So, I, in my infinite stupidity, bought Roku box on Woot. Because I thought that, certainly, when some piece of hardware is capable of streaming video over the internet, it’ll easily hook up to my windows media server, or, heck, shared folder to watch video.
Dreams of easily watching my old anime and whatnot from the comfort of a sofa on a TV screen were mercilessly shattered by the fact that this p.o.s. box doesn’t do any of that. You can watch Amazon video on demand, or Netflix or a ton of tiny weirdo-channels (if you love your local access channel, one of those that lurk in low “10s” channels on your cable provider you will love those) but connecting to any local share? No.
Yes, I understand that all sorts of boxes have the right to existence — some people just want an MP3 player, and don’t want a video, some want a portable video player, etc, etc.
But when primary function of the device is to stream video, castrating its abilities to just remote video from places far far away versus locally accessible video streams is very stupid.
Oh well, the joke is on me. Device gets 1 star, and I’ll try to find if someone actually wants to buy it while knowing that there’s no easy way to watch content from the computer on TV.
Bonus: support forums of Roku is full of snarky comments to the tune of “well you should have read all the description before buying it cause it doesn’t play locally shared content”. Yeah, and 4 pages of fine print too. You buy a blender, but it only works on organic california-grown strawberries, and can’t use local produce. Argh!
I did eventually found Roku Media Server but installing yet another server, then mass-converting video etc seems to be way too much to do for something that box should be able to do from the get go.
So, don’t buy Roku unless you’re really-really into not streaming local content.
p.s. Update – the news of a price drop somewhat answers my question about how they can possibly compete with severely limited functionality against other hardware players.
p.p.s. For those who want to watch Netflix on “lower” WD Live (not Plus) version there’s a thread on http://www.playon.tv/forums/media-devices/western-digital-wdtv