Saturday, October 29, 2011
Roku follow up.
In June I purchased a roku HDMI works and HDMI handshake issues here. My Phillips LCD TV and Roku XDS had a handshake problem. The result is a green screen instead of a picture. This problem can be solved by re-seating the HDMI cable or by turning the Roku on and off. Reseating the HDMI cable causes unwanted ware and tear on the HDMI port. I've read posts from people who have had a spark when doing this repeatedly and burning out the HDMI port on there TV. This doesn't appear to be common, but I didn't want to run the risk of this. The Roku is basically a mini computer, so restarting it takes 2-3 minutes, too much time when you are ready to plop down and enjoy some TV. manual three port switch. This resolved avoids rebooting the roku and resetting the cable. If I get a green screen due to a handshake issue, I can cycle through the three ports on the switch, causing a new handshake and the problem is gone. The cable is ugly, but the problem is fixed. There are no first run television shows on Netflix, so I though Hulu plus was going to be a must. However, we cancelled Hulu plus last month. The interface was clunky compared to Netflix and watching commercials was a drag. It wasn't awful or 'broken' but it was enough of an impediment that we basically stopped using Hulu Plus. We find enough television on Netflix alone that we barely watch standard cable. Neither Netflix nor Hulu Plus have first run CBS shows or sports, and this may be a big drawback for some. I am not a big sports watcher. I like to watch a little NFL here and there, but Illinois Football is my big passion. Dropping the big 10 network to cut back our cable bill was going to hurt. I was pleasantly surprised the Comcast's 'Economy' cable package included Big 10 Network in standard def only. It's not as fun as watching the game in HD, but it's still fun. I miss the games on ESPN but occasionally they are on one of the major networks and I can still catch the game. I would highly recommend the roku as a cheap solution to lower your cable bill, but it's important to understand what you will and won't be able to watch before making the move. On my wish list for the future is a mini\media PC. I can watch Netflix and hulu standard through a media PC, and I can watch shows direct from the network web sites, such as CBS, NBC, etc... I'll wind up watching TV with a mouse and keyboard but I think this is the best way to get the most bang for your buck. You can buy remotes for your PC, but I think the keyboard will suit me fine. If you watch Hulu and other services through your Roku, DVD player, Wii, etc.... you may find that there are some shows labelled, "Web Only". You can only watch them on your PC. Plugging a media PC directly into the TV would avoid this particular problem. All in all, the Roku has been a very satisfying and money saving experiment. The money savings couldn't have come at a better time, now that I have a teenage son driving. It really helped offset those insurance costs.