The Roku XD is a step-down version of the highly regarded Roku XDS (Discontinued). Like the XDS, the Roku XD supports 1080p streaming (though few providers are offering 1080p video streams via the Roku players to date). Support is included for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, but not the dual-band wireless-n found in the Roku XDS. However, while dual-band wireless-n is helpful in areas where getting reliable Wi-Fi performance is a challenge, you'll need a router that supports that technology as well to take advantage of that feature. The other major difference is that connectivity is more limited in the Roku XD -- just HDMI and composite video and audio. See our review of the Roku XDS for more details on the Roku series of players.
Roku video players get lots of reviews, though most experts focus on the step-up Roku XDS. However, since performance for the most part should be nearly identical, those reviews provide a good indication of what you could expect from the Roku XD. The most credible reviewers include CNET, Macworld, PCMag.com, Switched.com, PC World, BigPictureBigSound.com ConsumerReports.org and elsewhere. Lots of user reviews of the Roku HD can be found at Amazon.com.
CNET looks at the family of Roku digital media players in this comprehensive report. Though the Roku XDS gets the lion's share of the attention, the Roku XD is also touched upon and helpful comparisons are made.
Review: Roku XDS review (2100X), John P. Falcone and David Carnoy, Dec. 2, 2010
2. PC World
This short but helpful review at PC World focuses on Roku XDS. Not everything about the XDS draws unqualified approval, but Yardena Arar says that the Roku digital media player is a top choice for streaming content from the Internet.
Review: Roku XDS (2100X), Yardena Arar, Sept. 22, 2010
Unlike most reviewers, Tim Gideon is not impressed with the Roku's video quality or Wi-Fi performance, and he complains that those not interested in subscribing to a streaming provider will find too little in the way of free content to satisfy. He does think that the step-down versions of the Roku XDS, including the Roku XD, are better values, though he likes other digital media player solutions even better. Owners weigh in as well, and for the most part say that they like the Roku just fine.
Review: Roku XDS, Tim Gideon, Sept. 22, 2010
Switched.com looks at choices among set-top boxes for streaming content to your TV. While the Roku XD is not discussed, the step-up and very similar Roku XDS is praised as an easy way to get media from the Internet to a TV set.
Review: Best Boxes for Streaming Internet Video (And More) to Your TV, Jon Chase, Dec. 2, 2010
Jason Snell compares the Roku XD, as well as the step-up Roku XDS and step-down Roku HD, to Apple TV. Overall, this Apple-centric site gives Roku the nod for its easy use and wider library of content providers.
Review: Roku Players, Jason Snell, Nov. 5, 2010
Following his hands-on testing, BigPictureBigSound.com reviewer Ian White reports that he is so impressed with the Roku XDS that he bought one for his own home theater set-up. In light of that, it's not surprising that the site names the XDS one of its The Biggie award winners. While we would like this review more if the Roku XD were also addressed, coverage is detailed and comprehensive.
Review: Roku XDS Review, Ian White, Dec. 3, 2010
ConsumerReports.org doesn't provide ratings for digital media players, but it does provide information about top choices and their capabilities in this free (even for non-subscribers) article. Like most reviewers, the step-up Roku XDS rather than the Roku XD is addressed, though the commentary should largely apply.
Review: How Set-top Boxes Compare, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Nearly 900 owners have reviewed the Roku XD digital media player at Amazon.com, and a significant minority give it a low rating. Compatibility issues with wireless networks are a leading cause of owner dissatisfaction, though others complain of the need to register with a credit card to get access to the library of content providers. However, the majority is either mostly or completely pleased, resulting in an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars.
Review: Roku 2050X XD Streaming Player 1080p, Contributors to Amazon.com