Reviewed by David Savage
Home Entertainment is big business but is rapidly changing. Less and less households have stereos, DVD or Blu-Ray players and are instead opting for streaming services (that said, I still have Blu-ray players on my televisions, and they do get a lot of use, along with streaming services). Whilst we have a plethora of streaming options for our televisions, music streaming has stayed a bit static and hasn’t moved on a great deal – most of us using our phones to stream music whilst connecting to a Bluetooth speaker or earbuds/headphones. Whereas that’s great and an easy system, what if you have friends around listening to some music and you receive a call? The music is stopped, which is an annoyance. What if you are out and have taken your Spotify music subscription with you on your phone and the kids are home wanting to listen to music? It can be a bit expensive getting family subscriptions.
That has now changed with a simple device that connects to the television – the ROXi! This allows us to share music as a family, with a few added extras built in!
The ROXi is a set-top box with its own music subscription that connects to the television via a HDMI port and gives a visual interface for your music streaming. The initial £99.95 purchase price gives you the box, remote and includes 12 months of access to their premium music service (after the first year can be renewed at £52 per year, working out at a £1 per week).
In the box is:
- ROXi box
- ROXi remote
- Power cable for ROXi box
- HDMI cable
- Micro USB cable for charging the remote
The ROXi comes with access to over 35 million songs and albums by all your favourite artists, all ad free, spanning every decade and genre of music. It boasts hundreds of pre-programmed playlists to suit every genre and mood. If that wasn’t enough, it also comes with other excellent extra features to enhance the social aspect of it:
ROXi Sing With The Stars – a library of over 60,000 songs as part of ROXi’s karaoke function. The remote doubles as a microphone so you can duet with all your favourite artists using the onscreen lyrics.
ROXi Name The Song – This is a fabulous music trivia quiz that players of all ages will enjoy. Featuring millions of songs, you should never get bored.
ROXi Sound Machine – This provides ambient soundscapes. The perfect background sounds for chilling, meditation and yoga. It can even help get baby to sleep.
Worldwide Radio – Listening to the radio has never been better. Tune into thousands of stations covering news, popular culture, sport and music from around the world.
Visualisers – Enjoy over 10,000 breath-taking photographs on your TV whilst the music plays.
Photoframe – In addition to ROXi’s beautiful built-in visualisers you can display your personal photo albums and pictures from Facebook.
Family Protect – From time to time music can be a bit offensive. Don’t worry. Just turn on Family Protect, any songs marked with explicit lyrics will just disappear.
Set up is very easy and literally takes 2 or 3 minutes. It is just a case of plugging the ROXi box into the mains power and connecting to the television using a HDMI port. Once connected and the television on just follow the onscreen prompts to pair the remote to the box. All that’s left to do is connect to the home wi-fi network and confirm the 12 month music subscription.
The ROXi interface is well thought out and is very easy to navigate. You can use the remote to move around (if you have ever used a Nintendo Wii, the remote reminds me of this). Alternatively, the remote has a built-in microphone and the system is equipped with voice commands for navigation or to find your favourite song, album or artist.
As it is a music subscription, we started with streaming music. As mentioned previously it comes with a 12 month subscription which has unlimited streaming of over 35 million songs. Select the option from the carousel onscreen and either text search or search by voice command and you are pretty much listening to that track straight away (is mostly accurate depending on your search criteria). The voice command search is much easier, especially for the younger members of the family that do not have the patience to type or not the best of spellers. When you have found your song, you can add tracks to your favourites and make your own playlists and even see other tracks by that artist or band.
If you are not sure what songs you would like to listen to or haven’t got time to set up your own playlist, you can choose from the pre-programmed playlists. There are hundreds of these to choose from – from 50/60’s, pop, 80s rock, classical and lots more, all organised by genre. A great way to select music for your mood or for exercising to and an excellent way to listening to new artists and genres.
Now, with 35 million songs on the service they are not all going to be child friendly and some will have explicit lyrics. Not to worry, just turn on Family Protect and any songs marked with explicit lyrics will not show up on the search. You don’t have to worry about the kids listening to inappropriate music.
As a music streaming service it is excellent, but some of the added features are excellent. Our favourites are the karaoke function, Sing With The Stars, and the music trivia quiz, Name the Song.
Sing With The Stars has a library of over 60,000 tracks to choose from. You select you favourite song and the lyrics are displayed on the screen. This isn’t true karaoke as it isn’t just music and lyrics, you are actually singing along with the original artists using the microphone. We loved this. The remote as a microphone feels quite natural. The only issue we had was that on a television using just the tv speakers the karaoke sound wasn’t that loud, but on our main television that is equipped with a sub and soundbar, the sound was much better, louder and clearer.
Whilst Sing With The Stars was definitely a big hit with kids, Name the Song was definitely the favourite of the adults. With a plethora of genres to choose from, this trivia quiz is lots of fun – for the whole family. The introduction to a song is played whilst the clock is ticking down, and you have 30 seconds to correctly identify the track from four possible options. Sounds easy, but can be quite difficult with the time pressure and watching your three lives disappear before your eyes. It really is fantastic fun and adds another level of enjoyment to a music streaming service.
It is also equipped with the ability to access thousands of digital radio stations from around the world. There is a variety of choice to listen too and there will be something for everyone.
Overall, the ROXi is a fantastic addition to your home entertainment. With over 35 million songs to choose from you have a massive choice and will also have your favourite genre to listen to. At £99.95 which includes a £52 music streaming subscription, it is excellent value for money. You can even choose to buy it with a one-ff payment of £99.95 or buy it over 5 months in five easy payments of £19.99.
After the first year, you can renew the subscription at £52 per year, working out at £1 per week – a lot cheaper than other music subscription services. If you don’t want to renew, you will switch to a basic service with access to less tracks and radio stations and you will have to listen to ads.
The ROXi is available in three colours; blue, charcoal or red. We got ours in charcoal as felt that it would better fit with the décor in the living room, but the coloured options would be perfectly suited to children’s bedrooms.
If you are looking for a music streaming service that has that bit more functionality and you love gadgets, then I can highly recommend the ROXi. We have had lots of enjoyment from it already, as a family and individually.
For more information or to buy, visit roximusicsystem.com.