TV’s. Most of us have them, in fact, over 115 million American homes have them. But they aren’t too good without content. Sure, there’s cable, but most of what’s on cable is on a set schedule.
Many of us are finding our content online now, using services like YouTube and Netflix. They’re cheaper, and more convenient than cable.
Sure, we love our online content; and we love our TV’s, which are specially placed to be watched from our couches. But how do we get these on our TV?
The Roku 3.
The Roku 3 is a device which aims to combine our love of online content, with the comfort and familiarity of our TV’s. The Roku 3 plugs into a TV, and streams your content via a WiFi connection. Find out more below!
The Roku 3 is a small box. It is rounded and has the ports on the back. There’s really not much to it.
Ports & Connectivity
The Roku 3 has just 4 ports on it. There’s HDMI, Ethernet, and a Power Input on the back, and a USB input on the side.
The USB port accepts standard USB Sticks (FAT32 format) and will play music, video and photo content from the USB Stick. It’s not something I’ve used a lot, but if, for instance, you’ve downloaded films and have them on a USB stick, it’s great being able to play them in 1080p with the Roku, rather than relying on a laptop plugged into HDMI.
Build Quality & Design
The Roku 3 has a really nice design aspect to it. I really like the shape and proportion of the Roku 3 (especially the purple on black) and I think that the remote control fits really nicely too.
The Remote Control
Speaking of the remote control, it follows the same design scheme as the Roku box does, with gloss black plastic and purple highlights. It has directional control, playback control, settings, home and back buttons, as well as A and B buttons designed to be used in games. There’s also a volume rocker on the right hand side, and a headphone jack output on the left. The headphone jack activates “private listening” when headphones are plugged in, meaning that sound is not played through the TV or speaker system but rather headphones through the remote.
Below the HDMI port is a MicroSD card input, which the Roku can either store channels and apps on, or play media from too.
The Roku 3 runs on it’s own OS, unfortunately I couldn’t tell you what it’s called. We can call it Roku OS for now.
Roku OS is very basic. It’s also extremely easy to setup, too. It just works from when you plug it into power, connect to your TV via HDMI, and connect to WiFi. It’s plain & simple, and works well on whatever size TV you have, I’ve tried it on a 24″ and a 40″, with great results on both.
Availability of Channels, Apps and Games
It’s a piece of cake adding channels and apps to the Roku. All it takes is a WiFi connection, and you can add them through the Roku Channel Store. Here you will find a huge selection of games, news channels, written articles, even religion channels. If you can’t find at least a few things you’ll like, then you probably shouldn’t have internet access either.
App interfaces are bad
But, it’s not perfect. There’s something hugely bad about most of these channels, especially the most popular ones. They are all based on the Roku Homepage’s interface. The interface of most apps involves huge thumbnails, and sliding motions. This is horrible. It makes me feel slightly dizzy, sometimes a little bit headache inducing. BUT I can’t put all of the blame on Roku, because it’s up to the people who design the channels to fix this.
Also the keyboard is annoying
As the above subtitle says, the keyboard which you have to use to input text into the Roku, is annoying. It involves using the directional arrow keys to navigate.
But, that’s something I will gladly overlook, because the keyboard is really only required for signing into accounts for Netflix, YouTube and such.
Oh, and if you use the Roku app for iPhone or Android, you can use your phone’s keyboard for the Roku.
But what about the Apple TV?
If you’re trying to compare the Roku 3 and Apple TV, look no further than our own Doug’s comparison video.
The bottom line, I love it. The Roku 3 is a great device, and although it’s got a few minor issues here and there, that doesn’t take away from the user experience.
I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to stream content to their TV.
You can get it for $99 (sometimes less) on Amazon!