Roku & VideoBox: So easy … a ropeadope could do it

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VideoBox contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I owned a Roku. I replied no, but was intrigued by zapp’s blog posts here and here. The exchange went something like this:

VideoBox: We’re sending you a Roku, want you to install the VideoBox app, and write a blog article detailing the procedure.

rope: Me?

VideoBox: Yes.

rope: You do realize I’m the least tech savvy person in the universe?

VideoBox: Exactly! If you can manage it, anyone can manage it. Do you have a high speed internet connection?

rope: Yes.

VideoBox: Do you own a television manufactured post 1955?

rope: Yes.

VideoBox: See, it’s easy. Just hook up the Roku to your home network.

rope: What’s a home network?

VideoBox: (stifling laughter) You’ll figure it out.

rope: Will you also be sending me a 1080p LCD HDTV so I can fully immerse myself in the Roku experience?

VideoBox: Goodbye.

Come inside and I’ll walk you through the Roku setup and VideoBox app installation. It actually is easy, and provides great entertainment. I would encourage everyone to consider a Roku purchase.



So I receive the Roku delivery shortly afterward. Opening up the package, it includes the Roku XDS player (top of the line), remote control with two AAA batteries, power adapter, RCA composite cables, and quick start guide. The unit connects to your television via the included composite cables, or optional HDMI or component cables. In order to view HD content, you’ll need to use either an HDMI or component cable connection.

Now about that home network mentioned above. Roku requires a broadband internet connection, such as cable or DSL. The faster the connection, the better off you are. I have a cable connection, and discovered a home network is established by use of a router, either wired or wireless. I purchased a wireless router some time ago, but never unpacked it. I surprised myself by finding the router after only three days of tearing the house apart, and integrated it into my connection. Basically, the router goes between your broadband modem and computer. You can operate multiple computers off the router, and the router will send the internet signal to wireless enabled devices such as the Roku. A wired router can also be utilized, but you must connect the Roku directly to the router via an Ethernet cable. Most routers come equipped with a hardware firewall, which is helpful in securing your system. A CD packaged with the router will guide you through the setup process. You may need to assign a name (SSID), password, security method, and security encryption key for a wireless network. If so, keep a record of this info, because you may need it later.

Okay, now that we have the home network established, we can proceed with the Roku setup. You’ll need to check which ports are available on your television. The highest quality connection is with an HDMI cable. If your television has an HDMI port, this will be your best choice. Next best is component cable, followed by S-Video (available on older Roku models), and composite cable. Only the composite cable is included with the Roku, so if you’re using HDMI, component, or S-Video, you’ll need to purchase those cables separately. The newer and pricier televisions will generally come equipped with HDMI and component ports. If you have an older television (as I do), you’ll likely have to settle for the composite connection (as I did). You should use the best connection at your disposal. Do it now!

Next step is to connect the Roku to your network. If connecting to a network controlled by a wireless router, you just need to place the Roku within unobstructed range of the wireless signal. If you don’t have a wireless network, use an Ethernet cable to connect the Roku to your wired router. Connect the Roku to a power source with the included power adapter, and place the batteries in the remote.

Now we can complete the Roku setup. Turn on your television, and select the proper input to display the Roku player (HDMI, component, composite, etc.). You should see a welcome screen. Point your remote at the screen and press OK. You’ll be led through a series of screens which completes the setup between the player and your home network. First, select wired or wireless. If wired, click OK. If wireless, the player will try to detect your network. If you see your network name displayed, highlight it and click OK. If your network is not detected by the player, make sure nothing is obstructing the signal between your wireless router and the player, and that the player is within range of the signal. If still not detected, you can manually enter your network name using the onscreen keyboard and remote. If your network requires a security encryption key, you’ll need to input that as well. At this point of my setup, the player downloaded a software update, and I was prompted to press OK to relaunch the Roku. Upon relaunch, you can adjust some minor settings, and a linking code will appear on your television. With your computer, navigate to roku.com/link, and use the code to create a new account, and link your player to the account. Just fill in the requested information. I took some screenshots of this stage of the process. Click all images to enlarge.

Use television code to link player

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Creating new account – step 1 – contact info

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Creating new account – step 2 – payment info

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Channel Store Pin

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Successful creation of new account.

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You then receive a congratulatory message on the television that the Roku player has been successfully linked. You have a chance to optimize and customize some additional settings. Pressing the home key on your remote completes the Roku setup.

