Today my Roku2 set top box arrived from the USA (my first order via www.shopusa.com which seem to have workd fine), I had ordered this to be able to watch Netflix in my bedroom and the Roku2 box seemed the easiest and cheapest way.
The device which comes with remote and build-in wifi seemed nice, small and elegant and I did not expect many issues connecting it, I had read in advance that the service www.unblock-us.com was supporting this unit so everything should be a brease.
Well things did not go acording to plan 🙁
First things first, www.unblock-us.com works by you replacing your DNS servers with servernames (or rather IP’s) they provide, well the darn box has no network settings it gets it’s configuration from DHCP and that is it. Well no problem, I run a Windows 2008R2 server with DHCP so I just created a new reservation for the MAC address of the Roku 2 box and setup the Unblock-us DNS server ip’s for this reservation – and sure enough this part worked like a charm (note you have to follow the instructions on the www.unblock-us.com site and activate the service before starting to use it, I’m not 100% sure how they register you, likely by your external IP – but how do they deal with dynamic IP’s then??).
So now I had the device connected to my WLAN and tv. The first thing is then to link the Roku box to an account, you need you computer for this – so I created an account and entered the ID-code from the Roku 2 box (it displays a code you need to enter into your new Roku account to link the device to your account), and everything worked like a charm (I used a P.O.Box address in the USA as my postal address and my American Express as credit card, everything was fine). But now began my trouble, see the device somehow knew that it was not in the USA and only showed a few totally uninteresting streaming channels (no Netflix, no Hulu etc. etc.), and now began a lot of googling – I found these two threads that seemed to give some insight to the matter;
And the issue appears to be that the account somehow is not accepted as a fully valid USA account, now I tried deleting the account and recreating it via a USA vpn as some suggested, I tried different credit cards, I tried creating a USA Paypal account but nothing solved the issue. It was suggested that by using a verified USA creditcard you might overcome the problem, however USA credit cards are hard to come by in Europe :-/ I only know of a few places where you can obtain these and these are not free so a streaming service would end up being fairly expensive 😐
Link to obtaining a USA credit card;
http://www.kanmandet.dk/?p=1860 (might also work)
I did however in the end find a liveable solution to my torment, once the device is fully configured and setup you unlink it from your Roku account – then you wait a few minutes and either restart the Roku or refresh your channels – this strangely enough caused the device to remove all channels BUT at the same time restore the Netflix launch button to the frontpage – and now Netflix works (and possibly also Hulu) – you still need Unblock-us not to forget, however all other channels are gone… Ok, my objective was to get Netflix so I’m happy with this, but at the same time it’s a shame to not be able to try out all the other stuff – but I guess there is no winning every time 🙁
Btw; the powersupply supports both 110v and 220v so no problems there other than the wall jack which a universal adapter took care off
So status at the moment is; Got Netflix working (by unlinking the Roku from my Roku account) but now that is all the device can do….. Hrmpf I am not totally satisfied, but guess this will have to do…
Streaming and Netflix navigation seem to work fine, quality is not fully as good as when I stream from a PC but quite acceptable. Do let me know if anyone figures out a way around this messy situation.
Another odd thing about the Roku 2 box, there is no standby? you need to unplug the darn thing to shut it down, acording to Roku it is because it uses so little power, now I don’t know in these days where we all are suposed to be thinking about the environment :-/
UPDATE March 8th 2012;
Found this site that appear to offer a workaround for any non USA credit card problems, I have not had the need to test it myself but it looks like a workable solution: