Sunday, July 24, 2011

placing the Roku 2 upgrade expense in perspective

I belong to the group of Roku customers who bought a Roku device in 2011 before the arrival of the Roku 2. According to this statement, the better Netflix streams cannot be made available to "older" Roku, despite those Roku having 1080p/surround sound hardware support. Therefore we get to buy Roku 2 if we feel like viewing Netflix with the full capabilities of our entertainment devices. Since I detest negativity, I'm choosing to consider this situation through Happy Goggles, which to my knowledge do more than nothing...

  • Roku 2 are better appliances. I'm someone who connects it by HDMI and wireless, so no problems there for me. The new gaming features have no appeal. Technology changes; I for one never expected Roku's product line to stay the same as its competitors exploited advances in hardware. Or my Roku to have sufficient horsepower to handle every upcoming enhancement to the Roku "channels".
  • Older Roku will continue to work normally. In fact, future free software updates will ensure that it shall improve. If the older Roku was worth the cost before, then surely that remains the case. There's no loss. Nothing is being discontinued or crippled retroactively.
  • Prices for Roku 2 are hardly huge burdens. For HD video with comparable diversity and DVR-like controls to pause/rewind/skip, the dominant companies charge more per month than buying both two Roku in one year. $80 + $80, divided by 12 months, is $13.33. Add in the $7.99 monthly cost of a Netflix subscription and it's $21.32. I'll grant that a complete comparison is more complicated than this and not really "fair" due to differences in offered content, e.g. ESPN 8 "The Ocho" and the side-boob pay channels. Internet cost affects the overall calculation for a household budget.
  • My less-than-$400 netbook has HDMI-out. Yes, it sends audio along with the video. I merely mention this to remind everyone again that, technologically speaking, it's not too difficult getting Internet content or indeed any computerized content into a typical entertainment setup. (That doesn't change my opinion that, for several reasons, the Roku is worth buying.)

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