Roku revamps range with three new media streamers

Roku has revised its line-up of media streamers, with three new models now available including the flagship Roku 3, which was previously only available in the US.

The models range from the Roku 1 and 2 to the range-topping Roku 3. Each model provides many channels of entertainment, including games, catch-up TV services, online TV services and apps. Some are free and some you must buy. Plus, each benefits from Roku’s excellent user interface.

All three models can output video up to a resolution of 1,920x1,080, letting you make the most of your Full HD TV, but a neat feature of the Roku 2 and Roku 3 is the ability to plug your headphones into the remote control, an action that automatically mutes your TV. This lets you enjoy audio without disturbing other members of your family. Remove the headphones from the remote control and your TV will play audio again.

The Roku 2 and 3 get dual-band Wi-Fi, giving users the flexibility to choose the Wi-Fi connection that provides the best performance in their home. The Roku 3 also has an Ethernet port, which is ideal if your router is close to your PC or home cinema setup, or if you use HomePlug adaptors.

Unique to the Roku 3 is a USB port for media playback from USB drives, while its remote control inherits the excellent Wii-style motion control from the outgoing Roku 2 XS, which is ideal for playing games.

The higher the model number, the higher the price, with the Roku 1 and Roku 2 retailing at £59.99 and £79.99 respectively and the Roku 3 retailing at £99.99.

We were impressed by the Roku 2 XS’s hardware, remote control and incredibly easy to use interface, but felt it didn’t have the essential catch-up TV services that UK users demand. Since our review of the Roku 2 XS , Roku has updated its channel store with high-quality channels such as Demand 5 and Now TV, among existing favourites such as BBC iPlayer and Crackle. Could the Roku 3 be the must-have media streamer this Christmas? Find out in our forthcoming review.

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