Roku-mania

Have an old roku so am already a fan. Should I buy the 2 or hold out for the 3? Is the speed on the 3 really that much faster? Is there a big difference?

I bought the 2 a few weeks ago from Woot. I haven’t used the 3. The 2 works great, is very fast and i’d recommend it.

I’s worth spending a little more and get the Roku 3. This is the most powerful of the bunch , has headphones plug in remote and interface is nicer than the less powerful Roku’s. I was pondering between the Amazon Fire and Roku 3 and ended up with 3 Roku 3’s all working absolutely flawless.
My 2c.

The 2 gives you some flexibility the 3 cannot in a A/V output, which is good for the older tvs. The 3 can only connect via HDMI port. If you have a good internet connection 10mbs no problem man!

I used a 2 until my old CRT Sony TV died. I now use a 3 on my new Sony flat panel. I would say to use a 3 unless you can’t handle the HDMI output it has. But the 2 remains a worthy device too. I never use the headphone jack on the remote of the 3. I do prefer the user interface of the 3.

No thanks! No DLNA or playing media from a NAS

I have an old XS model and it is a fine thing. I have cord trimmed back to the secret family plan on Dtv and am happy with streaming and DVD for most of my entertainment.

These are entry level spec units at a nice price point, so if you are streaming curious, picking up one of these is probably a good investment in education or for a kid’s room.

That said, I am not happy with the ecosystem. The roku over lords will push firmware to you without asking, sometimes with bugs that crash your device randomly, sometimes to improve the quality of the ads they place on the menu screens. Rarely will a firmware provide older models with new features and they do not publish a changelog so you often have no idea what you now have. The only way I have been able to deal with their attitude towards customers is to firewall their servers.

If you are minded, check out the customer forum site. Http://Forums.roku.com

I should add, you should research whether the latest Netflix client for these boxes support profiles. I know that they just gave up trying to push the bloated, slow and from all accounts annoying client version written for the roku 3 onto the old platform, and good riddance I say. This was after saying that they would add support earlier this year, by the way.

But if you really want netflix profiles, you might want to make sure, and to clarify, I do want them, just not at the expense of the entire experience.

Me too. I hooked it up to an older TV where there was no cable outlet and not HDMI input. The kids have the video games hooked up to that TV, and now they can watch TV on it as well.

They prefer YouTube, but they’re making there way around a bunch of the other free apps as well.

Also, Time Warner Cable has an app for the Roku that lets you watch almost all of your cable lineup should you want to watch linear TV, which is pretty slick. Don’t need a cable box in the case of a less frequently watched TV.

If you can install Plex on your NAS, you can definitely play media from it.

At some point, you’ll want to upgrade. I have a 2012 Roku HD, and I have absolutely no issues with firmware updates causing crashing. But I have heard about older models having some issues. Just last year the update got us the new UI, so I’ve been very happy.

The basic Roku interface is the same on the 1, 2 and 3, but if they ever do make updates, the 3 gets them first. Also, the 2 does have the headphone jack in the remote. Ultimately, the 3 is just faster.

Plex isn’t free anymore. I had it for a month, then was blocked. It is $3.99 monthly, $29.00 yearly or $79.00 lifetime. Great app, but not paying for it. Folks who had plex before 12/13 are grandfathered in and don’t have to pay.

Incorrect. The Plex roku channel isn’t free anymore, but it is a one-time $5 fee. No subscription. What you are quoting are the PlexPass fees, which get you early access to features and updates, and a few other perks. Not the same thing.

If you want a Plex channel for free, install the unofficial Roku channel RarFlix (https://owner.roku.com/add/rarflix), which is basically the same with a few extra features.

Possible but I highly doubt it. That update last year, the one where the ads grew to 1/3 of the screen? Yeah, that was great.

My roku has no issues and I like it like that. What I do not like is being forced to take updates with bugs and features I don’t want or need. I just want to be left alone, and they won’t do it.

When the box breaks down I will probably get something that is not a roku.

Yeah, the update that showed 9 channels on a screen instead of 3. The size of the ad didn’t seem to change much, just the placement. You’ll likely not find a box that you will like, since most of the other boxes worth considering want to funnel you into their ecosystem (Apple TV, Fire TV…). Good luck.

A little FYI on the Roku 2. I recently got one off woot and it came with the incorrect AC adapter. Fortunately, I had a spare one that fit so I didn’t have to return it. The plug was too big for the Roku so it did not work. Other than that, I’m very happy with mine!

The Roku Media Player will do DLNA.

