Just upgraded our Roku after almost 5 years – Roku 3 review and comparison

It’s been almost five years since we canceled cable and bought our first Roku set-top box. It’s amazing how much has changed since then.   In 2008, the Roku was basically a Netflix only streaming device.   Hard to believe, but Roku now features over 750 channels, the great majority of which are free.

Here’s a picture of the new Roku 3 player we just picked up for $99….

Roku3 and Remote picture

Some key differences….

  • Much, much faster! Not sure of the exact processor type, but flipping through movies and streaming is now a breeze.  Our original was great for the first few years, but had been getting sluggish lately – probably due to the newer Roku look and feel which is much more graphic intensive.
  • Supports 1080p HD (on some channels like Netflix)
  • Faster WIFI and network connectivity – Now has extended range dual-band wireless and wired RJ45 Ethernet which should really cut down on buffering times
  • Cool headphone jack in remote – great for late night TV watching in bed
  • Haven’t tried it yet, but the new remote has a gyroscope in it and can play games like Angry Birds (included)  and some cool retro games like Galaga and Pacman.
It also has a new integrated search which will search all channels for a given show or movie.  Since we primarily use Netflix, Hulu and Amazon and our favorites seem to be spread pretty evenly across the three services, this is a very welcome feature!
Will post a more detailed post when we can – as well as one talking about the Roku channels we use most.

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