Al Jezeera on Roku

I just discovered that I can watch Al Jazeera live on my Roku box. It’s not exactly obvious; it’s in the “Roku Newscaster” podcast aggregator/channel, which is available in the Roku Channel Store. Unlike many of the other news sources there the Al Jazeera feed is video not just audio.

I’m really impressed with Roku. It started out as a simple way to watch Netflix Instant Queue videos on our TV instead of on our computers but they have been steadily adding features. We use the Amazon video on demand library pretty regularly now and I quite like the YouTube channel. I’ve found that I save YouTube videos, especially longer ones, that I stumble across during the day and then watch them on my TV later. It’s really slick and convenient. I also like having Flickr on the big screen; it’s a fun way to look at family pictures. In contrast, we have a first generation Apple TV that gets hardly any use at all, partly because the DRM is so damn confusing. I bought a season of Star Wars The Clone Wars for my son but I can’t figure out how to get it on the TV (something about iTunes? I really don’t understand); Amazon and Netflix and Roku, by contrast, are dead simple and always work.

I have some kind of moral aversion to paying for cable television, partly because I dislike most of the 10,000 channels. I’d much rather pay per view for movies or TV series that I want to watch — last night I bought a season’s worth of Top Gear from Amazon for example.

I can’t wait for more ‘channels’ to start ‘broadcasting’ via Roku.