The Roku 3 is a media streamer which enables you to stream music and video from the internet directly to your TV. You have quite a wide variety of choice from catch-up services to games. Roku 3 aims to set the new standard in streaming services.
The main box is a lot smaller than I thought it would be measuring just 1.0 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches (Height x Width x Depth) and weighing just 5-ounces. This means it can sit nicely besides your TV and not affect your viewing experience or look out of place. The device itself is finished in a glossy black with nicely rounded off edges to make it flow. On the top you’ll find the number three lasered on to indicate that it is indeed the 3rd generation Roku.
Moving around to the back of the device you’ll find an array of ports and connections including the power input, a small reset button, Ethernet, HDMI out and a Micro SD card slot. Just round the corner from these you will also find a standard USB slot which enables you to playback media from a USB drive, although the supported formats are restricted to the following: Video – MP4 (H.264), MKV (H.264), Audio – AAC, MP3 and Image – JPG, PNG. Unfortunately you cannot stream from other media devices on your network such as NAS, but downloading the Plex app will allow you to stream from your PC using a Plex server.
Setting up the Roku is a relatively easy process although a little long winded if you’ve not got a Roku account. I ran into a few problems but I think this was due to how my wireless network is currently set-up. Simply hook up the power and HDMI cables and switch it on and you’ll instantly see the Roku logo appear on your TV. Be aware that you must have a Roku account set-up else it’ll prompt you to create one before you go any further. You’ll then have to link your account and the device using a 4-digit code you’re given on the website. Once you’ve done this you’ll be happy to see the homepage appear on your screen and you can begin downloading your favourite channels. You’ll also be able to set the video output between 480p, 720p and 1080p all over the HDMI.
Browsing the array of channels is made easier through a list of categories off to the left hand-side including the most popular and top paid. There is a nice array of free channels, paid channels and also games including the popular Angry Birds and Pac-Man. One thing which was pretty annoying though is that some channels such as Netflix are shown as ‘free’ whereas we all know that it requires a paid subscription.
Whats in the box:
– Roku 3 Streaming Player
– Remote Control with headphone jack
– In-ear headphones
– 2 x AA batteries
– A/C power adapter
Your channels are displayed as tiles on the screen and it’s incredibly easy to use and find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. The whole UI is high quality and looks very crisp and clean. One function I looked for was a search bar which I couldn’t find, although it wasn’t actually a huge problem thanks to the different categories being extremely easy to navigate. Not unlike Windows 8, you can so to speak ‘group’ the channels together e.g. if you want to display all of your movie channels together then you can do so by hitting the * (asterisk) button on the remote.
One major difference on the remote for the Roku 3 is that located on the side you will find a headphone port. This enables you to sit on the sofa yet still use headphones with the device and not have a huge cable trailing along the floor from the TV. When you plug in the headphones to the remote your TV will mute, and once you unplug the headphones your TV will begin playing the audio again. The remote also doubles up as a motion controller a bit like a Wii remote which is great for playing games such as Angry Birds.
The Roku 3 contains a nice selection of channels available to download including BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, Sky News, Netflix although one major channel we thought should have been present was LOVEFiLM. Also missing is ITV Player and although it’s only 2 channels that you’re missing out on we feel this may be enough for some people to look elsewhere, especially the absence of LOVEFiLM.
The Roku 3 will set you back just short of £100, so do we think it’s worth the money? Absolutely, and it’s definitely worth checking out over at their website.Order from Amazon