Internet connections in Costa Rica are getting faster, and one of the benefits of increased speed is the capability of watching high definition movies and television programs directly on a big screen television, via the Internet. While many of the newer televisions can be plugged directly into the Internet, they are not always equipped with the fastest and easiest to use apps.
Users may notice the problem as either slow or occasionally interrupted video. This can also happen with a bad Internet connection. It may also mean that the firmware or application in the television is flawed. Some users may also experience problems because they use apps on a cheap or obsolete blue ray device. This is a popular alternative because getting the latest and greatest big screen television in Costa Rica is expensive.
Apart from buying a brand new television, the problem can be solved by adding an Internet television. Popular examples are the Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. Each device is very small and connects to the television via an HDMI connector. Internet connectivity is usually done via WiFi, which means the device should be in close proximity to the WiFi router or hub.
Of the three devices, the only one that works with all the major content services is the Roku (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus). For example, both Google Chromecast the Apple TV do not have apps for Amazon Prime. The omission leaves a lot of content off the table, considering the 40,000 programs that Amazon added for Prime in a deal with Viacom last year.
Online purchase of television programs and movies via Amazon is also replacing sales of physical medium, such as DVD and Blueray discs. The issue is important because expats with billing addresses in the U.S. can order content instantly and need not be bothered with international shipping or the low quality bootleg media that circulates in Costa Rica. Also, once purchased online a movie remains available in the customer’s Amazon account (or cloud) and can not be broken, lost or stolen like a conventional disc.
The current line up of Roku offers four models, which are the LT, 1, 2 and 3. The Roku 3 has the fastest processor, which with an acceptable broadband Internet connection translates to speedy viewing of online movies. The 3 also has an Ethernet connection for those with flaky WiFi, and a MicroSD slot for viewing content encoded on a memory chip. Those who only need 1080p HD video via WiFi can use the Roku 1.
Roku works with more than 1,000 channels, which includes Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, Vudu and Youtube. It also has cross-platform search and the Roku 2 or higher comes with a remote that has a built-in headphone jack.
Keep in mind however, that much Internet content is limited or unavailable for international views. Both a credit card with a billing address in the United States and a Proxy Service may be required to get the most content.