So you have decided that you want to invest in a transmission box. 7 Questions to ask before buying a digital media player. 7 Questions to ask before buying a digital media player. If you're thinking of buying your first digital media player (aka streaming). device), these questions will help you avoid making serious mistakes. Read More Chromecast vs. AppleTV vs. Roku:Which Media Streamer Is Right For You? Media streaming devices are simply awesome. Those little boxes that plug into your TV can add a host of entertainment options to your living room. But which device is best for you? Read More But how do you know which one to buy?
Is not easy; Since its launch in 2008, Roku has released 24 different set-top boxes and streaming sticks. Some of them added major improvements, while others only offered incremental updates. A quick look at the Roku Wikipedia page will reveal just how diverse the features are.
The current offering is divided into five products:the Roku Streaming Stick and the Roku 1, 2, 3, and 4. This article looks at what each product can offer and tries to determine which one is right for you.
(Note: Before we dive into the details, it's important to clarify one thing:Your TV's GUI will be identical no matter which option you choose:A more expensive box won't unlock more channels than Roku's 20 Private Channels that you should install. right now 20 private Roku channels you need to install now. Here's how to add private channels to your Roku, along with some of the best Roku private channels you can install right now. Read More
Cost:$49.99 / £29
The Streaming Stick is Roku's entry-level offering and goes hand-in-hand with Google's Chromecast vs. Android TV Stick. What should you buy? Google Chromecast vs Android TV Stick - Which Should You Buy? What exactly is the difference between a Google Chromecast and a generic stick for Android Mini PC? Read more on the market.
Unlike the rest of the Roku products, this is not a set-top box. Rather, it resembles a USB stick that plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port. Power is supplied from a USB port on your own TV or from a wall outlet. This makes it ideal if you're short on shelf space or have a wall-mounted TV.
It's $10 more expensive than the Chromecast, but it comes with a remote. Only you can decide if the trade-off is worth it (although it does have some extra features that Chromecast lacks, like Miracast What is Miracast? How to use Miracast for wireless media streaming What is Miracast? How to use Miracast for wireless media Streaming HDMI may be the standard for connecting media devices, but it has many drawbacks.Here's how to use Miracast Read More and an on-screen GUI.
If you've never experienced a more expensive Roku product, it might seem perfect, but drawbacks include a slower processor, lack of Ethernet ports (for wired connectivity), and USB ports (for viewing local media). The USB port problem can be denied when installing Plex. And this is the only guide to getting started with Plex that you will ever need to read. Read More
Cost:$129.99 / £190
At the other end of the scale is the Roku 4. It's Roku's premium product and only launched in late 2015. It's not yet available in many markets, including the UK.
This is hands down the best streaming box on the market today, leaving rival products like Apple TV and Amazon Fire in the dust.
Its biggest selling point is its support for 4K Ultra HD. 4K TVs are still a relatively new phenomenon. Why buying a 4K TV right now is a waste of money. Why buying a 4K TV right now is a waste of money. With an obvious price difference between the new generation of 4K TVs and the old Full HD models. - Do you really need 4K? We think not, and here's why. Read More
Because it comes preloaded with Roku OS7 and ships with the new, improved remote, it comes with a few other neat features as well. For example, it includes a tool called “My Feed,” which will notify you when new content for your favorite shows is available, you can use the remote to search for shows and movies by voice, and it has a remote search function:just press a button. button on the box and your remote will sound an alert.
Lastly, it is also the company's first release to include an optical audio output connection. If you use a soundbar or other audio receiver, this is a big plus.
Roku 1 Cost:$49.99 / £42
Roku 2 Cost:$69.99 / £54
Roku 3 Cost:$99.99 / £49
Take my advice and don't buy a Roku 1. It's almost three years old and starting to show its age. For the same price, the Streaming Stick is a much better option.
Unlike the stick, the Roku 1 doesn't offer Miracast, uses older Wi-Fi technology, doesn't have the latest Netflix app that supports user profiles, and doesn't let you mirror your smartphone's screen How to mirror your Android screen to a PC or Mac without Root How to Mirror Your Android Screen to a PC or Mac Without Root Do you want to mirror your Android screen to a PC or Mac? Here is a free and easy way to share your Android screen on your computer. Read more . Its only advantage is that it offers old school A/V cables, so if you have a very old TV that doesn't have an HDMI port, it will work.
But what about the Roku 2 and 3?
Many people don't realize that hardware-wise these products are now identical; both received a makeover in April 2015.
Both weigh five ounces and have dimensions of 3.5" x 3.5" x 1". Both offer 1080p HD support, boast the same 900 MHz, and include Ethernet, USB, and microSD ports.
So what's the difference?
It all comes down to the remote. The Roku 3 remote comes with a headphone jack for private listening, a microphone for voice search, and motion control for gaming. Thanks to Wi-Fi Direct, it's also "point anywhere" instead of infrared.
Of course, the recently updated Roku smartphone app (Android, iOS) also enables voice search, and if you use the Streaming Stick together with the app, you can also enjoy private listening.
Are remote features worth an extra $30? Only you can decide.
Despite the seemingly confusing options, it's surprisingly easy to come to a conclusion:
What if you already have a Roku 2/3? Should you upgrade to a Roku 4? Personally, I don't think it offers enough improvements over the Roku 2/3 to justify upgrading, but I might think otherwise.
Am I still confused? Head over to the Roku website for a side-by-side comparison of what each product has to offer.
Which Roku do you have? What do you like about it compared to the other Roku offerings? What one thing do you want the company to change? As always, you can let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!