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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Wish List #3

This one is for those days when you can't get out on two wheels. It's snowing, the relatives are visiting, you broke your collar bone, .... You want to watch something good but don't want to go to the video store and you don't want to pay late fees. You wish you had ordered something from NetFlix but you're waiting for the next disk to be delivered.

Roku to the rescue! Don't ask me where they got the name but it streams video from NetFlix to your television by way of the internet. FREE! As many as you like, as often as you like, whenever you like. And did I mention that it's FREE!?

Best of all, this is one of those things that actually work as well as they say it will. Set up is 5 minutes or under and is entirely painless. Plug it into the wall, plug it into the tv, plug it into your home theater system if you have one, run the easy setup and you're done! If you have WiFi in the house Roku will find it and attach itself. If you don't have WiFi you'll have to run a network cable to the Roku but maybe this is the time to upgrade to wireless. You also have to make a trip to your computer to copy a code. As I'm writing this I'm thinking that it sounds a lot more complicated than it is.

Once the Roku is set up you add movies, TV shows, documentaries to your Instant queue just as you add disks to the normal NetFlix queue. Then it's just a matter of picking one out from the on screen display with the Roku remote. There are thousands of instant movies but few of them are "just released" features. For that you need to use the Amazon channel instead of the NetFlix channel. Amazon charges about the same as Blockbuster for a rental. Or you can "buy" it and watch it as often as you like. Still, I've never lacked for NetFlix movies to watch. There are plenty of motorcycle movies as well as things like 30 Rock and The Office.

So print this out for Santa. Just make sure you ask for the cable kit when you do. It's cheaper than Radio Shack and you don't have to go out to get them. Don't forget the milk and cookies.