A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a Netflix Player by Roku -- a little box that lets Netflix subscribers watch the company's video-on-demand selections on a TV set. We already had a media computer hooked up to our TV, but it runs on a Linux platform so we couldn't use it to Watch Instantly on Netflix, which is Windows-only. The Roku player was priced at $99, which is a little steep for a gamble on whether the quality would be acceptable and whether we could make it work with our increasingly bulky TV/media setup, but we decided to give it a shot.

The box, which is about the size of a large paperback, arrived last weekend while I was at the farmers' market, and by the time I returned with tomatoes and peaches, my husband had hooked the box into our TV setup and activated it through our Netflix account. He tells me this was a very easy thing to do, although we're talking about someone who spent time the night before creating a fancy diagram of our devices and cabling input/output so he'd know exactly where and how to hook up the Roku box. (We also have a digital TV tuner, two DVD players, a VCR, and the media computer.) Here are the ups and downs we've discovered so far about the newest addition to our home's TV/media setup.