Why You Should Give Yourself A Cable-Free Life For Christmas: Go Roku


For most of our adult lives, television at the Robinson household consisted of a large antenna in the attic. We jokingly called it “farm vision.” Then we did what all old people do when their children are grown–we moved into town. I really enjoyed the luxury of cable–that is for about two years. Then I started to feel a bit cheated.

This past year forced us to reevaluate almost every aspect of our lives: our health, our lifestyle and our spending habits. When assessing the cost of cable, and the value it brings–cutting it was a no-brainer.

However, my husband and I both have favorite programs we enjoy. I’m not going to lie, as an information-junkie, my withdrawals from news and commentary hit fairly hard.

We’ve had AppleTV, and enjoyed streaming Netflix and routinely mirrored videos or live streaming church services or breaking news. But it really doesn’t offer a whole lot more than what’s on your computer or iPad.

Enter Roku.

Pronounced Row-Koo. If you’re considering Apple TV as an alternative to cable or DVD rentals checkout Roku first.

Roku is a little black device about the size of the palm of your hand and it streams Internet “channels” to your television. Roku comes loaded with access to over 1000 channels.

It’s a mixed bag of hundreds of free content and paid subscriptions. The best part about it, is you can add the channels you want and you’re not forced to weed through hundreds of channels to get to the couple you prefer. You can get Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, PBS, The Blaze and Fox News. There are no fees connected with the device itself after the initial purchase. You will have to have wi-fi of course, as it is a streaming device.

Roku currently offers four different devices starting at $49.99. You can add a few bells and whistles at a time.

Currently, we have a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, and are in the process of comparing Redbox (which offers four DVDs and unlimited streaming for $8.00 monthly) and Netflix. The subscriptions or combination you choose all depend on your viewing habits.

We have enjoyed the ability to watch entire seasons of television shows, watching episodes back to back without commercial interruption. Who cares if they are last year’s season–I’m no longer subjected to ED commercials or dating sites no matter how late we stay up.

You now have several options.


Roku LT for $49.99 comes with all the essentials. 1000 plus channels of movies, popular television shows, sports, music and live streaming channels. Grab the free app for short cuts and a guarantee you’ll never loose your remote– and you’re good.

Roku 1 costs $59.99 which carries all the above with the difference being the short cuts are built-into the remote.

Roku 2 is a bit more at $78.00 and it’s the same unit as Roku 1 with the added feature of headphones so you won’t disturb the house with late night horror flicks.

Roku 3 will run you about $99.99, but Amazon usually has it for less. This unit is faster. It still streams the same amount of movies and channels as the others, only you don’t have to buy a separate HDTV cord. Headphones and motion-control are built in to the remote for quiet late night gaming. 1080p with dual-band wireless, Ethernet and USB ports.

If you’re a die-hard fan of some show that you have to be current on, this might not be right for you. But if you’re tired of paying big bucks for entertainment and you’re willing to try new gadgets, this could be your new little buddy.

Then again, if you’re like me and have major guilt issues buying anything for myself with Christmas 10 weeks away, this is a great gift to give a young family. Throw in a gift subscription to Redbox or Netflix and you’ve nailed it.


Photo Credits: Shutterstock, Aaron Amat