Now that the Roku setup is complete, we can add some channels. Netflix? Nope. Hulu Plus? Uh-uh. Amazon Instant Video? Not today. Let’s see if we can add zapp’s VideoBox channel to the Roku. Before going any further, zapp wants me to remind you the VideoBox app is still in alpha testing mode (which I believe precedes beta testing mode). If your Sony BRAVIA 60″ 3-D Ready 1080p 240Hz LED-LCD HDTV explodes after adding the VideoBox app, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. On that happy note, let’s head to https://owner.roku.com/add/videobox. Sign in with your Roku account info, and click Yes, Add Channel. This step will allow you to view new, HD, and popular VideoBox scenes on your television with the Roku player. Here are the corresponding screenshots.

Adding VideoBox channel to Roku player

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Successful addition of VideoBox channel

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Now we can go one step further. If you wish to import your VideoBox favorites, and recommended scenes to the Roku, you need to link your VideoBox account to the player. On the VideoBox app homepage (where you see the word SCENES), press the options button (asterisk *) on your remote (or the play / pause button on older remotes without an options button). You will receive a super secret code. Navigate to http://vb3.videobox.com/roku, where you will encounter the following page.

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This part was a bit tricky. Three boxes and a login link. No instructions on the page. In Internet Explorer, the login link didn’t even display. But in Firefox, the login link showed up. I finally figured out I needed to enter my VideoBox username, VideoBox password, and VideoBox super secret code (in that order). At least that’s what worked for me. Now your VideoBox favorites and recommended scenes are also accessible with the Roku player. I never had a favorites list before, but created one to test whether the Roku would pick it up. Sure enough, after exiting the app (hitting the home button on the remote), and returning to the channel, my newly created favorites list was waiting for me.

So how is the VideoBox app? Simply amazing. As I stated earlier in the article, I have an older television (a large screen Toshiba purchased in 1997), and can only connect using the composite (lowest relative quality) cables. But the picture is still terrific, and I absolutely love watching the videos on the big screen. I can only imagine how awesome it must look with an HDMI connection. Of course, the content is outstanding. It goes without saying that you’ll enjoy your favorites and recommended scenes, as those are user specific. But the scenes in the popular category (popular across the membership as a whole) are unbelievable as well. I just viewed (beginning to end) the classic Peaches scene from Breakin’ ‘Em In #2 and never enjoyed it more. Liliana Moreno (The Girl Nex Door #5), both Monica Sweetheart and Gauge (A Perverted Point Of View #3), Bree Olsen (Fuck For Dollars #3), Jenna Haze (Dirty Little Stories #1), Faye Reagan (Teens With Tits #12), and Allyssa Hall (Who’s That Girl #8) are a sampling of other scenes you’ll encounter in the popular category. Throw in HD content, all your favorites and recommended scenes, and the newest additions to the site. How can you go wrong? By the way, zapp has informed me he plans on adding parental controls along with other innovations down the road. The Roku VideoBox app is a winner in my judgment, and I congratulate and thank zapp for his efforts in developing and implementing this excellent feature.

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23 Responses to “Roku & VideoBox: So easy … a ropeadope could do it”

  1. Bronty Says:

    +1

    Though in ‘alpha’ stage, I have encountered no particular problems with the VB Roku channel. I am looking forward to the expanded feature set, but the channel works great as it is now. Amazing to have this channel as part of my VB membership.

    It is worth noting. I typically have all kinds of problems on my PC with jerky video when I stream from the VB website. I have a modern computer, but with computers a million little setting and add-ons any of which can cause problems. So, I had given up streaming from the VB site long ago. I sense many are in the same boat.

    With Roku, the video streaming from VB is fast and flawless!! The interface is simple and uncluttered and easy to navigate. The Roku device itself is also well designed. It just ‘works’ with minimal fiddling.

    Excuse the typos…

  2. Dood Says:

    How about VB for PS3? PS3 can currently stream Netflix and Hulu. Though, I’m sure Sony would have to approve.

  3. rj Says:

    How about a video post (too much reading) of this process and the final product? Would like to see the VB layout on the big screen!

  4. ropeadope Says:

    @ Bronty – Agreed on all points, thank you for sharing your experience with Roku and the VideoBox app. Out of curiosity, may I ask how your Roku is hooked up with your television? Are you using an HDMI cable connection?

