BBC iPlayer, Netflix and USB media playback on your TV thanks to a tiny box
Roku’s 2XS is a media streamer unlike any other. Rather than being designed to play files stored on network-connected PCs, it’s designed primarily for playing internet content – notably the BBC’s iPlayer and Netflix, a paid-for video-streaming service.
It’s a tiny box at 84x84x23mm. On the back there’s an HDMI port for your TV, an AV port for sets without HDMI (for which a cable is supplied), a power connector and an Ethernet port. On the side is a USB connector, into which you can plug a memory key, and a micro SD slot. And that’s it.
The remote is small and easy to use and connects via Bluetooth. Like the Wii remote, it can be used to play games such as the pre-installed copy of the popular Angry Birds game. Extra games are stored on memory card.
Installation is simple; the box will detect your Wifi network and prompt for the password (or plug in a network cable), then displays a code for you to enter on the Roku website to link it to a Roku account. You then pick ‘channels’ such as iPlayer, Netflix, Fox News and Weather Underground or add them later.
Navigating the channels is simple. Video looks blocky when it starts but the playback quality adapts to your broadband speed. Despite Roku’s claims of 1080p high-definition quality, the best we saw was comparable to DVD.
Besides those two channels, most of what’s available is news, minority interest channels, out-of-copyright movies, and similar fare – there’s no Lovefilm, nor ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5 catch-up channels. The 2XS can play files stored on USB disks but only H.264 video is supported, as well as AAC and MP3 music files, plus JPEG and PNG photos.
While the Roku 2XS is compact and easy to use, there’s not enough high-quality content for UK viewers.
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The Roku 2XS is easy to use, but needs more quality content or a price drop
Easy set up; access to iPlayer and Netflix
Limited content; limited format support; no playback of media stored on your PC
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