Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Roku 3 Set Top Box Review

Even the most expensive home theater system is worthless if there is no content to watch. Most of us get most of our content from cable or satellite with maybe a little percentage coming from internet streaming services. However the Roku 3 plans to reverse this. Is it possible? Can you really get rid of your cable service? Don't call your cable company just yet, read this review before you make the call to cut off your TV or satellite service.

The biggest pro that the Roku 3 has going for it is that once you buy the unit you don't have to pay monthly for service. You can pay extra for services like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime/Instant Video and Hulu Plus, or the standard channels and shows that are available for an extra subscription fee per channel. But unlike cable or satellite, Roku allows you to subscribe to channels ala carte. There are about 750 channels available, everything from MLB TV to Al Jazeera English. While you can't watch everything you can on cable, there are a lot of choices in the newest Roku device. If you plan on paying extra for some of the services that the Roku can access then you are still paying less than your cable bill now and you will get a lot more premium content. NetFlix and Hulu Plus are both less than $10 each a month, so you could pay $20 or less and still get access to hundreds of channels, as well as shows and movies on demand.

Roku devices can be purchased for either $49 or $99 depending on which version you want, the new Roku 3 is $99 but there are versions available that less money that still have a lot of great features. The Roku 3 has a new interface built in, but other Roku boxes should be able to update their interface to the new version soon. The controller is pretty neat, too. There is a headphone jack on the remote itself that you can plug headphones into so you can hear what is streaming on your Roku without bothering others around you. This is especially great for people who like to watch TV in bed but their partners don't want to listen to it.

Well the Roku is a pretty cool little device but it won't single handedly beat cable and satellite. It could however replace a lot of people's TV services if they only watch a few shows or don't care for all the extra channels that cable and satellite offer. If you like sports, you would be better off with cable or satellite but if you want to watch mostly Netflix and subscribe to a few of the channels you might be better off with the Roku. If you are just looking to save some money, this could help you out. If you paired the Roku with an antenna so you can get over the air stations including your local networks so you can watch the local news and shows. I'm not sure how the Roku would function if every room in the house had one going at once. I bet that it would start to degrade quality if you had multiple Roku units on at once on a slow connection. If you plan on having it in 5 rooms with all of them on at the same time every day then it might not work as good as if there were only 1 or 2 at once on a fast connection. Unfortunately most consumers have low level internet to save money. They will have to upgrade their internet service to get the best streaming service, which will cost more money. So be sure to consider all points before you bite the bullet and get a Roku and cancel your TV service.

Source: Forbes

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