The Roku Streaming Stick is the latest streaming device from the U.S manufacturer Roku and adds the functionality of a Smart TV to a normal TV for less than £50 (£49.99). The Roku Streaming Stick is in a similar market to that of the existing Google Chromecast.
The latest news from ‘Camp Roku’ is that they’ve added ITV Player which means you can now access over 750 channels in the UK including the ‘big ones’ such as BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Demand 5. On the top of those you can access Netflix, Now TV and Sky.
In case you’ve not heard about it already, the Roku Stick turns a TV into “smart TV” just by plugging into a HDMI port. You will need a spare plug nearby as the Roku Stick has to have external power, although if you have a TV with a USB port, it can be powered through that instead.
It is a bit more expensive than its rival from Google (the Chromecast is £30) but, as pointed by Tech Radar, you do get more than 50 times as many compatible apps and a physical remote control. If you lose the remote you can also use the app from iOS or Google Play app. The app has been described as really good by Tech Radar who said “you’ll never want to hunt and peck with the remote’s direction pad again after using the app”.
To set up the device you need a minimum of a 1.5MBs internet connection to stream standard definition and 3.0MBs upwards if you want to play full HD. The device takes about 30 mins to set up according Trusted Reviews. You will need to link the device to your Roku account by using your laptop or smartphone. Payment details are expected during registration (in order to make future purchases on Channel Store) but don’t worry as it comes with a PIN to prevent any accidental purchases.
With over 1,000 apps, even if a large chunk of them are niche apps no one has ever heard of, the Roku has the most apps on the market – as pointed in the review by Tech Radar. Over all they gave it 5 out of 5 stars for performance and 4.5 stars for usability and stated that:
The Roku Streaming Stick slims down Roku’s popular app delivery system and halves the price of the Roku 3. There are over 1,000 apps and yet the grid is easy to customize. Its interface ties everything together and the remote is small enough for one-handed navigation. Those are two things missing from Chromecast.
Their issue was with the design, which they awarded 3 out of 5 stars, pointing out that:
The size of this streaming stick is larger than the head of any HDMI cable, and some TVs tuck their HDMI ports into the frame of the television. That can make the Roku Streaming Stick a tight fit.
All in all, it is a fraction of the size of the previous Roku 3 and while it’s more expensive than the Chromecast, it does offer a lot more apps than its rivals. It’s available now and you can find out more at https://www.roku.com/uk/choose-your-roku