The Roku 2 HD has the same core features as the top-of-the-line Roku 2 XS (*Est. $100). Key differences include a lower video resolution of 720p vs. 1080p for the Roku 2 XS, but experts note that 1080p content is still limited, and the apparent difference between 720p streaming video and 1080p streaming video isn't very large. More significant, the Roku 2 HD lacks an Ethernet connection (found in the Roku 2 XS), so Wi-Fi -- which can be problematic at times -- is the only link to your network's router. While the Roku 2 HD supports gaming, it doesn't include the needed gaming controller, which is sold as a separate accessory for $30. If gaming is of no interest, the newer Roku LT (*Est. $50) is worth considering. It strips out some features that are mainly used for gaming -- Bluetooth support for the optional gaming controller, for example -- but is otherwise identical and a little bit less expensive.
Critics who have weighed in the Roku 2 generally focus their attention on the top-of-the-line XS. However, because most features are the same and picture quality should be similar -- save for the few providers streaming 1080p video to the Roku -- some add commentary and advice regarding the Roku 2 HD. The most helpful feedback can be found at CNET and ZatzNotFunny.com. User reviews can be read at Amazon.com and Roku.com.
CNET looks at the Roku digital media players in this detailed report. While the focus is on the Roku 2 XS, some observations are made about the Roku 2 HD, as well. John P. Falcone and David Carnoy say that unless you're interested in the gaming feature or need an Ethernet connection, the HD is a good choice. The lack of 1080p is a minus, but the reviewers add that few users will notice the lesser video quality, especially over a streaming video link.
Review: Review: Roku 2 XS, John P. Falcone and David Carnoy, Aug. 15, 2011
2. Zatz Not Funny!
Dave Zatz finds lots to like with the Roku 2 HD. He says the balance of features and cost make it a "no-brainer" for those looking for an inexpensive way to send Netflix and other Internet content to their TVs.
Review: The Roku 2 Review, Dave Zatz, July 23, 2011
The Roku 2 HD digital media player draws more than 275 user reviews. Most seem happy, as reflected by the 4.2-star rating the player has earned thus far. However, a minority is irked by one issue or another, with connectivity problems leading the list.
Review: Roku 2 HD Streaming Player, Contributors to Amazon.com
More than 5,100 owners post their opinions of the Roku 2 HD at Roku's website. Though some negatives are noted, most owners are pleased, and 88 percent of those offering opinions say they'd recommend the Roku 2 HD digital media player to a friend.
Review: Roku Customer Reviews, Contributors to Roku.com