    @ Dood – zapp stated in this post that he hasn’t looked into PS3 support as of yet, but a boxee app might be forthcoming.

    @ rj - Too much reading? I thought reading is FUN-damental. I wouldn’t even know how to go about constructing a video of the process, but I saw zapp reply to you in this post that he would be happy to do so. You can contact zapp at the following email if you wish – zapp@videobox.com

  5. Bronty Says:

    @ Rope – Good question. I’ve connected the Roku via HDMI to my Sony TV (LCD, 46 inches, 1080p). Also, the Roku is connected to the internet via ethernet (as is my laptop), not Wifi. I’ve heard that WiFi works perfetcly well with Roku, but my cable modem and router are conveniently next to the television.

  6. ropeadope Says:

    @ Bronty – Thank you for the info. Sounds like a great system. I almost pulled the trigger today on a Toshiba 40″ 1080p LED-LCD HDTV. But I need to have either analog audio out, or a headphone jack, and this unit has neither. Only digital audio out, which my decades old equipment can’t handle. So I think (but not positive) I would have to purchase a modern audio component which can accept the digital audio, and to which I can attach a headphone. But maybe there’s a workaround I’m not familiar with. I’m in an apartment building, and don’t want audio from the VideoBox channel entering all of my neighbor’s apartments. I currently have the analog audio from my 1997 Toshiba TV going thru auxiliary jacks on my (and I kid you not) 1970 Panasonic receiver (lol, I was only days old when I bought it), and then a headphone (2010!) into the receiver.

  7. Bronty Says:

    @ Rope – My prized receiver (’amp’) is from 1977, so I am, like, totally, with you. It’s not connected to my TV, but that said: Are you sure there are no RCA audio outs, or a headphone jack (1/8″ jack) on this Toshiba? Either, with perhaps an adapter, should connect to your receiver. If not, then there are many other TV models on the market that should, and likely within the same price range.

  8. ropeadope Says:

    @ Bronty – This particular set is great on the inputs, including 4 HDMI, but lacking on the output options. The only audio out is a optical TOSLINK port. However, you are correct on your recommendations. I hadn’t realized there are digital to analog audio converters, but now see they are available. Possibly better, I came across a 42″ LG 1080p LCD (but not LED-LCD) HDTV which is priced marginally higher, but has a built in headphone jack. Appreciate the help.

  9. sirid Says:

    WOW this thing is awesome. I had never heard of it when zapp first posted. I asked around and looked and said damm this looks cool. I had already cut the cable cord for the TV its just insane how much money they want when you can get free HD over the air. Well I can’t thank videobox enough even though I am just a very new owner of this and videobox is in alpha it works and looks great. I will also say big thanks to rope the activating on the vb side is very alpha and his help got me though.

  10. bradley_cj Says:

    I am having trouble syncing my roku box to my account. I keep getting the message “Sorry, the access code you entered did not match any in our system. Please try again.” I have double and triple checked my username, the password, and the code from the roku box, but I keep getting the same error message. Please help.

  11. bob Says:

    A brilliant move to ROKU. Brilliant.
    It works beautifully on my system. Thank you very much, VB.
    Rope, thanks to you as well. Appreciate your info on all things related here.

  12. sirid Says:

    @bradley – It said that to me too but still worked, though I have no favorite list etc so I just streamed a movie.

    I am right now just using wifi and the hd stuff works but is clunky with the buffering. I feel like the burffer stalls sometimes. The SD stuff streams like melted butter. Nice to see porn on the old TV again.

  13. ropeadope Says:

    @ sirid – Thank you for your feedback. Likewise, I was completely clueless that anything like the Roku existed, until I read zapp’s posts. Glad you like it, and you are more than welcome for the walkthrough.

    On your second comment, may I ask which type of connection you’re using between the Roku and television. HDMI, component, or composite? With my composite (lowest relative quality) connection, the HD content will still stream, but there is frequent buffering. I expected as much, since an HDMI or component connection is required (recommended?) to view HD content.

    @ bradley_cj – I am emailing zapp right now to see if he can address this issue. We’ve had several members report the same problem. I’ll request that he leave a reply in this post.

    @ bob – Happy to hear you’re enjoying the Roku. More than welcome for the post, and thank you for the feedback.

