Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Using Roku: Week 4

By Dennis D. McDonald

General observations
  • I’ve been using the Roku box for over a month now.
  • I like this product a lot.
Where it’s used
  • Primary connection is in the living room with the 36” TV. This TV no longer has a digital cable tuner and is used only for occasional DVD’s and Roku streaming.
  • Secondary connection is in the kitchen. (I like watching TWiT netcasts while washing dishes. Go Gina!)
  • Easy to move around and connect to different devices.
  • Easy-to-navigate interface takes advantage of straightforward categorization, for the most part. 
  • Navigation is significantly simpler and more convenient than various Comcast Cable menuing systems.
  • When available for a channel, text search works nicely.
  • Amazing variety of programming.
  • Access to YouTube, CNN spots, Al Jazeera English daily reports.
  • Synchronization between web and Roku program configuration — e.g., YouTube and Pandora channels.
  • Still amazed at variety of programming available via Netflix.
  • Wish there were a display panel on the front of the device so I could use it to tune radio or audio only channels without having to turn on a TV.
  • Individual channels have widely variable program descriptions.
  • Can’t search across all programs from top level.
  • Having to “subscribe” by typing a code into a web site on some channels.
  • Variable performance streaming — e.g., YouTube often stutters when I move the box to the kitchen.
  • Amazing how awful some of the amateur series are (“Mommy XXX”? “Space Hospital”?)
Next steps
  • Check out Hulu Plus programming; haven’t tried so far since I have little interest in series.
  • Keep trying out different subcategories of obscure channels.
  • Check out DIY programs (woodworking, knitting, building, etc.)
  • Investigate Amazon services.
  • Figure out why ANYONE cares what Penn thinks.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald

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