• Friday, March 11, 2016

    Roku 3 Review best video streamer in its price class

    Roku 3 Review best video streamer in its price class
    Roku 3 Review best video streamer in its price class

    Compete with Apple, Amazon and Google is not easy. Microsoft, Barnes & Noble and Yahoo know something. Yet the market for streaming video boxes, Roku has not only managed to cope with the heavy weight but also to prevail at least in the United States. In a highly competitive market, Roku has dominated sales in 2014 and the Roku 3 remains our preferred device. Simplicity and excellent search engine are part of the winning recipe that Roku has tried not to mess with her vintage Roku 3, 2015. The main change is the addition of voice search. In France, the case is available at around 120 euros.

    The main specific features Roku 3 are in the remote: voice search, headphone jack, Wi-Fi multi-directional control. Certainly more valuable but not essential and you can spend you if you want to spend less, opting for the Roku 2 just as powerful as its big brother.

    Everything is in the remote

    There is little to say about the Roku box 3 itself. It is small, dark and shiny like its predecessors, it will fit in your living room without requiring more attention from you once connected. The remote is a little more bulbous than its rivals Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google Nexus Player, but it is well in hand. It works via Wi-Fi Direct. It is therefore unnecessary to point to the case for use, which is very convenient.

    The A / B buttons are always programmed for the same game if the supply remains fairly basic compared to the Fire TV and Android TV. It has four pre-programmed buttons for direct access to YouTube, Netflix, Google Play and Rdio. Convenient for subscribers, but a little annoying for others. The location of the OK button just under the cross rather than the center is also misguided. The Roku 3 is also compatible with infrared signals, so it can be controlled from most universal remotes. Roku 3's remote control also has a headphone audio output. We will return later.

    An impartial housing

    The Roku 3 is distinguished by its user experience. If you had only one reason to justify its purchase, this would be it. Unlike the Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV and Google alternative, the Roku service is not tied to a content provider. Its interface does not seek to put forward a more than another service. This impartiality is found in various ways. First, it can itself define the hierarchy of content that you want to appear. As a smartphone, Roku allows configuration and application shortcuts on the home page and delete those unnecessary us.

    By default, the main menu displays several content partners, which can be off by going to the settings. Cannot however remove the application buttons on the remote control or advertising that appears in the upper right corner of the screen. But these intrusions are minimal when compared to other systems that do. The Fire TV strives not to display applications that do not come from Amazon and Apple TV allows you to move and hide chains except those of the Apple brand. The interface Roku puts everyone on an equal footing.

    Voice Search

    The voice search feature from the remote control is similar to that offered by some competitors like the Fire TV. You press a button and it comes when one is asked to do on the screen. During our test, the voice search worked satisfactorily. We quoted thirty sets of songs, movies, actors and actresses who have almost all been recognized at first. Same for applications. With this level of reliability, we can say that Voice Search is a real utility.

    Voice search covers all the services supported by the text search while the Fire TV and Android TV appear more limited. For example, they omit both the results from Netflix. The fact that Roku takes into account the paid services can save you money. Indeed, if you subscribe to one or more streaming services like Netflix, available movies appear in the "Free" section, which avoids buying them so that you can enjoy for free.

    Lightning fast

    Roku is damn fast. In our speed tests the new and the old version of Roku Roku 2 and 3 showed the same reactivity in response to pressure from buttons, launching and navigating through applications, menus and display of results research. They beat hands down any TV, STB or connected player, not to mention smartphones.

    The Fire TV has shown a little more ready to launch the Amazon content, but Roku is fast enough for the same operation. The Roku 3 is still faster than previous versions in terms of navigation and application launching. We timed the Roku 2 and 12 seconds to run against Netflix Roku 2 seconds to 3.


    The Streaming devices are now mature enough to provide all the necessary features. However, TV boxes have an advantage over dongles in terms of connectivity, including the presence of an Ethernet port.

    All listed models have a mobile application for Android and iOS. All offer voice and text search and can substitute for the remote if by chance you do not have it on hand. The Roku app was updated to integrate news feeds, but curiously there is no notification system and must manually check for new developments. The Roku Media Player is much improved and works very well to access music, photos and videos stored locally.

    The private listening

    The Roku 3 remote control is equipped with a mini-jack audio jack where you can plug in headphones or earphones supplied in the box. One can thus enjoy its programs without disturbing his family. TV sound off automatically. It is possible to move away from a couple of meters of the case before the link starts to act up. This private listening function is not available on the Roku 2 is probably one of the best reasons to upgrade to version 3.

    The diffusion screen: Limited but effective

    The function that advertises the screen of his smartphone, tablet PC or on the TV is performing unevenly according housings. Our preferred system is Apple's AirPlay works with more consistency and on almost any brand of device. The Google Cast option is also very good. It is now found in many applications and devices running Android and iOS as well as on computers using Chrome as a browser. However, this method of distribution is more limited on the Roku and Fire TV. For the first, you must have a terminal Android 4.2.2 minimum or a computer running Windows 8.1 or later. That said, the system works fine. Note that it is also available on the new Roku 2. For music, the distribution will be done with the content stored in the device. The application also allows to view photos on the TV, but we regret that there is not an option for the videos.

    The ecosystem

    Roku is still the one that offers the most applications of all cited platforms. Rest today, almost all streaming devices can access the most popular applications. Obviously, the rich catalog Roku is made niche applications of a sometimes very limited interest. One can spend hours exploring and sometimes find real pearls. For example, we discovered the chain for National Geographic Kids children is really excellent and available nowhere else.

    The other streaming boxes have a few advantages over the Roku for those who attach importance to games and some exclusive applications. Similarly, users who operate mainly in the Apple or Amazon ecosystems have interest to stick to their solutions. But almost all the others, Roku is what is does best. The main issue is: what model to choose? You can spend a minimum by choosing the Roku Streaming Stick. You can also opt for comfort and invest a little more for a better model. The Roku 3 is really distinguished by remote control.

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