Roku 2 XS – The Best Streaming Device Available Now

A lot of us are trying to streamline our entertainment expenses this year and one of the first items on the budget to raise up is the cost of cable or satellite television. Considering all of the other entertainment avenues we have available to us today either online or offline (smartphones, tablets, and laptops can all be used to download or stream music, TV, and movies) the pure cost of keeping the cable solely to watch one or two favorite shows isn't really a good option. But getting the content from the internet to the TV that can stream the content in much larger fashion isn't always practical. So the cable stays.

That's changing rapidly though and I think we should consider the latest offering from one of the set-top box providers, the Roku 2 XS, as a very viable option to finally cut that cable cord.

The Roku 2 XS does what the original devices did put a lot more, but to bring us up to speed they provide the ability to stream several hundred channels (Netflix, Amazon, etc.), includes built-in Wi-Fi plays 1080p video (some of the cheaper devices only go to 720p).

Roku 2 XS for Sale at Amazon

What the 2 XS provides that they others don't is the ability to connect portable drives full of movies, TV, and music to the device and stream what you already own using the built-in USB port. This is where the Apple TV and the WD Live boxes already have been in the past and caused both of those devices to somewhat surpass Roku in the range of ability. But no longer, so all of that content downloaded (legally) can be played across this one simple device.

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You can also install an application called Plex onto the unit and stream your content across your local network. Plex is easy to setup, but it is a separate option of course, and the USB function makes things much easier out of the box.

I need to get back to that 600 or 700 channels available claim made by the company. Once you hook up your first, you find very quickly that you can't see that many channels in the guide. In fact, maybe you'll add 20-25 of them and not want the rest. Yet still wondering where the heck those other hundreds of channels are.

That's a good question, and you'll find that they are in something called "private channels". Private channels provide a way for people to build their own channels into the Roku without actually acknowledging them in the official catalog. To add those, you will need to do a quick search on Google for "roku private channels" or visit Once you find a private channel that interests you, write down the private channel code, head over to and enter the channel into your account. The new channel should display on your device to be watched at your leisure!

Now with cord cutting situations like this, people invariably wonder how they'll manage not to instant access to their favorite shows from CBS, NBC, ABC, or sports from ESPN. And I will definitely add here that it's difficult at first to give up those channels if one isn't willing to use an antennae to pickup some of those channels. ESPN of course being the one that's left out here, but you can explore the private channels listed and will find that these channels are available at times via Roku. Not always, and sometimes a bit spotty, but they are there.

I'll also note that once you actually cut the cord on these channels, you'll find that you either don't miss them at all, or maybe just maybe will be able to find them via one of the channels available on your new device. No, the shows won't be absolutely current, and you won't be able to "keep up" with everyone else as easily. But maybe you'll find that you don't need to? Sports was the absolute worst for me when I started, but eventually I ended up just watching my favorites with the over the air antennae and dropped the others completely (hockey, NBA, and most of the college bowl games are not available over the air).

But with 600+ channels, who needs those? Not me, because I've got plenty of entertainment to keep me busy for a long, long time.

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