REVIEW ***Roku Media Players***
So Roku sent me over a Roku Stick and Roku 3 Media player and I finally had time over the weekend to set them up… OK simply put due to my ongoing hand injury I have been delayed in getting a few reviews done. One of these were the ROKU media players that were sent over by the brilliant team over there in ROKU UK.
So what did I get, in short the new ROKU usb media stick (Think Amazon Fire Stick) and the new ROKU 3 media player, rival to Apple TV. First up the Media Stick. Now again before we begin this is not a review on every tech spec these units have, rather a user experience review and if these are any good for the purpose of watching streaming media.
So first up as i said the ROKU USB Media stick. This is a small usb device that is about the size of a USB memory stick from 5-7yrs back. So what’s in the box, in short very little aside from a quick start guide and warranty book you get the Purple moulded plastic with a HDMI and micro usb port on the back, remote control, plug, usb cable, duracell batteries (always impressed with a decent branded set of batteries and not a made china variant, its the little things..).
To state these are simple to set up is not even close. Plug and play for the most part. I would say that before you begin sit down at a desktop or laptop and set up a ROKU account through ROKU.com do not do this during the set up phase, doing this you will be asked for credit card/debit card information so it can remove funds for paid for content. However for the most part content is 100% free. Helping me was Liam my 6yr old he unboxed the device and help holding the remote and asking every 5 seconds ” Can i turn it on now?“. Step one plug it into the TV via your HDMI port, power comes the usb cable that hooked back into the USB port on the TV so all nice and tidy. Once I had followed the onscreen set up, hooked into the wifi (2.4ghz only) logged in and the device updated, it rebooted a couple of times and we were ready to try it out.
First thing to hook up was the Netflix app, downloaded, logged in and was watching Captain America – The First Avenger within a couple of mins. Next up was Plex. I have a shed load of films on my desktop machine running a plex app. This set up was a little longer but not really that painful. Plex on the device was trying to connect but advised i was running an out of date version. So down to the PC, update plex and then update the library of films.
Nip back upstairs and try again, instant success, my library of films was there complete with cover art. First film to check was “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?” and again over WIFI it was perfect. no stutter, no playback issues no sound issues.
Given Dylan likes radio i installed the TuneIn radio app and he was able to listen to 98FM in Dublin and TodayFM so he was delighted with that. Youtube and Angry birds followed and again, installed in seconds and running with no issues at all. In short if you are looking for a cheap effect and reliable way to run Netflix and watch you home library wireless then this is your best option. Highly recommended for anyone, for a novice non geeky/tech-head this is a dream to set up and run.
Now we move down stairs into the left wing of the family mansion ( joking). We decided that as we are on a roll we need to tackle the ROKU3 – Liam again with the unboxing and it reveals the following:-
- Remote control
- ROKU3 box
- Duracell Batteries
- Plug with various EU/US/UK adapters
- QSG guide
- Headphones – for use on the remote handset
The remote and media player both have the distinctive ROKU label attached which i think ads a little class to the hardware, on the rear of the media player we have the power socket, network port, hdmi port, on the front is a very small white LED to indicate the thing is on. With with device connected to power and HDM which was previously attached to a WDTV live media box we were ready.
On went the power, nice little tuned intro displays, I again set up to the WIFI but this time on my 5ghz option which it took no problem. Then signed into the ROKU account, updated to the firmware, rebooted and as we had signed into the account upstairs it took this and install the apps that were on the media stick so no need to go hunting in the app store again, BRILLIANT. We added WWE network this time and signed into this and again with in mins we had streaming WWE attitude era content of Stone cold Steve austin being run over by Triple H. Netflix, working, Angry Birds game, installed and working, This went down a hit with Liam once he sussed the controls. Plex again no problem installing and setting up, to be honest this was a much quicker set up than the media stick.
One of the big benefits was the noticeable increase in processor power both over the media stick and over the WDTV Live. The menu and options zipped by with little to no delay. In fact it really puts the WDTV to shame as this is just a slow clunky media box that always drew frustration when using.
One of the more cool features is the ability to use the supplied headphones or your own set hooked up to the remote and then you have the option to watch late night movies with out waking the family up with scenes from Terminator or whatever action film you like. to be fair the supplied headphone are not the best, they will do but you will soon upgrade and then it really comes into its own.
Back to the ROKU3 is this device worth £100 – yes – I think so, it runs like a dream, is simple to setup and use, and will last for a long time running streaming media from all over the place. If the wife or kids dropped one of the above on me for Xmas i would be delighted.
Buy the ROKU Media click the below image £42 :-
Buy the ROKU 3 Media player – click below image £99:-
Both units supplied by the team at ROKU for review and many thanks to Mike @ ROKU and Chris @ PR International