Having received an email about the obsolescence of my Roku HD from the company that manufactured it, I recently wrote an obituary for my dear departed media player. I was in mourning, but it seems that the reports of my Roku’s demise were somewhat exaggerated.
Curious I went up to my third floor studio where my first Roku resides. It’s hooked up to an old 19″ tube television that’s over 20 years old. After digging around for some AAA batteries to power the various remotes, I fired it up. The welcome screen came up as expected, but would the channels still function? I tried Netflix’s streaming service which was the reason I and probably most people purchased a Roku.
It worked. It took a while to buffer a television episode compared to the newer Roku 3 which I have plugged directly into the router via Ethernet, but it looked as well as expected on an old standard definition set. (Pardon the terrible photos!)
I tried some of the other channels. I noticed that Crackle had upgraded their channel on my newer player recently so I was surprised to see it still working on the old box.
Great! I always loved Crackle. Yes, their movies and television shows are interrupted by commercials, but the movies are uncut, and they have an interesting catalog. They don’t charge unlike Hulu which double dips with commercials and a subscription fee.
I noticed that some of the channels vanished from the Roku HD’s lineup like youtube and Plex, but the channels I originally loaded up to enjoy back in 2010 are still working. Most importantly, the vast library of public domain audio and video is still available from The Internet Archive’s private channel available free of charge here.
Fortunately an early favorite channel of mine is also still working.
Pub-D-Hub is sort of like The Internet Archive in that it’s a collection of public domain oddities, but it’s a curated collection. It has a lot of movies and television shows but the reason I recommend Pub-D-Hub is the bizarre offerings in it’s cautionary and educational film sub-channels. Every old 16mm opus unspooled within the past five or six decades by a member of an audio-visual squad is available there. There’s a lot of auto wrecks, fire bugs, juvenile delinquents and hormones run wild. It’s fascinating stuff!
So the old Roku HD is not dead. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’ll have it running on my third floor as I work in my studio. I’ll update you, dear readers, every now and then to let you know if the old box is still kicking.
If it does give up, Roku still makes a box that works with old tube televisions. It’s the Roku 1, and it has both the composite connectors and an HDMI port. It will do standard definition and 1080p high definition on appropriate televisions. There are a lot of old tube televisions floating around out there and I love that Roku considers backwards compatibility.