Dec 282010
 


Roku has a Channel Store with dozens of channels but you will still find that many websites and channels are missing, a prime example is that there is no official “YouTube” channel in the Roku channel store.  This is where various “private channels” come in which can be created by developers who write them.  I recently scoured the web to find the top private channels to add to my Roku XDS device which I enjoy immensely, here is my experience with the Roku XDS and some private channels for you to enter in your device for additional features.

First, Roku XDS and XDS 2 are the most expensive Roku model at the time.  I chose the XDS because it has dual band Wi-Fi for more stable and reliable wireless connection as well as it is the only Roku model that supports the component video input which I needed for an older TV.  I also am leveraging the optical audio and the USB slot for playing movies and video right off of a USB drive.

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Above is how I have the Roku XDS box setup in my house, it is above my receiver right next to my center channel speaker.  The wireless remote works well but sometimes you can’t tell if the thing is on because the power light is a very dim purple.

One problem people reported with the Roku XDS over wireless is the low quality streaming from Netflix, first you need to realize that the Roku will by default choose a lower quality stream as it “tests” the broadband connection.  After letting it play for about 10-15 minutes and then exiting the video and loading it again you will find that it will always play at the highest video quality provided the wireless network is stable.  People have not really reported this problem when using the Roku wired, but wireless it can be a bit touchy.  I am using a Linksys WRT54G router and had no network issues setting it up to my WPA2 encrypted wireless network at all.

I will say that Netflix played just fine, though I was surprised it loaded a little faster on my Nintendo Wii than on the Roku in a few attempts.  I also have so many computers hooked up and using Internet at the same time I was pleasantly surprised to see a computer in my house can stream a movie from Netflix at the same time the Roku player can stream a movie from Netflix and there was no quality loss or interruption though the movie took a little longer to queue.

The Roku XDS is ideal for people who want to watch TV or Movies from their big screen TV but don’t want the hassle of having to plug and unplug their notebook into the television or who don’t have a dedicated media center PC.  At $99 dollars the Roku XDS is much cheaper than a dedicated PC for your living room TV and there is quite a lot of content you can watch in the various channels you can subscribe to.  It is recommended you either have a Netflix or Hulu + subscription to make the most out of your Roku box as without one of these two subscriptions your online options are limited to what you can find on the handful of free channels, though there are lots of podcast channels and with the private YouTube channel you can watch anything on there.

Speaking of Netflix, I can’t say enough on how much I like Netflix and my only gripe is the 30 day delay on new movies and the fact that online streaming movies are never the most recent releases,  I am hoping that better deals and contracts between Netflix and movie studio’s will eventually release movies to online streaming within a few weeks of them coming out on DVD.  I would even support advertisements in the form of commercials before and after the content if it meant there were more new releases available.

Below are the list of Roku Private Channels I have found most useful and recommend to Roku users.

Roku Private Channels

Pod TV (Multi Site Channel)

This is probably one of the best Channels and allows the Roku to partially replace your local TV and some cable television stations.  The POD TV channel which I found out about by thenowhereman provides content from providers like NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, HGTV and the Food Network.  Enter channel code “H9DWC” to get the POD TV channel and this is one must have channel.

YouTube Channel

Private channel “B8VVK” used to be able to add YouTube but it looks like this private channel is no longer functional.

Woot! Channel

For those who have to see what is for sale on Woot!, this channel is a quick way to keep tabs on the site.  Enter channel “BPPIM” to access Woot! from your Roku box.

Ustream.TV Channel

Having Ustream.tv for your Roku is a good way to watch concerts and other features online, this is one channel for music folks as well as others who watch live streaming content.  Enter code “IN4DN” to add the private Ustream Roku channel.

USB Browser Channel

So the Roku XDS has a USB connector, but you need to install the private USB Channel to be able to watch video content on your Roku box.  Enter code “KGULU” to add the USB Channel to your Roku device, note there are limited video formats supported at this time.  These are the following formats supported: MP4 video, MP3 or AAC audio, and PNG or JPG photos, note use a separate folder for your content, mp3′s in separate folder from mp4′s…etc.

CNN Channel

My wife and I like having CNN on practically all day long and this channel is ideal for keeping track of real time news, enter “RBFA1″ to have the CNN news channel added.  This is not the same thing as the Roku Newscaster channel which you can add from the Channel Store.

 

CNN International

To add CNN international just use code “CNNI” in adding a private channel.

Funny or Die Channel

This is a site with tons of free comedic content and is one worth having on your Roku device if you like watching comedy vids, enter code “IU1VY” to add the Funnie or Die Channel to your Roku device.

Twitter Channel

There is a Twitter Channel for your Roku device but I don’t recommend it, if you follow more than 50 people you won’t be able to keep up with the conversations and the Roku remote doesn’t let you type fast enough even with 140 character limit to have effective conversation.  Still, if you want to try it enter “V8MRS” for the Private Twitter Roku Channel.

