The Roku HD set top box allows you to stream video and Internet TV to your HDTV. By connecting the Roku HD via either HDMI (not included) or the included composite cables you can watch streaming video from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video on Demand, MLB.tv, NHL Gamecenter, NBA Game Time, and a whole host of other programming choices. The various services require having an account with the service. Roku aggregates the content providers in a convenient interface you browse using the included remote control. Roku HD accesses the Internet either using WiFi or an Ethernet cable. While video is certainly the first thing you might think about in a HDTV connected device, Pandora and several other streaming audio services are also supported, giving you a fairly large content selection for all your entertainment needs.
The Roku HD is Roku’s entry-level product, with 720p HD video as the maximum resolution. If you want to watch 1080p HD video, you need to upgrade to either the Roku XD or Roku XDS, which both have a number of additional features as well. The XDS, for instance, includes the ability to connect a hard drive via USB so that you can watch previously downloaded movie content. Simplicity of configuration is definitely one of the key selling points. You literally connect power to the Roku, connect the Roku to your HDTV, and you’re ready to start watching streaming video content. At $59.99, the Roku HD is $40 less than Apple TV, with support for many channel offerings unavailable on Apple TV (Netflix is the only service the two have in common). I will go so far as to say the only reason to buy an Apple TV over the Roku HD is because you have a large library of iTunes video content, which is the only major source of video content not currently supported by Roku.
Watch the unboxing video below for a close-up look at the Roku HD features.