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Set top boxes & on-demand TV Reviews
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Roku 3 review: media stream offers handy features at a price

£99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Roku

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

After few months on sale in the US the Roku 3 media streamer has made it to UK shores with a price tag of £99. Read our Roku 3 review to find out more.

Roku 3 streamer

Although the Roku 3 is now available in the UK, the firm has refreshed its entire line-up by introducing the Roku 1 and Roku 2. Therefore, we're not able to compare this new model to the older Roku 2 XS.

The box itself is just as small and discrete as ever and has a new rounded design; we prefer the straight edges of the older model but this doesn't matter much.

If you don't know what Roku is all about then it's an internet media streamer which lets you watch online content on your TV, or a monitor. There are more than 450 channels to choose from and while most are free the big names are Netflix, BBC iPlayer Sky Now TV, Crackle, Demand 5 and Spotify.

You're rarely going to get the full selection but nevertheless, 4OD and ITV Player are both missing. So bare this in mind. You'll also need to pay for some of the channels, namely Netflix and Sky Now TV.

If you're just after Sky, BBC and Demand 5 content then the Sky Now TV box is a steal at £9.99.

The Roku 3 only has an HDMI port for connecting to your TV or a PC monitor, the AV port (mini-jack to left/right/composite video RCA) has been dropped and Roku doesn't even include an HDMI cable in the box which is a shame.

Setting up the box is fairly easy using the built-in dual-band Wi-Fi or its physical Ethernet port. You'll need to create a Roku account online and type in a code shown on your TV to activate the box.
Once you're setup there's nothing left to do but choose what channels you want and get streaming.

Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3The faster processor in the Roku 3 means the interface is zippier than ever with almost no lag at all and we noticed no problems during streaming at all.

The remote control works seamlessly and doesn't even need to have line of sight to the Roku 3 box since it doesn't use the traditional infrared method. Roku has added a headphone port and volume buttons so you can listen privately through headphones - a potentially handy feature.

Roku also has free apps available for iOS and Android if you want to control the device that way.

As well as the faster processor and Ethernet port, the Roku 3 has other exclusive features which you won't find on the cheaper models. It's got motion control for games like Angry Birds and a microSD card slot, although this is only for expanding storage rather than viewing content on it.

If none of these features sound essential then you can save a few quid. The Roku 2 is £20 cheaper and still has dual-band Wi-Fi and a headphone jack in the remote for private listening. If you're not even bothered about those features, the Roku 1 is another £20 cheaper.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

Roku 3 Expert Verdict »
Roku 3 Streaming Player Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 44 reviews
Set-top box for internet services
Netflix, Crackle, BBC iPlayer, Sky Now TV, Demand 5
dual-abdn 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
ethernet
HDMI
USB port
microSD card slot
Up to 1080p video output
Wi-Fi Direct remote control
89x89x25mm
170g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The Roku 3 has some handy features including a faster processor and headphone jack on the remote. However, the Roku 2 and Roku 1 provide better value for money and unless you have to have access to Netflix, the Sky Now TV Box offers the same big name services for under £10.

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