I’m pretty darned happy with my new Roku, which enables me to watch Al Jazeera on my teevee instead of being glued to the computer.
Roku boxes are small and inexpensive, starting at $59. (I’ve seen them on Craigslist for $30. You can also get an Apple TV box, or watch Netflix through your kid’s PlayStation.) They have a lot of content, and they’re adding more all the time. I thought I’d be using their Netflix streaming instead of the Comcast premium channels, but I spend most of my time watching their free content – including Al Jazeera.
All you need to make this work is broadband. You install it on your teevee, register it online (so it can maintain your channel selections) and watch. Now I also get to watch YouTube on my teevee, which is a lot more freakin’ awesome than you might think.
Imagine having a huge library of BBC documentaries at your disposal — free. Live NASA stream. Just about any radio station that offers streaming. NPR podcasts. Food channels. The Onion Network. Original comedy like My Damn Channel. Japanese anime. Astro Boy. Those really old black and white cartoons, which I love. NHL and MLB (so far, no NFL.) Lots and lots of news!
Because Roku runs on an open source platform, developers are constantly adding new private channels (also free. And yes, they do have pay-for-porn.)
And those network shows you love? You can get them all, including the ABC and Fox shows that Comcast doesn’t offer through on-demand, for $8 a month through HuluPlus. (Or you can simply run an HDMI cable from your computer to your teevee, which is free.)
Tired of hotel TVs that only carry three channels? You can take it with you when you travel, too.
Anyway, for anyone looking to get out of the corporate media cable prison, here’s a glimmer of light.