The Roku 2 XS Streaming Player is one in a line of a range of different multimedia boxes to suit all budgets. Roku has become a major player in the multimedia streaming market, and first started life as the Netflix player. Since then it’s come on a long way, and allows users to access a wide range of streaming services, but is it a true contender to Apple TV?
Roku 2 XS Specs At A Glance
Average Price: $99.99
Size: 3.3 x 3.3 x 0.9
Connection: HDMI, Composite Video
Resolution: Up to 1080p
SD Card Slot: MicroSD
USB Ports: 1
Storage Space: None
Internet: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Web Browser: None
Amazon Video: Yes
Different Options Available: The Roku 2 comes in a number of different formats: the Roku 2 XS, the XD and HD. The XS is the most expensive at around $100, with XD retailing at around $80, and the XD at about $60. This is a fantastic price range for anyone who wants to get into digital streaming to their TV but doesn’t want to have to pay out a fortune. The differences between the three are very subtle, too, so you’ll still get a lot with the cheapest version. Keep reading this review to find out more about what you get with the XS in comparison to the cheaper models.
Design: The Roku 2 XS, and others in the line, are the smallest digital media players you can buy. If you thought the Apple TV was small, you should take a look at the Roku! It’s a simple design, like most of the other media players, so it’ll blend very easily into any living room.
Ports: Despite the tiny design of the Roku 2 XS, it comes with a variety of different ports: HDMI output, composite AV, microSD memory card slot and Ethernet port (on the XD and HD boxes, you can only use a Wi-Fi connection).
There’s no power button on the Roku 2 boxes: this means that they’re always switched on, though they do go to sleep when you aren’t using them. The good news is that the power usage is minimal at under 2 watts when streaming video.
Content: There’s an excellent selection of content included on all the Roku 2 media streamers. This includes: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, Crackle, Hulu Plus, NHL, MLB, NBA and more. Note, however, that you do need to sign up to a paid plan to access the best content on any of these services.
Works With Standard Definition And HD Screens: One of the best things about the Roku 2 XS, compared with its competitors, is that you can hook it up to older, standard definition screens as well as HD TVs. This is because the box includes an HDMI and composite connection. Note that you do need to buy the relevant connector cables separately, however.
Games: Although all the different versions of the Roku 2 do come with the ability to play games, it’s only the Roku 2 XS box that comes with a motion control gaming remote (a little like the Wii remote). As for the games you can play, you get the popular Angry Birds included as standard.
Remotes: If you decide to get the XD or HD instead, you don’t get the gaming remote but you can buy one as an accessory down the line if you change your mind. However, the bluetooth gaming remote is also useful thanks for the fact that it doesn’t require a line-of-sight connection with the Roku 2 box. You can also download iOS or Android remote apps to control the box if you prefer.
Storage: Unlike Apple TV, the Roku 2 XS box does allow you to store multimedia on the device through use of a MicroSD expansion slot. There’s also a USB port (on the XS model only) that allows you to transfer various multimedia files. In reality, however, you’ll find that the Roku can’t read that many file types. Check for sure before buying this more expensive XS just because you want the USB functionality.
Internet Connection: The last feature worth noting is the Ethernet connection. This is only included on the Roku 2 XS model, for those who don’t have a Wi-Fi connection in their home, or who simply prefer a wired connection instead. Note that the Roku boxes don’t come with the dual-band Wi-Fi connection that the older generations had, either (only a problem for advanced users).
Roku 2 XS: The Bad
Sharing With Other Devices: The Roku 2 range of digital media sets don’t let you stream content from PCs in the network, which you do get with some competitors such as the Logitech Revue and Apple TV, which integrates well with all other Apple devices.
Is The Roku 2 XS Worth Buying?
The Roku 2 XS is widely considered to be the best option available when it comes to digital streaming devices. It isn’t difficult to see why. It comes with a huge range of content options, some free, some paid, and an excellent design. It’s also one of the only options available to those who want such a device but who don’t own an HDTV. The only reason why you may look to competitors like Apple TV is because you prefer the specific content options, or because you want more media compatibility as in devices like the WD TV Live. All in all, the Roku 2 XS is an excellent buy for $100 – and it’s well worth spending the extra on the XS for the upgrades you get from the XD and HD models.
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