So, about 6 weeks ago I bought a Roku. Not one of the new ones, the previous one. Yeah, like, 4 days before they announced. Whatever.
I bought it mostly for streaming local media from my network, because of the roksbox channel. Which is awesome, and works just like it’s supposed to.
But it only plays a tiny tiny few formats. Namely, one. MP4. Most of my local media (legal dvd rips, that I own disks for, of course) is in MKV format, because it’s (IMO) technically superior. Converting a variable framerate (VFR) MKV to an MP4 and not losing audio sync is a nightmare. After sinking hours of research and prototyping into it, I gave up. I sent to Roku back (Amazon’s return policy is *fantastic*).
I picked up a WD TV Live Plus HD. Big name, little device. Seriously, it’s tiny. Think 400 page paperback, or 2/3rds of one of the WOT books, and you’re close. It also plays every format I’ve tried. Seriously. MKV, MP4, AVI, WMV, everything. It even does Netflix streaming, YouTube, and using a 3rd party something (I forget what) it’ll do Hulu too.
Best part? Almost the same price. Unless you want wireless with that, then you need an adapter. My price? All in, like, 140 bucks. Pocket change.
HDMI output is beautiful, audio as well. UI isn’t *real* pretty, but it doesn’t make my eyes bleed a bit. The text could be bigger, but that’s my only UI complaint.
It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes it refuses to load my network share (SMB). A semi-quick “don’t auto load this share”, “ok, now auto load it” has always fixed it. Sometime it refuses to play the audio of a movie. Simple solution is to play a different movie, which will play the sound, then the original one will work. Again, semi-annoying, has always “fixed” it for me. Sometimes it’ll load the network share, but cry about playing anything. Same autoload toggle trick works here.
So a few minor nits. In the big scheme of things? Barely noticeable, and don’t impact the use of the device at all.
Take away? If you want to stream local media, get one, it’s awesome.