Netgear Roku XD: Streaming for the Massesby Alan Lueke on November 12, 2010 12:30 PM EST
Setup, UI and Content
Having established that this is a device designed primarily for video streaming, I plugged it in to my receiver via HDMI and a power outlet and was immediately greeted by the screen below.
Things are starting off well. After configuring my display settings and my wireless network, the setup tool opens the Roku webpage to create a Roku account and sync my box up with that account. All in all the process was straightforward and went off without a hitch.
Once the syncing with a Roku account finishes, up comes the main menu; this same menu greeted me any time I started the player afterward. It isn't as flashy as many other players, with only a few options including a settings menu for the player, the channel store, and a few default channels the Roku wants to draw your attention too (Netflix, Hulu Plus, and the Amazon VOD store). Hulu Plus shows up as "Coming Soon" at the time of writing and we do not yet have a specific timetable for when that will be available; the website simply says November 2010 so it could be any day now.
Once inside the channel store, you can pick and choose from the Roku's list of supported content and add the channels to your main page. Pandora was one I quickly singled out. There is an extensive list of the publicly available content for the Roku available on their webpage; there are also private channels available through some of the Roku forums, and a quick search of the web will reveal some of the user generated content out there. These are channels not available in the channel store, but you can add them to your Roku player via a code process. If you still can't find your favorite web content, you can try downloading the Roku SDK and developing your own channels.
The implementation of the individual channels really varies. I found the Netflix channel with a search function excellent and easy to use, while a few others like Chow was just an endless series of videos I had to scroll through and back to find what I wanted. The above gallery has images of the store, as well as the Netflix and Amazon VOD interfaces. We'll add images for Hulu Plus when it becomes available.