of other sources as well. If you haven't heard about it - now ya have, and.....'Nuff HO-HO-HO Said!
NOTE: There are several different models available. We chose the downward compatible "N" wireless which brought the price into the $120 range or so because we've had spotty coverage with our wireless PC from our "G" router. It was worth the extra money so if we ran into problems watching movies, all we would have to do is buy an "N" wireless router. I'm happy to say that this works fine with the "G" router and that, unless you have some distance to cover, you could probably use the wireless "G" model (which I believe is around $100).