Anime Channel (CrunchyRoll)

For those who are into Japanese Anime, the Crunchroll site has a channel for Roku and you can enter “anime” as the channel to add Crunchyroll to your Roku device.  This is a free channel with all free anime content.

Viddler Channel

Video’s from Engadget, I Can Haz Cheezburger Fail Blog and more can be found on “VIDDLER” .  This is a free channel with a ton of online content.

JustinTV Channel

If you want live streaming webcasts you can find thousands on Justin.tv which has a private channel for now, just enter “JUSTINTV” as the channel to add it to your Roku device.  This is a free channel with all free live web streaming content. Note: Justin.TV is probably working on a Channel for the official store, it was a highly requested feature.

BBC News

To get BBC News broadcasts just add private channel “BBCN” to your Roku Private Channels.

NoWhere TV

This is a huge collection of channels from The Nowhere Man, this is worth having in every Roku box and you can add it by using private channel code “H9DWC”.  I also suggest you visit The Nowhere Man private channel page to see what is offered.

iTunes PodCast Channel

Search and listen to all podcasts on iTunes with the iTunes Roku Private Channel, just enter code “ITPC” into your Roku control panel as a private channel to start browing iTunes podcasts.

The Onion Channel

The Onion News network delivers all the irony and sadistic humor you could want with The Onion private Roku Channel, just enter “ONN” into your Roku Add Private Channel section.

Al Jazeera English Channel

For those who want to watch Al Jazeera TV in English, just add private channel “ALJZ” to your Roku Private Channel section.

ABC Australia Channel

To add ABC Australia just add channel “ABCAU” to your Roku Private Channel section.

Earth Touch HD Channel

To watch some Earth Touch HD, just add “03VG9″ to your Roku Private Channel section.

Summary

The Roku device is adding new channels all the time and one of the main reasons why I chose the Roku was because I wanted my living room television to be strictly used for watching media content.  I didn’t want to have a Google TV device that can visit any website, do Twitter, Facebook or anything else that would distract me from simply watching movies, TV shows and other video content when I wanted to.  The Roku is also priced competitively and has more free content than Apple TV available to it.  I definitely recommend the Roku XDS for readers who want an Internet TV streaming solution and I recommend the XDS for wireless for the future support of 1080p (it supports it now, but many channels do not yet) as well as the dual band wireless connection.

Roku Still Not Having What You Need?

I recently got a Veebeam which allows you to wirelessly stream video from your laptop or home PC to your HDTV. This plugs in to your HDMI or Composite video and allows you to stream Free Hulu, Megavideo or any other website movie service right to your HDTV. With Veebeam there are no limitations, no channels but it does have the inconvenience of you having to find and queue your movie on your laptop or PC so it can stream to your living room TV. It works very well and I highly recommend the Veebeam 1080p if you don’t want to buy Netflix, Hulu+ and want to leverage only the free movie streaming services online and beam them to your HDTV. The only caveat is you need a fairly powerful PC or laptop at least dual core 2.2 ghz if you want someone to do any sort of multitasking on the PC at the same time.

Current Price: $129.99
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Justin Germino
Working in the IT Industry for over 13 years and specializing in web based technologies. Dragon Blogger has unique insights and opinions to how the internet and web technology works. An Avid movie fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.
Justin Germino
Justin Germino
  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    Seems like an great product, but do some PC come equip with stuff like this..becasue I think mines did..just wondering..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      If your PC has an HDMI output port, or your TV supports a VGA input port you can leverage your PC as a Internet Streaming device. Though this means you will not only have to lug your PC to your living room TV, but you will need a wireless keyboard and optical device to navigate the websites, links, type stuff in to find content which may be frustrating. This is where a dedicated device comes in, you don’t need to dedicate a whole PC and buy new peripherals which is far more expensive than a Roku box.

  • http://freeipadgear.com Josiah @ Free iPads

    I definitely added Youtube the first day i got my Roku setup. The whole private channels have really opened up the doors for a lot of developers to come in and push more content(whether legal or not). Some of the channels are a little flaky though.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Did you find any channels not listed here that you like?

  • http://freeipadgear.com Josiah @ Free iPads

    You mentioned some good ones. Here are a few more:

    Justin.TV – JUSTINTV
    CNN – RBFA1
    Google Voice – NXFBW
    Hubblecast HD – 9OFQX

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Google Voice, didn’t know about that one. I don’t use it but what would you do with it besides configure which phone you want to ring? CNN is kind of included in the PodCast it includes CNN but as a separate channel it works too. Justin.TV is another good one I didn’t know about, like the really easy unlock code.

  • http://www.make-money-youtube.info Nabil@Make Money on YouTube

    My dad recently bought a new laptop, and he has to switch places all the freakin’ time when wanting to do stuff which this thing obviously solves. Great!

