Amazon Review by Cthulhu
5200 people found the following review helpful
New models available
UPDATE: November 20, 2015
Wow, these are coming fast and furious. Roku 4 is now here, It’s more expensive but it’s probably worth it because it adds lots of new capabilities: 4K Ultra HD support, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, even a feature to locate a lost remote.
UPDATE: April 6, 2015
Please be aware that Roku released a new Roku 3 model that adds voice search among other things so make sure you are getting the ‘latest and greatest’ when you place your order. I was able to get the new one from Roku’s own site but I’m sure Amazon will have them soon.
What follows is my 2013 review. This is where the NEW model is listed: New Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4230R) With Voice Search
For anyone new to the Roku world, I would recommend the Roku 3 over any other previous models mainly on it being so much faster to operate. If ‘cost’ is an issue and 720p only is not a bother then the LT should be a great pick for half the price.
True for all Roku models: there’s an enormous amount of channels to choose from, including most popular ones. And if there’s something that you can’t find in the official store you can always check the private channel listings (I included the URL of my favorite site) which is where I found things such as streaming CNN, CNN International and BBC World.
The streaming is exceptionally smooth. Quite impressive considering that I set this Roku on the second floor, some 60-70 ft. and two floors away from our Wi-Fi router located in the basement.
This model especially, due to the more powerful processor is easy to operate through Roku’s very basic remote control.
Roku 3 and all Rokus are stable. I didn’t have the Roku 3 for too long (will update) but my experience with a Roku LT was that it almost never crashes and I only had to manually reconnect to my Wi-Fi router once over a 6-months period.
The ‘universal search’ feature is quite amazing. You simply type in the name of a movie or show even an actor and you will see all you options on all channels and you will know in advance whether it’s going to be free or exactly how much it was going to cost. On the Roku 3 all information appears almost instantly.
I will try to keep this section as objective (factual) as possible.
Q: Why would I want a Roku?
A: Roku has, by far, the largest number of ‘channels’ vs. any other competing product. If you like exploring content beyond the popular services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) you should consider a Roku?
Q: Why would I want a Roku 3?
A: When compared to previous models, this one has a much faster processor, 5 times faster. The faster processor allows you to quickly navigate the new and much improved user interface but if ‘speed’ is not an issue, the new interface will appear on the older models by April, 2013. This model also adds a ‘private listening’ capability through a provided pair of headphones that plug directly into the remote control. In addition it supports Dual-band wireless for faster streaming when connected to a router that supports the feature and has a USB port.
Q: When I shouldn’t pick a Roku 3 over other Roku models?
A: Roku 3 does not support ‘standard’ (non HD) TVs but earlier models do. You should select a ‘lesser’ model such as the Roku LT when price is the issue and/or your HD TV is limited to 720p and ‘speed’ is not an issue.
Q: What can I play through the USB port?
A: Video: MP4 (H.264), MKV (H.264); Audio: AAC, MP3; Image: JPG, PNG.
Q: Is the Roku 3 expandable?
A: Yes. There a MicroSD slot for additional game and channel storage memory.
Q: Can I use a Roku 3 with any TV lacking an HDMI port?
Q: What are the best screen resolution and audio supported by Roku 3?
A: 1080p, 7.1/5.1 surround sound.
Q: Is the Roku 3 energy efficient?
A: According to Roku, typical power consumption is 3.5W when streaming HD video.
Q: How do I connect a Roku 3 to the Internet?
A: You can do it wither via Wi-Fi or through the wired Ethernet port. Technically speaking: 802.11 dual-band (a/b/g/n compatible) with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 support (wireless) and 10/100 Base-T Ethernet for the wired connection.
Q: What is not included but I must have to make my Roku 3 work besides a TV and an Internet router?
A: An HDMI cable.
Q: Can I control the Roku 3 with a universal remote?
Q: Do I need line of site to control the Roku 3?
A: No if you use Roku’s own remote, yes if you use a universal remote control.
Q: Can I play games on the Roku 3?
A: Yes, it comes with Angry Birds Space preloaded and you may add more games from the store.
Q: Are the Roku channels free?
A: Many of them are but Roku also streams ‘premium’ channels for which you will require a separate subscription.
Q: What are private channels.
A: These are channels that, for whatever reason, are not listed by the channel store. You can easily make them ‘appear’ on your TV by picking them from one of the sites that lists such channels. See the first comment to this review for the URLs of such sites.
Q: How much it costs to use a Roku?
A: Once purchased, it could cost you nothing. Or you may subscribe to one or more premium services.
Q: Can I have more than one Roku tied to one account?
Q: Can I search for a specific movie or show across all of Roku’s channel?
A: Yes, you can. Even better, Roku will not only tell you which channel carries it but you will know in advance if it will cost you and how much it will cost to view or ‘rent’ it. You can also search for other related information such as movies featuring one specific actor.
Q: Can I watch YouTube on the Roku?
A: Yes, a YouTube channel was launched on December 17, 2013.
Q: Can I get live news channels on the Roku?
A: Yes. You may be able to find such channels at the store or as private channels listings but most US ‘mainstream’ news channels only offer a selection of recent on-demand videos. [I have a link to a listing of ‘Roku channels that contain at least one live TV feed’ on the comments section, the FIRST comment to this review. Be aware that the listing may not be complete, that some of the channels are ‘premium’ and that some of them may drop live streams.
Q: Are non-video streams supported?
A: Yes, radio stations and music streaming channels such as Pandora are supported.
The YouTube channel became available for the US, Canada and Ireland in December 2013.