Magic Box

I’ve been coveting a Roku Netflix Viewer for a while now. For the uninitiated, the Roku Netflix Viewer is a set-top box that connects to the TV, and the internet, and streams movies from your Netflix queue. The library of streamable content isn’t as extensive as the whole Netflix library, but still with 12,000 titles, it’s not like you’d run out very quickly.

My Netflix subscription has been kind of idle, but ever present of late. I don’t watch a lot of movies, because there are plenty of other things to do, read, run, waste hours on the internet, write, slog, whatever. During the winter, I do tend to have a bit more free time, so I was anticipating using my subscription a little more. The whole mailing things off part of the subscription has made me more hesitant to use it lately, after someone tried to steal one of the discs I was mailing back. (Weren’t they surprised to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in that envelope!) Plus you have to have a great sense of rhythm to get movies when you want them.

I broke down on Monday and got myself a Roku. I’d almost pulled the trigger several times over the last few weeks, but finally decided to do it. Part of me wants to be cutting edge, and part of me wants to be able to say, hey, we could watch movies at my place on this cold winter evening. And we’re not limited to my embarrassingly juvenile collection.

It came in the mail today, and since I really didn’t want to go out tonight, I installed it. Let me tell you, this thing is magic. I had already picked out a number of movies and television shows that I wanted to watch. I tested an episode of Heroes, and the picture was virtually indistinguishable from cable. My laptop hates streaming (and it hates me, and I hate it, so we’re even), so I was expecting problems figuring that it was probably at least partly the connection. Not so. The only jumping occurred when I accidentally whacked the remote with my foot. The sound was a little weird during one episode of The Office that I tested, but that was all. Everything else was great.

In the end, Jason and I watched the first five episodes of Jericho, this short-lived post-apocalyptic drama from CBS. It was an amazingly great picture, and I can’t wait to use this magic box more. I feel a Hitchcock marathon coming on. 🙂 Or maybe I should settle for Magnum PI…