I've had this model of the Roku box for several years now, back to when it first came out. I haven't used it as much as I could have, and I'll explain why in a minute. But, first, I want to pick a nit with the today's write up:
"No, no, don’t go all conspiracy here, we want to be sure you understand that a movie from 1931 probably won’t ever be “High Def” no matter what you do."
Absolutely not [delete explitive] true. Movies from that period were shot on film. If preserved and/or restored the mimimum resolution of a scan is 2k (slighly more than 1080p). The best restores are scanned at 4k, or doubel the line resolution. Here is a neat article with a good graphic about halfway down that show it.
Casablanca looks amazing on bluray, as does The Wizard of Oz. Since most of us have never seen any of these on film, or a good print, it is eye opening to see these restored.
Back to the Roku. If you don't have any other way to watch Netflix, this is a great little box. I have had some issues with quality degredation during streams. I have an insanely fast internet connection (10 Mbps min), so I always wonder if either the Netflix servers can't keep up, or if Comcast and the other ISPs aren't throttling the connection. One annoyance with Netflix watch it now. Although they have an ever expanding catalog, especially of old TV shows, for whatever reason the seasons are incomplete (for the most part). See the discussion on Woot of the Miami Vice boxed set. The first season on Roku is missing about 5 or 6 episodes. I wanted to watch the pilot of Quantum Leap: no joy even though the series is on watch it now.
For those whining about no Hulu. You all need to understand: The network affiliates pay to get exclusive rights to show network shows on their OTA network on TVs. Likewise the cable and satellite providers pay for that license. Hulu is ONLY licensed to play on computer screens. Streaming network content to a box designed to play on a TV (like this) would stomp all over the current contracts. The network affiliates, cable companies, and satellite providers would attack with lawyers in company strength should this happen (and probably win).
Likewise, even though the NFL is playing with streaming games in the pre-season I don't expect them to do what MLB is doing. DirectTV is paying a huge amount of money for exclusive rights to out of market NFL games, this exclusive extends to (I think) 2014. Thus DirectTV can collect a huge fee from their subsribers for the NFL Sunday Ticket: they are the only game in town. Maybe this exclusive will end then, but for the moment don't expect it on anything else.