A review for Roku 3 streaming media player

Roku players are always found in the top of the Best-of and Editor`s choice lists. It offers over 750 channels from which to choose (some for free, some available for a small amount of money). Roku goes over other standalone platforms in its number and diverse entertainment options.

The company released lately a new player, the Roku 3 which is available for 99.99 dollars. Other Roku players can be found on the market, too. The same as the XS, the brand new Roku 3 is the single player that can provide a USB port for media playback and an Ethernet port for a wired network connection. Also, it is the individual device that can offer dual-band Wireless-N WiFi. The Roku 3 differs from the other Roku devices because of its speed and its remote control, which has a headphone jack for private audio listening.

The specifics

The Roku 3 is small, a3.5 inch square that is just one inch tall and it has a glossy black finish. On the front you will find the Roku 3 logo, an IR sensor and a power LED. On the right side is placed the USB port and on the left a small purple cloth tag that says Roku. On the back are placed the DC power port, Ethernet port, MicroSD card slot and HDMI port. The roku 3 can sustain 1080p output through HDMI, which represents the single video and audio connection option.

The most important change we will encounter on Roku 3 is a headphone jack on the left side panel and volume controls on the right. SO, if you are planning to play games or watch a move without disturbing anyone in the house, all you have to do is to plug a bunch of headphones into the jack. The player will instantly mute the HDMI output and redirect audio to the headphones. Roku comes with a pair of in-ear headphones when bought.

The company provides a free control app for iOS and Android systems that consists of four pages. The Remote page resembles most of the buttons on the remote. You can set up a virtual QWERTY keyboard in order to accelerate the text-entry process.

The menu

The Roku menu design is simple and easy to use. On the left side of the Home screen you will find the iptions for My Channels, Channel Store, Search and Settings. You have to take into account that the payer is set by default to 720p output. Audio is set to stereo by default, but you can have the possibility to change it too. You can rearrange the interface by adding or deleting channels.

You will find in Roku the most popular video and music services. For the video you will get Netflix, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Blockbuster, Flixter and so on. The most observable omission is YouTube. For the music option you will be able to use Pandora, Vevo, Tunein, Spotify, Slacker Radio and many others. In the store you will find sections for sports, photos and videos, news and weather, kids and family etc.

Roku 3 is the only one in its family that can support playback of personal media files. You will be able to play back the following file formats: MKV, MP4, AAC, MP3, JPG and PNG.