Hi, should the roku player be able to connect to my ad-hoc network?
I don't have much personal experience with MS-Windows based "ad-hock" networks, but my understanding is that few devices (other than MS-Windows computers) can reliably connect to them (unlike normal server based wireless networks, which many devices can connect to).
So I wouldn't be surprised at all if the NetFlix Player (apparently a Linux based device) expects a normal network, and not some Windows "ad-hock" hack of a partial network. Mind you I don't know for a fact that it won't work (someone from ROKU tech would have to answer that question), but (based upon what little I do know about MS-Windows ad-hock networking) I would personally be surprised if it did work.
Why set things up that way? IMHO your arrangement has several (avoidable) disadvantages:
I have a Windows 2000 laptop directly connected to a cable modem, and a wireless card in the laptop which is distributing that connection using Windows connection sharing.
1) The Windows 2000 laptop is directly connected to the internet (via the cable modem). This means that the software firewall and anti-virus on that box are pretty much the only defenses against being taken over from some internet "hacker".
2) The Windows 2000 laptop has to be on for you to have any other connection up (wireless or otherwise).
3) Windows connection sharing is an iffy router at the best of times (and virtually unusable at the worst of times), and has been reported to cause all sorts of connection problems for devices behind such an internet connection.
So why not do things "the right way" and run your cable modem into a router, and then run the other devices (including the laptop) from that router? Even wireless routers can be had for under $50 these days, and wired routers are even cheaper. The advantages of this approach are:
a) The router's firewall will provide your computers (and internet devices such as the NetFlix Player) with at least some protection against internet attacks (beyond any protection on the computers themselves).
b) You only need to keep the modem and router up 24/7 (for your network to work), you don't necessarily need to keep the laptop always powered on.
and perhaps most importantly:
c) Networking is usually much more reliable with a semi-decent router (even a fairly cheap one) sharing the connection, than it is with the built in Windows connection sharing software.
NOTE: Most "wireless routers" have a few (often 4) ethernet jacks for your LAN in addition to the wireless interface. So with most such routers, you can continue to use wired ethernet to your laptop, if that is your wish. Heck, if your TV is somewhat near your cable modem, you could even use wired ethernet (from the router) to the NetFlix Player, thereby avoiding all the problems that can occur with wireless.