News Article

Roku at CES 2011

Words by Ice Cream Man

Photos by Ice Cream Man

There’s only a few places in the country you can sling cream in mid-January and Vegas is one of them. Gooch, Cory and I had been to the Consumer Electronics Show there before and discussed ways to make free ice cream possible. This year we got our shot with Roku. Not only were we able to give away a couple thousand ice creams but we mounted a TV on the side of Beau and streamed movies, tv shows, cartoons, and Road Trippin’ episodes through our Roku player.

For those unfamiliar with Roku, they’re little boxes that stream media to your tv. That sounds over-simplified but that’s the point. All you have to do is have wifi, power, and an HDMI cable and you can start watching any of their 130+ channels they have available. The most popular one is Netflix but you can also stream Hulu Plus, sports, Pandora, Amazon Video on Demand, and tons more. The XD|S model we had on the ice cream truck even has a USB input and we loaded up all of season two of Road Trippin’ with Ice Cream Man on there to play. Not only were we giving away ice cream for four days but we threw contests for people to win Roku players and gave away a dozen to lucky folks, most of them who were following us on twitter @icecreamman.

Las Vegas isn’t the easiest place to give away ice cream. There’s not much street parking, especially around the convention center, and the hotels are so big that you can’t get that close with the truck. Luckily we found a spot to park a block away from CES and gave away a bunch of cream there. One of the contests we had was to name which tv series we were streaming via Hulu Plus. @WBandoy was riding the monorail and saw our truck then checked twitter to see if there was a contest. Once he showed up it wasn’t hard to name American Dad as the streaming video and he was thrilled to win a Roku. Our spot was decent but we wanted to get closer. I loaded up the cooler bag and walked down to chat with the Bing folks who had a lot directly across the street from CES. As long as we were not selling anything we could park in the lot where AT&T and Bing were giving free shuttle rides to everyone. This proved especially beneficial on Saturday and we got their early to get the best spot we could.

All and all we had a damn good time in Vegas. Our hotels were funky (Arizona Charlies and Best Western Mardi Gras), we ate at a lot of great restaurants (Lotus of Siam, Musashi, Firefly, Egg & I, ++) and when we had parking spots we ended up giving away a lot of ice cream and got to dance around some and play wiffle ball and frisbee. We’ll be continuing to work on our 4G/Cradlepoint/Roku streaming setup so that we can do more fun stuff around Austin during SXSW. Hopefully we’ll get some more Rokus to give away too!

Thanks to everyone who helped out. Kate, Cory, and Gooch. Thanks to the Roku crew – Douglas, Brian, Brishen. Thanks to JDI – JR, Ashley, Josh and Doug. Jakprints made all the stickers, postcards and napkins possible and Fouhy stepped up to help make things pretty at the end. Until we meet again!

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