Being a broke student is hard, but being a broke student without cable can be really dull. I spent several years not even going into my living room except as a path to the front door because I simply didn’t have anything plugged into my television. Local channels are only so entertaining, and there was far more to do online.
So what do you give a student who loves Internet programming and doesn’t have the money for cable television? The answer might be as simple as a Roku 2 XS. I decided to pick up one of these for myself as a replacement for a Mac mini we’d been using as a makeshift entertainment center for ages.
Here are a few reasons why the Roku 2 XS might be the perfect gift for a student.
It’s hard to beat a $99 price tag for something that not only delivers 1080p video, but also comes complete with a motion-sensitive remote that doubles as a game controller. Considering the value you get for that investment, there aren’t a lot of options out there that really offer the same type of flexibility as the Roku.
The XS isn’t the cheapest Roku model currently available. You can get a Roku LT for $50 that streams 720p video over Wi-Fi and will cover the vast majority of usage cases out there. In the end, value is best determined by the individual based on the features and preferences of the person. You can check out Ron Schenone’s review of the Roku LT here.
The advantage of the XS over other Roku models is the included game controller-style remote and ability to connect by way of ethernet. You can also attach an external USB drive and play media off of it.
When you compare it to other streaming media players, it boasts one of the largest collections of exclusive channels of any streaming player out there. Media companies commission robust Roku apps in order to encourage users to check out their content. I spent a great deal of time pushing a media company I’ve worked with to create a Roku channel, and now its channel is one of the top-rated ones on the platform.
Here are some of the features of the Roku 2 XS.
- 500+ Entertainment Channels
- 480i/480p/720p/1080p Video Output (Composite / HDMI)
- Motion-Sensitive Remote for Games
- Ethernet Port
- USB Port
- 3.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 Inches
- iOS and Android Remote Control Apps
- 802.11n Wi-Fi (b/g/n Compatible) with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 Support
- microSD Card Slot
- Analog and Digital Stereo (RCA / HDMI)
- Video: MP4 (H.264) MKV (H.264)
- Audio: AAC, MP3
Some of the more popular channels include: Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix, Pandora, Crackle, Hulu Plus, TED, CNET, and UFC.
The Roku 2 XS is a glimpse at the future of video playback. Cable television is great, but it stands to reason that one day soon these small settop boxes will become the primary method on which media content is delivered to televisions. It requires very little power and does a remarkable amount of work.
I’ve found the Roku 2 XS to be incredibly peppy and easy to work with. It enables me to stream my favorite Internet shows and live channels on a TV without having to sacrifice a computer to do so. It really does work.
What do you think? Would you recommend a Roku 2 XS to a friend or family member?