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: 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?
VideoBox: Do you own a television manufactured post 1955?
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?
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
Creating new account – step 1 – contact info
Creating new account – step 2 – payment info
Channel Store Pin
Successful creation of new account.
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
Successful addition of VideoBox channel
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.
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.