Mon: Jan 06, 2014

For Christmas I picked up a Roku 2 for the 13-year old to use with the basement TV. She's pretty addicted to Netflix and I figured this could be a good single-purpose device. Turns out just to use it you have to have a Roku account. This alone is stupid, I've already paid for the device and already have a Netflix account, why the hell do they need anything additional from me?

It gets worse though, in order to have an account Roku requires a credit card just to use the device. This pretty much pissed me off since, again, this is a Netflix-only device for a 13 year old who does not have a credit card (and I'll be damned if I'm giving those assholes mine.)

Their forums are full of apologists saying "oh, it's no big deal, you just call customer service and they'll create an account without a card". But why the hell should I have the additional friction of that? Not to mention they obviously out-source their customer service since the woman who answered the phone was unable to communicate with me (I've been around the world for work and have been complimented many times on my clear enunciation, yet I had to repeat myself constantly during this phone call.)

Long story short I did manage to get the box playing Netflix but it was a very shitty user experience and I will never waste money on a Roku device again. In contrast when I'd picked up a WDLiveTV system a few years ago for myself the experience was great. I plugged it in, turned it on and everything worked. No bullshit additional account required, no phone calls to them, no giving up a credit card that would never be used, nothing. If you want to have a media box for your TV I'd strongly recommend the Western Digital over the Roku.

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