Pros + Updated user interface, an RF remote control with a very unique feature
+ Remote - very intuitive and easy to use
+ Interface visually appealing and intuitive
+ Lots of international channels
+ Fast loading apps
Cons - Remote control seems a little cheap
- No YouTube channel
Summary After all my years in the computer industry, its become a very high expectation of mine that hardware and software be easy to setup and get started with. That being said the Roku 3 is the fifth Roku I have personally installed. It is amazing that its ease of setup continues to get ever better. Take it out of the box, peel off the protective plastic, hook up the HDMI cable to your TV or monitor and the back of the Roku 3, connect the power brick and a Ethernet cable and you're done. That's it, you can't complain about 3 cables now can you?Edit:
Unlike many other products, the Roku has no power button, it consumes so little power it really doesn't need one. This means when you are ready to watch a show, there is no waiting. I knew from previous models (Roku 2) to put batteries (included) in the remote prior to going through setup. This ensures the Roku finds the remote and synchs up with it right away. Speaking of the remote, the new Roku 3 remote has an earphone jack built right into it's side. What a great feature, now when sitting in bed you can easily add earphones so as to watch TV without ever bothering the other half. The volume control is handled by two buttons on the opposite side of the remote, just where they should be. It is features like this that demonstrate the folks at Roku actually use their own products and pay close attention to detail. Small things like this really make the experience much more pleasurable.
Once you have powered on, the mostly automatic setup is a breeze and super easy to deal with. Just for the sake of seeing how well it worked, I connected the Roku 3 through both a Ethernet cable and over wireless to my dual Netgear wireless router. Added the Mac: address to the router and had it reserve an IP. Ran the wireless detection and it configured first time through without a hitch. Then I switched the cable for the faster speed over the gigabit network. I can always fall back on the wireless in case something goes bonkers with the cables.
Once the Roku 3 was up and running with my Roku account, it downloaded the new firmware, updated all my channels and I played a game of Angry Birds Space. Love the new remote, really works well for playing games like Angry Birds. As much as I like Angry Birds, it was time to put the Roku to it's best use, watching movies in HD on my 27" monitor. Went straight to Amazon Prime, linked the new Roku to my account and rented SkyFall in full 1080P. The picture was outstanding, not one hiccup or stutter, and no buffering at all, not once. skyfall is a killer movie by the way, I highly recommend it:)
All in all, the Roku 3 is just another prime example of how to do things right. Check out the new interface, search capability, and channel store look and feel, you won't be disappointed. Changing settings has never been easier. With a great new interface which allows you to go right where you need, to change between network types, interface themes, audio modes, time, etc. you'll be watching and playing within minutes of opening the box.
This new Roku is a real pleasure to use, never even looked at the literature that came with it and was watching a new release HD movie in under 15 minutes, and two of those were waiting for the popcorn in the microwave. Next ill try the USB channel with one of my slim drives with all my media, but I have a bunch of movies to catch up on first!
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You can't go wrong with the Roku 3, the best Roku yet, five stars at least!
Updated on Dec 26, 2013
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Pros Over 700 channel applications with everything from movies to TV and everything in between. Apple TV does not even compare to the content this little box contains. Plus a comparable price rage and easier to use.
Cons Some of the channel content costs but the rates are still reasonable
Summary I owned one of the first generation Roku boxes when this first was released and ended up getting rid of it because the content was slim to none. I thought this box would never be able to keep up with the likes of Apple and Vudu. Was I ever wrong. I am a die hard Apple fan and own every type of product from Apple TV to 3 MACs to iPad and iPhones. Apple TV is okay but depending on iTunes for everything and the lack of new content just makes it mediocre in comparison to this. This box is slicker, more streamlines content and a plethora of content from over 700 different channel applications. Plus it is easier to use with a very seamless interface and screens. You can also add channels from your computer and it goes directly on your account. The channel lineup is awesome, everything from movies and TV channels to outdoor and fitness, technology, news, internet TV and exclusive content channels. Plus with Netflix, Amazon Prime (Apple has yet to add this), Hulu and Epix and HBOGo and Blockbuster Video, it blows away the movie content on Apple. I never thought I would knock an Apple product, but Apple TV has never been the greatest. Don't get me wrong, I will never get rid of my Apple TV due to the sync with iTunes, but I will not use it as much for downloading on demand movies. Plus Roku boxes never shut off or sleep and having to put Apple TV to sleep so it doesn't burn up is a royal pain. Do yourself a favor and buy this box, it is reasonably priced and uses less power than a nightlight. Very happy with this purchase!
Pros Dual Band wireless , plays games , 1000's of channels plus private ones , steam content from my computer to Roku , can play Youtube through 3rd party apps , Micro Sd slot , USB Slot ,Full HD ,Headphone jack on remote and so much more ,LOVE IT !!!
Cons There is none and I can't for life of me figure out why people say that the video quality on ROKU is bad because I have never had that problem ,Maybe it's because I have Comcast High Speed which can run a ton of stuff on many devices without issue?
Summary Apple TV is not flexible and is not open so your limited on your apps.If your like me and want the best bang for your buck then Roku 3 is the device for you and I can also tell you that Playon is one of the best Apps for it,because they add content like Roku does,but all running through your computer so now you can watch youtube,ABC,NBC,CBS,History,NFl,OWN.TLC and a ton more from your Roku,on top of that bulit within Playon it will let you watch Movies,Pics and more on your Roku. Works perfect! Love it !
Pros I now have more channels for free than i ever had with cable tv and programs that i want to watch..Also the plex feature lets me queue you-tube songs and movies for free! I can use any tv outside and use the wireless mode also without a cable!
Cons You must have an internet connection of some kind to setup the roku! Also you need a credit card or paypal! But that is not a problem, just go to walmart and get a prepaid debit card for $20 dollars! Problem now is i cant get the remote from MY WIFE!
Summary I am saving $182 dollars a month and i dont have cable tv cable phone or cable internet..I just use my Iphone with twonky to interface with the roku3 for free..Cost OF ROKU3 one time payment $99 dollars free shipping and i dont use netflix or huluplus or amazon for video and movies ..I find them free on the net...I do have a iphone payment with shared services with other relatives for $25 a month! Im retired so im on a fixed income! So i can afford $25 a month for free tv and now you can also! Barry Allen VT
Pros Lots of available channels. Nice interface.
Cons Video quality poor on many channels. Most channels are of no interest.
Summary I bought my TV, a Panasonic TC-P60ST60, largely on the strength of CNET's review, and I couldn't be more pleased. Picture quality is everything it's cracked up to be, which makes Roku 3's disappointing performance in this area all the more painful. I think you would be doing your readers (some of them, at least) a service by having your TV reviewers comment of the video performance of streaming boxes. I've now done some searching (belatedly, alas) and found that in virtually all comparisons of the Roku 3 with Apple TV, even those who choose Roku based on available channels and other features rate Apple TV's video quality as superior.