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What is the Roku™ Player?

By Phil Shepley
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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The Roku™ Player is a receiver box made for the purpose of instantly streaming video and audio to a home theater system. It comes in several different models, some of which are capable of streaming high-definition video. An Internet connection is necessary to use the device. The content that is streamed through a Roku™ Player can be free, pay-as-you-go, or part of a paid subscription service.

In 2008, the Roku™ Player was first introduced as the Netflix Player, and its primary use was streaming movies from the movie rental service. The device could be connected directly to a television with several cables. Similarly, an Ethernet cable could be used to plug the player to the user’s Internet connection. The Roku™ SD model was released in 2009.

The remote control for the device is relatively simple, and all controls for the player are operated directly on the television screen via this remote. It offers play, pause, forward, and backward buttons for controlling the video. These buttons also function to navigate the menus when the user is deciding what to watch. This content is selected directly through the player, but can be synchronized with online services.

Several features have been added to subsequent models of the Roku™ Player. The Roku™ HD player has an HDMI cable for hooking the device up to high definition televisions, and it also contains an s-video hookup. In addition, Wi-Fi is available on the SD model, which eliminates the need for an Internet cable. A person who is interested in purchasing a Roku™ player must determine which model is correct for him, based upon factors such as Internet connection speed, television type, and desired content.

A higher-end model is known as the Roku™ HD-XR. This version boasts even faster, extended-range Wi-Fi. This is advantageous for downloading fast, high-definition content. In addition, there is a USB port available for future expansions of the system. Roku™ players are designed to play on any television, but the HD-XR was designed for use with high-definition televisions that demand superior quality downloads.

There is much more content available to download on the Roku™ Player. There are websites that offer pay-as-you-go, as well as monthly subscription services, for the purchase and download of movies and television programs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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