Last year, Roku introduced to the market the Netflix Player, a small “box” that gets connected directly to a television and with either a wired Internet connection or using the built in Wi-Fi access capability, the box instantly enables the connected television to have access to Netflix‘s entire catalogue of Instantly Viewable movies and television shows. Initially the selection seemed mostly limited to older title movies and television shows, but a partnership with Starz, Netflix has been able to offer considerably more current material. Also Roku and Netflix have enhanced the capabilities of the player by allowing for High Definition content to be streamed through the player. And more recently Roku has additionally partnered with Amazon On-Demand to further expand the capabilities of the Netflix Box, that it truly has become the best value for enhancing a home entertainment system.
For a one-time fee, the Netflix Box costs $99.99 (and is available to purchase through Amazon.com by clicking here). The allows instant access to an already existing Netflix account. If you don’t have a Netflix account, then you’ll love hearing what an incredible bargain the system is. For as little as $8.99 a month, you get unlimited access to any program Netflix features for instant viewing. Technically, the $8.99 fee is for a one month subscription to the DVD rental service, where you’re allowed one DVD at a time, as many as want in a month, just send the disc back and as soon as they get it, they send you the next disc on your list. The instant viewing is included free with your subscription. If you want additional discs at a time, then the subscription fee increases depending on how many discs you want to be able to have out at one time. Netflix allows up to 8 discs to be out at one time.
With over 12,000 titles available to watch instantly, there are movies and television programs in every conceivable genre available to be instantly streamed to the Netflix Box, it becomes a smart decision to add the Netflix Box to your home entertainment system. At the most basic level, $8.99 a month, even if the DVD rental process is never used, it’s easy to find $9 worth of instantly viewable content every month to justify the expense. With the average movie ticket fast approaching $10 a ticket, just one instantly viewed movie for a family of four introduces tremendous cost savings. And most DVDs sell for $10-$20 in stores anyway, so it’s like purchasing one DVD a month, but getting the ability to watch as many as you want in the same amount of time.
Additionally, the Netflix Box isn’t the only way to access a Netflix subscription. Samsung and LG have introduced Blu-Ray Players and Home Theatre Systems that have built-in Netflix support. LG has even made HDTV‘s with built-in Netflix support. You can even add the ability to rent Blu-Ray discs from Netflix for an additional $1.00 per month. Xbox 360 owners also have access to Netflix through their Xbox 360 Gold Live Subscriptions as well. And owners of TiVo Branded DVRs have built in Netflix support. So it’s quite possible you may already have Netflix support and not even know it.
What does set the Roku Netflix Box apart from all the other ways to access Netflix, is that it has recently added the capability to stream from Amazon On-Demand in addition to Netflix. This added capability even further enhances your entertainment options because now you’re not limited to only the 12,000 instantly viewable choices Netflix has made available to you. You can rent or purchase titles directly from Amazon, often on the same day of release as the DVD counterpart. The only thing though here, is that the content from Amazon is not available on an unlimited subscription, it’s kind of like Pay-Per-View with the added option of being able to purchase unlimited access on some titles.
If you already subscribe to a cable or satellite system and use their Pay-Per-View option, you’re already familiar with how the system works. Most movies have two pricing options, a rental price which allows 24 hours access to watch that movie as many times as you want in 24, and a purchase price, where once you’ve bought it, you can watch it anytime as much as you want. The beauty here, is that it doesn’t take up any space on your shelves, the access is stored in your account with Amazon. This is perfect for children’s movies, as any parent will often tell you, the child will watch the same thing over and over and over, and if all you have to do purchase it once on the Netflix Box and have unlimited access to it already attached to your TV, it’s quicker and easier than owning a DVD. And the beauty is the Netflix Box is small enough it’s easy to pack with you when you travel too, so if you keep the right cords with you and get Internet access in your hotel room, you can bring your Netflix Box and access your account with Netflix and anything you’ve bought from Amazon On-Demand along with you.
One of the nice things about Amazon On-Demand is that they also offer sales frequently, and they usually also have a few free selections that are often available for limited times so there is some free content available out there too. So if you decide you want to purchase something and don’t want to pay full price, if you wait a little bit you might catch an awesome sale. They always have something on sale like purchased movies for $5.99 a movie, so it’s always worth keeping an eye out on their sales, you never know when a movie you love pops up on the sale list.
As illustrated by the photo at the top of this blog entry that shows the backside of the Roku Netflix Box, it has connections for just about every conceivable type of way you could connect it to your television. Whether you connect via the latest HDMI connections, Component Video, S-Video, or Composite Video, there’s a way to get video to your TV. Audio options include HDMI connections, Optical TOSlink, and stereo analog connections. And connecting to the Internet can be done through a wired Ethernet connection or the built in Wi-Fi receiver which connects wirelessly to your Wireless router. Setup of the box is a breeze and you’ll be watching movies in no time.
If the current economy has you looking for cheaper ways to be entertained, the Roku Netflix Box is one of the best values out there. For a very reasonable $100, the box allows unlimited access to any Netflix subscription plan at $8.99 or more per month, and includes access to Amazon On-Demand further expanding your entertainment options. It’s the best bargain out there for entertainment, just hook it up to a TV and or home entertainment system and you’re good to go. And if you’re new to Netflix when you sign up you’ll be eligible for a free trial of the service.