The Roku 3 is five times faster than the other models (see chart below). The Roku 1 remote use AAA batteries. I’ve moved on from Roku to Amazon. The last three updates have made the Roku 2 XS very unstable. My family is not accustomed to the TV crashing in the middle of a movie. The problem is supposed to be limited to the Roku 2 XS, but the fact that they will not fix or roll back the buggy firmware says a lot about the company.

The Roku 1 and Roku 2 are low end streamers. Both have the new YouTube channel – which is really slow – and neither will get the new Netflix app with profiles et al. Neither has wired ethernet or usb. Both work with IR remotes. The Roku 1 comes with an IR (infrared, line of sight) and the Roku 2 comes with a WiFi Direct remote. The WiFi Direct remote has an earbud jack for private listening and does not require line of sight.

(I don’t care for the WiFi remote. To allow you to listen to audio via an earbud jack on the R3 remote, they stream remote commands and audio via WiFi. This can cause interference issues including choppy sound and an unresponsive remote. Worse, when your WiFi router is interfered with, it throttle speed to improve connection quality. Of course, if you do plug earbuds into that jack, keep a box of batteries nearby.)

Here is a chart comparing the features of all the currently available Rokus…

http://thebeersoncomcast.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/r3vsr2xs_small.png

Here is another chart comparing the processing power of the various models…

http://rokufordummies.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/bogoloops2.jpg

Answers to your questions…

Q. Can this play files from an NFS mount.
A. Maybe. They have to be in the right format and there has to be some kind of server software in the mix.

Q. Is the new stick a Chromecast killer.
A. No it is a really inexpensive variant of the Roku 2 family.

Q. What does this offer that my other streamer doesn’t?
A. Whether you have an Xbox, a SMP, or a BD player, it’s all about the channels. Compare the content your current streamer can play to what you see at http://www.roku.com/channels. Read the descriptions carefully because the Roku Fox News Channel IS NOT what you get on Comcast.

Q. What do channels and content cost?
A. Some apps (channels) cost money, some apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, MLB.com, etc.) require you to pay a monthly or annual fee for content. Some charge for the app and again for the content. Some require you authenticate with a cable provider. There are some very good, free apps…

Amazon Cloud Player: Play all the free music Amazon sends my way
CNN: Includes CNN International Live for background news and information
Crackle: Sony’s FREE version of Netflix
CS50: Harvard Intro to Computer Science course
Comedy Time: ‘Play All’ makes for good background noise
CBSSports.com: ‘Play All’ feature makes for a nice sports news channel
CNBC: Streaming business news for news and information
FoxNews: Stream from web site plus clips of popular shows with ‘Play All’
Kaplan College Prep: Help your kid with his SATs
Lecture Kings: Librivox audio box is hidden in a channel of university lectures
Nowhere TV
OVGuide: Free movie channel
PBS
Popcornflix
Popflix Classic TV: 26 Men, Adventures of Robin Hood, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, Burns and Allen, Date with the Angels, Dragnet, Life with Elizabeth, The Lone Ranger, The Lucy Show, Man with a Camera, Petticoat Junction, Sherlock Holmes, Westerns, You Bet Your Life
PubDHub: The stuff your dad used to reminisce about — ancient cartoons, PSAs, commercials, and movies
Smithsonian: Better than the Discovery channel
TWiT: Steve Gibson, Leo Laporte, and others talk tech
WSJ Live: WSJ had good election coverage
YouTube

Q. Can I watch live/local television on my Roku?
A. The Rokus have no tuners. If you want to watch local, live TV, you have to add a Simple or Tablo DVR.

Q. Why are there so many refurbs?
A. Because Roku is not the same as cable, networking is hard, the internet is getting congested, and the cable guy won’t come to your house and make it work. This is not a toaster. A lot of people find making things work a lot harder than expected and the results a lot less than promised. Good for the rest of us, right?

Q. Why don’t these have a slot for a cable card?
A. Because they don’t.

Q. Is the Plex channel free?
A. No it is not. It’s been $4.99 since December. There is a free Plex fork called RarFlix which is very good.

Q. Should I get a refurb?
A. (Sorry Woot) Some have complained that Woot and Newegg have been really bad with refurbs – shipping junk and not supporting their customers. I’ve only ever had one problem with a refurb (R2XS remote) and Roku shipped me a new one right away. Call Roku if you have problems. DO NOT USE their forums unless you need exercise. RokuShawnS et all will have you running around in circles and jumping through hoops.

Q. Can I watch YouTube on my Roku?
A. YES. The Roku 1 and 2 both have an official YouTube app.

Happy Streaming!

TheBeersOnComcast
RokuForDummies
SimpleTVForDummies