Streaming Internet video to your TV? Why not: it's better than cable – and it gets better and better every day!
Probably the most popular streaming devices available today are Apple TV and Roku.
Roku, in its recent third incarnation, looks cooler than ever: a new, much improved interface and five times faster processor speed makes Roku 3 quicker and more responsive than any other video-streaming box on the market.
Roku's new, slick interface makes the competition look almost old-fashioned; however, Apple TV still works better within the Apple ecosystem (no surprises there!). Also, if you're looking to buy the player that is best suited for streaming your personal digital media collection, Apple TV is a better choice.
Roku 3 streaming player is easy to set up, even for those of us who feel a bit of apprehension when confronted for the first time with a new tech gadget.
Roku 3 boasts with over 700 channels: Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Spotify, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player – just to name the most recognizable names. You will, though, probably be disappointed to hear that there's no official YouTube channel in sight yet!
All those channels are neatly arranged in a grid, so switching between services or scrolling through menus is easily and quickly implemented.
If you're looking for any digital title or actor, for instance, you can type its name in the new cross-platform search: it will search across the multitude of channels it supports, and tell you where to find whatever it is you 're looking for.
There is also a “private” or “silent viewing” option, thanks to an innovative remote with built-in headphone jack, so you can watch without disturbing others by directly plugging the included in-ear headphones into remote control. The remote itself is improved: mount it wherever you want, because it can work without you pointing it at the device.
With the new Roku 3 you can also share photos via Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa, or play games thanks to an aforementioned newly redesigned motion-control remote.
Roku supports 1080p HD, dual-band wireless, Ethernet port, USB port and microSD slot.
Of course, the video quality will vary depending on your existing internet connection speed (that can also vary during the course of the day).
It's a small, but powerful device; relatively cheap. Apple, your move!
With all the new video streaming capabilities that devices bring, maybe it's time to say goodbye to your cable or satellite bills!