Top positive review
Updated Aug 2020: Not another review of the same - this one will make you think and enjoy your Roku!
Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2018
Updated on August 4 2020
I am not shy when I say I am a fan of Roku. Early adopter, always was and still believe. Unfortunately Roku has become less appealing after July 31, 2020 - when it refused to support big stream channels HBO MAX and now Peacock - the newest kid in town from NBC.
I understand legal implications. I am an IT guy, so trust me when I say metadata drives sound monetary value. User behavior and any data we give to these and many other companies every time we use a smart device is priceless.
I adopted Roku to free myself from expensive and inflexible Cable deals. I. Me. The consumer.
I don't want to be limited on my options to watch and now I have to go to a different room to turn in my Samsung Smart TV to watch HBO Max because Roku discontinued the support of HBO. No, Roku, sorry, it was not HBO leaving Roku as you advertise it. Netflix has it's own channel. Disney+, Hulu, Univision, History Channel, you name it. There is a dedicated channel, so why not HBO? It wasn't because of client preferences, it was because of monetary reasons. Client, for the first time, has been placed in the backseat of Roku's value prop and that makes Roku the lesser because of it.
Word of advise: Roku changed the game and created a new one. The Mobile Streaming apps are now doing the same. Roku could benefit from an open approach to support any mobile streaming app, just like a cell phone does today - to keep ahead of the game. Casting your phone to the screen is an alternative and may become the BEST choice if consumers are left with no choice than to keep freedom power in their handhelds because streaming devices like this one want to limit customers. My two cents. My review stands with some minor mods because I can no longer say Roku plays it all...
Thanks for all those helpful votes!
Original Review follows.....
There are hundreds of reviews for this product, so rather than touching on what has already been said, let me just throw in some Do's and Don'ts if you find yourself, like me, navigating the vast array of options in the streaming space.
1) Do your research! There are several different models for Roku, depending on what YOU really need, want or want to pay. I bought a Roku Express because I was upgrading from a 1st generation Roku device and this one is (or at least feels) a thousand times faster, more powerful and has the upgraded software interfaces for apps like Netflix where you can manage your profiles - the older versions did not support that ability, it only presented your default profile.
2) Use the power adapter that comes with it. Sure, you can plug it to your smartTV usb port for power, but if you read about this, there are tons of issues that stem from lack of power supply to the device.
3) Think where you will place your device. This is NOT a set top box, this is a tiny (half of your hand palm) device that has a double tape and sticks do your TV. It is not invasive, it has nice black finish so it won't ruin any aesthetics, but once you stick it on, you need to leave it there, otherwise you could end up with a tape that will no longer work, creating an extra hassle - think location first, then execute and paste it.
4) Play around with it - it has lots of configuration options, like turning on your TV with 1 touch, casting your mobile screen, etc. If you go only by the default options you might miss some fun tricks!
5) Match it with a good router/wifi setup. The worst you can do is have a nice TV, get the top of the line 4K enabled Roku and pair that to a sub-par WIFI connection or a provider that will not support your streaming needs. Remember! this is not plugged by cables, this device streams over the air radio waves, so the distance to your router, obstacles, speed of your network (not only download speeds, but actual WIFI band speeds) can all affect the outcome, so do your homework and think about your entertainment system as a whole, not just the TV / streaming portion.
1) Not everybody needs 4K streaming and NOT all providers support it! Many providers will charge premium for UHD Content and offer HD as standard option, if that is the case for you, spending extra $$ on a 4K TV and a 4K streaming device will be wasted. (again, see my last DO bullet item!)
2) Let your expectations be unrealistic - Yes Roku provides tons of free content. Free means many of the channels are privately supported which means the content may not be UHD.
3) The REAL Fun from roku comes when you enable the channels based on your paid content (netflix, hulu, amazon, premium networks like hbo, nfl, etc...) so if you want to really exploit your Roku's capabilities you will have to pay at some point for prime content.
I hope this helps - I am an early adopter of Roku, have major streaming services like Netflix, Prime and supplemented with an "a la carte" cable service like sling, spectrum choice, DirectTV now or any of your preferred providers and this will unlock all the major broadcast networks, plus some other channels. - EXCEPT HBO MAX & NBC's Peacock.
One last thought: The interest thing is that Roku has a channel for many of these major network stations and watching their content through the Roku channel as opposed through the cable provider app, I've found that there is more content outside, and better choices for on-demand.
Hope you like my review!