Roku 3 Review
Experts and consumers alike show love for this set-top box and Roku 3 reviews from the likes of CNET and Wired declare it the best choice for cord cutters. It was released in March 2013 with a new interface and a fast processor for quicker searching and a better user experience. The huge content library available to Roku users is also a main selling point.
Reviews on Amazon praise every aspect of the Roku 3 (starting at $100, Amazon), from the plethora of content to the smooth streaming and easy-to-operate menus. But for consumers who are price-conscious, the cheaper offerings in Roku's lineup might be a better choice. The Roku Streaming Stick, Cheapism's top choice, features the same 1080p playback, dual-band wireless, and casting from the Netflix and YouTube mobile apps but is half the cost.
The high-end Roku 3 does come with a few extra perks, such as a motion-control remote for playing games. The upgraded remote also has a headphone jack, which spouses of night owls will appreciate. Another exclusive feature of the Roku 3 is a USB port, which allows users to load a thumb drive with songs, photos, and videos and play them on TV. Supported content types include MP4 and MKV video, JPG and PNG photos, and AAC and MP3 audio files. Roku 3 can connect only to HDTVs, but most modern TVs fit that definition. Internet connectivity is potentially better with the Roku 3 than with other Roku models because an Ethernet port allows for a wired connection. The box also has a microSD slot to provide additional space for channels and games.
Even with all these extra features, there are some things missing. A commenter on a Roku 3 review at HD Guru is displeased with the lack of a separate audio output, which is necessary for his entertainment-center setup. (Oddly enough, this feature was available on a previous model, the Roku 2 XD.) Consumers with similarly specific needs and tighter budgets might turn to other streaming media players, but this is almost universally considered the best available for most cord cutters.