I wanted to quickly highlight 10 of my top used channels on Roku. You will notice that Hulu Plus is not on my list, though I do use it, I don’t think it has hit the level it needs to be at just yet. Also, you will notice I’ve not added any sports channels to the line up, truth is, I don’t follow any sports… But I’ll do what I can to make a top 5 sports channels list.
Oh Dang! This channel is a must have for those of us with either the Roku HD or Roku XS. Because neither of these devices come with a USB port there is no way to watch our own media with the stock set up. Roksbox gives you the option to watch your media on your terms. Simply follow the instructions and install a simple server on your computer, move your files into the right place and BAM you have your own personal Roku channel! It’s not just for movies, it works with image and music files too. There are some file restrictions, simply look at the list they provide.
Netflix is by far the most popular Channel on Roku, some of you might remember that the Roku box was originally sold as a Netflix streaming device. Depending on your Internet connection the Netflix channel opens quickly and is quite responsive. When open, you’ll find your queue at the top of the page with a search option on the second line. As you scroll down there are suggestions and recently added content. The bottom right hand side of the screen shows info on your current selection such as the rating, year it was made, run-time, and a brief overview. This is one of my top apps because when Netflix started streaming, it changed my life! I’ll never look at content delivery the same way again!
Quickly gaining favor is the Amazon channel. This app has everything you need. There is a search feature, a place for Amazon Prime members, movie rentals and purchases. The channel is well designed and very responsive. You can select the Deals option to see what is on sale to rent or buy. There is also a help page for those having issues navigating. Anything you order online will show up in your Library. Movie rentals are generally for 24 to 48 hours from the time you start watching the video.
Very much like the web interface, the Pandora channel lets you create a new station, use QuickMix or listen to an already created station. While playing music you can choose to skip a song, bookmark it, or rate it with a thumbs up or down. Artist/album info and the run-time of the current song are listed on screen. If you leave Pandora alone, it will go into screen saver mode where the album art from the song playing will be shown on screen. A must have app for house cleaning time!
I really like Flixster, ok I said it! Why? Well Flixster is a fantastic place to watch movie trailers! If you have a good connection, the video quality is fantastic. The interface is blue… very blue… but it’s easy to follow. You know just what you get when you click on button.
I’ve been a fan of Revision 3 for a long time. They have always strived to bring well produced content. My favorite is Film Riot, back yard film makers this show is for you. If you follow Digg.com you can watch Diggnation here also. These shows are all pretty awesome and fit a variety of interests. Check them out!
The Vimeo interface is more of the same, but I gotta say the HD Channel is awesome. Finding original HD content has never been easier. Some of the things you will find here are student projects, brilliant student projects. There is content here from all over the world! You may be saying, but Matt what about YouTube… Well YouTube does not have a channel (sorry, a public channel). Break.com even has a channel but no YouTube. Anyway, you can link Vimeo to your Vimeo account. If you want to see some things you’ve never seen before then spend a half hour checking out the Vimeo Channel.
Do you miss playing the worm game on your old Nokia phone? Well have no fears the worm has returned! Hogoworm Dungeon is the just like the classic worm game, just on your Roku. Gosh, it’s almost like stepping back and playing Pong… The free version holds 10 levels, it’s only $.99 for the full version.
So maybe you totally got rid of TV, no antenna or anything, and you want news. Roku comes through with access to all kinds of news channels. Aljazeera presents a live stream of news at the click of OK. Fox and NPR have episodes of selected shows. The BBC, like NPR, has access to every show they podcast. The news channel is easy to work through, even your tech illiterate grandmother could find her favorite Bill O’Reilly episode here.
Got rid of cable? Miss the Food Network? Well check out CHOW. This channel will help you discover that all these years you have been cooking stir-fry wrong. I’ve gotta say, as a video producer, the content on this channel is very well produced. There are also episodes on how to make quick to go meals. Most episodes I’ve watched seem to be in a nice short time frame. This channel is a fantastic place to start your foodie experience in an all online fashion.