Roku 3 review A fresh voice improves the best search in streamingroku 3
Meanwhile Amazons Fire TV intece seems to do its best to hide nonAmazon apps, and Android TV on devices like theNvidia Shieldcomes off little more than a vehicle for Google content. The Apple TVs intece is almost as customizable as Rokus, however.
The Stick is our new number one recommendation because its just as st and the others and offers all of the basic Roku goodness. But if you dont mind spending more, the Roku 3s voice search andheadphonejack for private listening might be worth it. Both of those extras are available on the Stick too, but you have to use Rokus phone or let app instead of the remote.
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Theres nothing much to say about the Roku 3 box itself. Its tiny, black, glossy, and like all of its kind will sit silently in your entertainment center without requiring any further attention from you. I have a sneaking suspicion its exactly the same inside as the Roku .
Thats why the Roku 3 is now our secondvorite Roku overall, and Stick is our goto pick for most people.
Discuss Roku 3 review A fresh voice improves the best search in streaming
There are a couple of shortlls in that agnosticism. By deult the main menu s a trio of branded options Movie Store, TV Store both by MGo and News by AOL On but if you want to remove them entirely, you can via the Home screen menu under Settings. You cant remove the appspecific buttons on the remote, nor the ad to the right of the home screen, but those are minor intrusions.
The best part about Roku, and a major reason Ive used it for years at home and recommend it to everyone most recently in TVs, is the user experience. Most streaming boxes today have most of the apps and features you want, they work very well and are more or less affordable to anyone who pays for broadband Internet. So the difference comes down to how they feel to use every day.
Theres also a feature that shows the most popular TV shows and movies across all of the services Roku searches, updated four times a day. Its a great way to find new things to watch, although I do wish there were a Show only stuff I can watch for free option.
And if you really want to use a dedicated remote instead of an app for those features, you can actually buy one from Rokus site currently 3, pair it with the Stick and it works perfectly. Its actually cheaper to do that than buy a Roku 3. The Roku 3 does offer one extra not found on the Sticka wired Ethernet connectionso if your WiFi is spotty, you might need to get the box anyway. That said, most WiFi networks should be fine for streaming.
The rollypolly, sausagelike remote is stuffed with extras. Its much chunkier and looks a bit dated dated next to theAmazon Fire TV,Apple TVandGoogle Nexus Playerremotes, but still feels natural in the hand.
Roku 3s remotebased voice search is the same thing Amazon Fire TV and Google Nexus Player have had since launch, and Apple TV added with Siri. Just press the button on the remote, wait for the onscreen prompt, and talk.
Heres where I remind you again that Roku is selling the Roku Enhanced Remote with Voice Search on its site for 3, and it pairs and works very well with the new Roku Streaming Stick. Since the total for the two devices is less than the cost of an actual Roku 3, the only real reason to get a Roku 3 is if you want both the remote and the Ethernet connection.
Update April , This review has been updated, and its rating reduced, based on the release of the Roku Streaming Stick.
Of course, unlike Apple Roku also has an Amazon Instant Video app and one for Google Play Movies and TV, and Im sure if Apple wanted to create an iTunes app, Roku would offer it.
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Another neat extra on Rokus software across all of its devices is Roku Feed. If you want to watch a new movie thats not yet available to stream on a Roku channel for example, a film in theaters today you can follow it by adding it to your feed. You can check the feed for updates and youll receive a notification for when the movie is available to stream, and how much it costs. If the price or availability changes, youll be notified again.
Competing against Apple, Amazon and Google isnt easy. Just ask Microsoft, Barnes Noble and Yahoo. In the streaming device market, however, a company called Roku has managed to not just compete against the big boys, but win. Roku remainsour top recommendationamong streaming devices.
The BadThe cheaper Streaming Stick is just as st as Roku 3 and offers all of Rokus platform advantages, and you can add the voicesearch and headphone jack remote for 3 more. The Fire TV offers a wider list of games.
The Roku 3 also responds to IR commands so you can use it with mostuniversal remotes. But if youre planning to use a universal remote anyway and keep the Roku 3s remote in a drawer, you should just buy the new Roku or the Stick, if you have a compatible universal remote like theHarmony Home Control.
Exceptions included Kingsman The Secret Service and Vanessa Hudgens, both of which Fire TV and Android TV recognized but Roku did not; Guardians of the Galaxy, which Fire TV iled to recognize; Birdman, which only Fire TV recognized correctly Rokus result Man is not a bird, Googles burnin; Jared Leto, who stumped Android TV; Mila Kunis flummoxed Fire TV; and Ben Affleck, who Roku recognized correctly the first time, but hilariously rendered as Ben AFLAC complete with caps! on the subsequent attempt.
In my voice recognition tests all three devices red pretty much equally well. I spoke the titles of 3 of the most popular TV shows, movies and actors/actresses into each remote and almost all of them were correctly recognized on the first try by all three devices, and relatively quickly. Searches for app names were also recognized.
Its a clever approach to the confusion of release windows, where a movie becomes available during different times to different outlets theaters, disc, streaming, cable VOD, etc. and for various prices. Its also a feature no other device offers, and further leverages Rokus agnostic approach. Feeds will start with Movies Coming Soon, but Roku intends to add other kinds of windowed content in the future.
The return button on previous remotesnot to be confused with the much more useful back buttonhas been replaced by a little magnifying glass that summons the voice search dialog. Otherwise the buttons are basically the same.
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Video streams are more popular than ever and growing into a mighty river. And Roku delivers nearly all of the key online streaming services out there including such musthaves as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Watch ESPN, HBO, Showtime andSling TV but the company doesnt want to mess with formula that got it to the top in the first place simplicity, great search, and a level playing field for all apps.
The Bottom LineVoice search makes the Roku 3 the best video streamer in its price class, but its no longer as good a value as the Streaming Stick.
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Like those clickers, and unlike the more basic remote found on the new Roku , the Roku 3s remote uses WiFi Direct so it doesnt require lineofsight to operate. You can stash your Roku 3 pretty much anywhere in your system, and point the remote anywhere, and it works fine.
With that level of success I think most people will find voice search useful on any of these devices, the key differentiator not correct recognition, but in how the results are presented. Thats where Rokus search, both and voice, shines.
The Roku 3 has an updated remote with voice search, which works very well; as well as the unique headphone jack for private listening. The Roku platform delivers more apps than competitors, constant updates and doesnt vor one content provider over others. Its intece is lightningquick, fully customizable and dead to use. Search is the best on the market, hitting numerous services and arranging results by price.
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So, in the spirit of if it aintbroku, dont fix it, in Rokuadded voice searchto its top streaming box, the Roku 3. It also removed a couple of features from its secondbest box, the Roku , while turbocharging its response time. Then in it released a newStreaming Stick, which costs just .
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Roku doesnt sell content yet, so unlike Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and the Google Nexus Player, its intece doesnt prioritize any source of content over another. Its contentagnostic, and the difference manifests in many ways. One is that you can customize Rokus intece to suce the apps you want and actually subscribe to, or prefer to buy content on and remove the ones you dont care about. Much like a smartphone, Roku lets you move any app tile you want anywhere on the Home , and remove any you dont use.
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The Apple TV K remains the best streamer you can buy, as long as you dont mind the price.
Roku kept the A/B keys for gaming, although the selection of games is strictly casual compared to Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. Volume controls to the side effect the headphone output only. I like the ability to instantly launch Netflix and Hulu Plus, but I found the buttons for services to which I didnt subscribe irksome and a rare departure from Rokus contentagnostic ethos. Another annoyance is the main OK keys unconventional placement better below the fourway cursor, rather than in its midst.