Roku's 2 XS is a set-top box for streaming online content to your TV, and it does a pretty good job of it. The Roku 2 XS looks just like the LT model but comes in a glossy black design rather than purple and black. It's small enough to hold your hand.
The device is supposed to retail for twice the amount of the Roku LT but can be purchased for £79.99 from a number of retailers. The main difference between the LT and the 2XS models is that the latter supports Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. See also: Apple TV review.
Setup is simple if you have Roku account, which you probably don't unless you own the LT model. Setting one up doesn't take long and involves punching in a code to activate the device. Roku's service is, in general, free, but credit card details are required since some of the content on offer must be paid for.
Plugging the Roku 2 XS in is a doddle, just a power cable and an AV cable needs to be hooked up. There is, of course, an HDMI port so it's a disappointment to find no HDMI cable in the box – although you can pick one up dirt cheap.
The other difference between the LT and the 2 XS is the addition of a USB port and microSD card slot giving you the option of viewing your own media easily.
Connecting the Roku 2 XS up to the internet is simple thanks to built-in wireless. And if you fancy it, there's an ethernet port too. You'll need a good enough internet connection to stream content without encountering relentless buffering. Roku recommends a minimum speed of 1.2Mbps.
Once you're up and running, there are over 600 content channels to choose from, according to the firm. This sound impressive but the vast majority of these channels are unknown services and aren't worth wasting your time with.
Forgetting about quantity, the main interesting apps in the Channel Store are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Crackle, YouTube and, more recently, Sky Now TV. Other content services available include Spotify, Vimeo, Facebook, Flickr, WSJ, Picasa and CNBC. This means the other major catch-up services – 4OD, iTV Player and 5 On Demand – are missing.
Although a lot of the channels in the store are free, services like Netflix and Sky Now TV do cost extra so this is worth bearing in mind. For example, Netflix costs £6 per month for unlimited streaming.
The remote control is different to the LT's in that it uses Bluetooth instead of Infrared and a slightly different button layout. The Bluetooth connectivity is a real boon since you don't need a clear line of site to the main unit. If you wanted, you could place the Roku 2 XS complete out of sight – handy if you're short on space.
The remote also has a motion sensor and additional buttons, like a Nintendo Wii controller, for playing games. The Roku 2 XS comes with a free version of the original Angry Birds.
We found the Roku interface easy to navigate around and found it responded quickly to our input. There is also a free iPhone, iPad or Android device app with which to control the Roku 2 XS. We found the app particularly suitable for inputting text.