WIRED magazine called the new Netflix Roku box, “just shy of totally amazing.”
If you are a Netflix subscriber, the $99 Roku box — connected to the Internet and your TV — lets you watch movies and TV shows instantaneously. No waiting to download, like AppleTV.
And you can watch all you want for free, as long as you are on an unlimited Netflix DVD plan (mine is $18 per month).
I just set up my Roku box, which took 5 minutes. The box is small: about 6 inches square and an inch-plus high. The manual is larger than the box, which you can see in the picture above.
From the sofa in front of the TV, using my laptop and Wi-Fi, I selected movies and TV shows from Netflix.com to load in my “Queue,” and they soon appeared on the TV screen.
20 seconds later, I was watching Season One of “Heroes.” After checking that out for a few minutes, I switched to “Donnie Brasco.”
Picture quality is good. The only downside is the limited number of titles — 10,000 versus the 100,000 DVD titles Netflix stocks. 10,000 sounds like a lot, but it excludes the new releases to DVD, and includes some dreck titles like “Cheerleader Ninjas” and “Assault of the Party Nerds.”
Overall, I’d say that for $99, the Netflix Roku box is a no-brainer if you are an unlimited subscriber.