  • http://dirtcheapairlinetickets.biz/silpada+jewelry+catalog Basam@silpada

    Thanks for new technology introduction

  • http://seventoten.com Paul Tech

    Good product review, I think Roku is definitely more nifty than lugging a PC into the living room.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Yeah, I really enjoy the Roku I have watched about over a dozen movies on it, but honestly I do more Netflix than any other channel. It was fun watching my own YouTube channel and the Youtube HD movies came out looking pretty good on my 48″ TV

  • http://www.tracyingram.com tracy ingram

    That is awesome I didn’t realize they were so affordable. I also didn’t think you could play movies directly from a usb fob. I will have to check it out, i have netfllix and it would be easier than plugging my computer in all the time.

  • http://www.eclipsegym.com Gladys

    Thats a great product, how much roku cost?

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      The Roku XDS is $99.99 but the lighter Roku without the 1080p and dual band Wi-Fi is $79.99

      • http://www.eclipsegym.com Gladys

        Thanks for the info..that affordable to have.

  • Steve Youngs

    Hi Justin!

    Seems like a very spiffy device. I’m pretty sure we have similar things here in Australia, though I don’t think I’d ever want or need to own one. I don’t watch anywhere near enough TV to justify it, and the TV that I do watch is all free-to-air anyway.

    Kind regards,
    Steve

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      It is more ideal for people who watch movies or seasons of TV shows after the season is already over rather than live TV Shows. I watch a lot of movies, probably around 12 per month, this is where an Internet streaming device is ideal.

  • http://www.getting-unstuck.com/ Riley Harrison

    Hey Justin,
    I just bought a Roku for purposes of getting Netflick movies faster. I wasn’t tapping into these other sources of entertainment but will now. Thanks

    Riley

  • http://www.ryanrenfrew.com Ryan Renfrew @LifestyleDesign

    Thats sounds like a great product, I have never seen or heard of anything like this before. I may have to thin k about getting one.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Yeah, I am very happy with it.

  • http://www.kerry-lisa-russell.com Kerry Russell

    Hey Justin

    Just been over to Amazon to check the product out and it’s not a bad price. May have to make an investment in this one. Your description is very detailed. Sounds like it would be a good investment.

    Kerry Russell

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I am very happy with it and overall have watched about 48 TV episodes and 11 movies with my Roku since I got it for Christmas 2010 so far.

  • Brandon Bailey

    Hi Justin-

    This is an interesting post. I have an apple tv and it is pretty neat but I haven’t really even dug into what all it can do. After reading this I am going to have to check it out more and see what all it does… and maybe consider swapping it out for one of these.

    Brandon

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I haven’t tried the Apple TV but from reading comparisons there are more free Channels and content with Roku plus I think Roku is the only one with 1080p

  • Adrienne

    Hi Justin,

    Wow, learn something new everyday. Have never heard of this but I’m not surprised they have come out with something like this. May have to give this some consideration. Thanks for your thorough post.

    Adrienne

  • scott

    I had the WEB TV back in the day. Roku kind of reminds me of that except I could send email from the web tv. But I love my Roku..

  • stephanie

    Thank you for the channel listings. This makes my Roku even more fun. Great product. I love it.

  • SHANNON

    HI JUSTIN,

    I HAVE A ROKU AND I ALSO HAVE A MEGAVIDEO ACCOUNT. HOW CAN I WATCH MY MOVIES ON ROKU?IF NOT POSSIBLE, WHAT MOVIE SITE CAN I GET AS A CHANNEL

    THANK YOU

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I have scoured what I can scour and cannot find a way to get Megavideo on Roku, nobody has created a private channel and published it from what I can find. If you don’t want to pay for movie service like Hulu+ or Netflix, Crackle is one of the better ones but has limited content. 1080P channel has some options as well, you can also find some movies on the private YouTube Channel. I should note that I just reviewed the Veebeam Streaming device and for $99 it allows you to stream anything from your laptop to your HDTV so you could stream Megavideo or free Hulu with this device. I have been using it to get access to items I can’t get with Roku (But I do have Netflix and there is a ton of content there, well worth the $9 per month).

  • SHANNON

    THANKS FOR THE HELP!!!

  • Michael

    So is the private Youtube channel still working? I read google had it deleted or something?

    I just ordered a rokuHD and naturally i’m going through everything i can find on it before it actually arrives

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      I haven’t checked it in a few weeks as I mostly watch Crackle and Netflix, but I will check it later and let you know if the YouTube Private Channel Still works.

  • Belgie

    Like a lot of people who use Amazon, I own all kinds of electronic gear. Every once in a while, you get your hands on a device that really stands out in terms of ease of use and performance.

  • http://twitter.com/rokuchannels Kevin

    Helpful post … It is not pretty, but I publish a continually updating list of private roku channels here: http://www.rokuprivatechannels.com. Also, I am about 97% sure that the Roku YouTube channel has been pulled.

    • http://www.dragonblogger.com Justin Germino

      Your table format is nice and easy to read. I added the YouTube Channel last year and it still shows up, used it to watch Weird Al video’s last week, but I don’t know if you can still add it. Now that you said that I am afraid to remove it and try re-adding it.

  • Erin D

    this article & the comments have been really useful- thanks to all contributors! Does anyone know the private channel code for universal sports?