Gilgamesh wrote:1. Is there a good online source for inexpensive audio books.
As others have mentioned, librivox and public libraries are great. Librivox is great for public domain audiobooks and libraries usually have audiobooks in their collections, borrowing agreements with other libraries outside of their system, and/or online audiobook collections (like Overdrive or Netlibrary). A lot of big city libraries also let out-of-towners use their service, you usually just have to get down there to get a card.
Gilgamesh wrote:2. Is there anything to watch out for as far as format or size for those that are downloadable.
For the roku: No ogg or flac. No DRMed (Digital Rights Management) stuff either, I think. That would mean that a lot of the online library stuff can't be played on the roku (DRM); they will, however, usually play on computers and mp3 players just fine. In general, MP3s and wma are the way to go. Now, if he wants to rip the library audiobook CDs...well that's between him and the god of copyright.
Gilgamesh wrote:3. What is a good, simple, and easy to use method (hardware and/or software)for him to transfer his cassette collection to a format that something like Roksbox can use.
Oy, that one is out of my league.
Gilgamesh wrote:4. Are any of the audio chs more suitable for this or is there an audio service like Netflix.
There's no audiobook channel, as far as I know. However, there are two ways (that I can think of) to get audiobooks onto the roku box:
1. Download (or rip) the files and serve it up via one of the local media channels (MyMedia, roksbox, Chaneru, etc)
2. Use the Mediafly or Sunimi channel to play audio podcasts on the roku.
-Mediafly and Sunimi both have rss audio/video podcast "channel" creators. Librivox has rss feeds for all it's books (as far as I can tell). So, all that would be needed is an account (free for both) and the ability to copy & paste the rss/xml links onto the MediaFly or Sunimi site. The books then show up in the Mediafly or Sunimi channels with all the chapters ready to go.
Gilgamesh wrote:5. Since he wants the video part I think that the Roku is a good choice but is there another device, in a similar price range, that would do the job better.
I can't really think of anything better, but to be honest I haven't really tried anything else.
Gilgamesh wrote:6. Any other questions I forgot to ask.
Half.com is a good place to get used audiobooks. It's owned by ebay, but it's not an auction site. People post their used media with prices. You can get good deals on there.
There are also some audiobook rental sites (simplyaudiobooks, audiobookworm, audiotogo, and probably more). I've never used any of them, so I can't offer and opinion of the services.