  14. sirid Says:

    @ ropeadope I am componet to the TV and I have moved to a hard wired (well sort of using the monsternet system to get to Roku. The buffering is not about how you connect to TV (HDMI, Componet, or Composite) those items are about how it will look once it gets to the TV. The buffering is first about your home network (how you are getting to Roku wifi or wired) the speed of your ISP, and then VB’s servers and the congestion on the net as a whole. Hopefully Zapp is reading this blog to correct me if i am wrong, but streaming HD on Wifi is going to be fustrating alot of buffer time. Though even wired connect is not great ( I remind you all this is alpha code not ready for prime time) either my ISP or VB stalls alot on streaming HD I find it makes it to 80% then stalls then i hit rewind and play very quickly it buffers and then plays till you have to do it again. I hope they keep devoloping this it looks great. Should I post feedback to zapp here or where to help with bugs?

  15. ropeadope Says:

    @ sirid – Oh I see, good to know. I’ve only encountered the frequent buffering while streaming HD content, so I decided to pin the blame on my usage of the least favorable connection (composite) between the Roku and the television.

    zapp should definitely see the feedback here. Alternatively, you can post to the Roku thread zapp authored on the VB3 forum. Enter the forum here, >>> VB Labs >>> VB Roku App.

  16. flblasted Says:

    I’ve gotten the videobox player installed on my Roku. I have an older Roku but when I try to push the play/pause button on the Roku Videobox homepage it doesn’t do anything, just sends me back to my channel select screen. I’ve tried all the other buttons as well and I just can’t seem to get to the screen that gives me my super secret code.

  17. ropeadope Says:

    @ flblasted – I’m forwarding your issue to zapp, and I’ll request he leave a reply here. Please confirm for me that I properly understand the situation.

    1) You’ve been able to install the VideoBox app on your Roku player. I assume you can view scenes in the new, HD, and popular categories?

    2) As you have an older Roku model, the remote control does not have an options button (with the asterisk *).

    3) On the VideoBox app homepage, you see the word SCENES (capital letters). On this page, you press the play / pause button (>ll) on your older remote, but do not receive the super secret code which would allow you to link your VideoBox account to the Roku player. Thus, you cannot view scenes on your favorites list with the Roku.

    Is this correct?

  18. zapp Says:

    Hi guys! Great feedback here. Thanks Ropeadope for the write-up, and everyone that took the time to write in. Rope pointed me to a couple comments about an inability to properly sync your VB account to your roku. In general, I suggest you try rebooting your roku after your sync attempt and see if things show up properly. If it still doesn’t work after a reboot, drop me a line at zapp@videobox.com and I can try and assist you further. I’ll be out of town for the next two weeks starting on Friday, so I may be a bit slow, but I promise I’ll do my best :)

  19. flblasted Says:

    @ ropeadope – Yep, that was my problem. I took zapp’s advice and rebooted my Roku. It took a couple times but I was finally able to get the screen to come up with the code.

    Thanks!

  20. sirid Says:

    @Zapp I have to say that I stopped trying the HD stuff the last few days because of buffering and stalling issues, but tryed it again today and….. WOW it worked GREAT. Not sure if you changed something but if you did it worked. Whole scene only the initial buffer and looked great. Thanks

  21. sirid Says:

    @Zapp well I spoke to soon, I wrote a good bug report but blog said i was “cheating” some spam thing so this is all you get now, ask if you want more

  22. ropeadope Says:

    @ sirid – From time to time I receive the cheating message as well. Haven’t pinned down the reason, but it seems to occur when I’ve had the blog page open for an extended period of time. Here’s what generally works for me.

    1) When you see cheating message, click the back button on your browser. The text of your comment should still be in the reply box.

    2) Copy comment to clipboard (highlight with mouse then Ctrl + C)

    3) Refresh the page (F5)

    4) Paste comment back into reply box (click box with mouse then Ctrl + V)

    It may also be helpful to eliminate any links which might be contained in your comment.

    This works in most instances, but not every single time. You may have to repeat the action a few times before the comment sticks. But as long as you have the text copied, you don’t need to type it out again.

    *** I realize you know how to copy and paste, but I specified to help others who may run into the same issue, and are unaware of how to do so.

  23. sirid Says:

    @rope Thanks, I didn’t think to try the back button right before hitting send I thought of coping post. Its not that uncommon on the web that you write this long post and something goes wrong, but I hesitated and didn’t. When Zapp gets back if he wants the details you guys know how to find me and I would be glad to help.