Conclusion: There are a lot of media streamers on the market. Without a doubt, every one of them has perks and provides a little something that your system didn't previously have. That said, it's hard to beat the options that are being offered under the tiny chassis of the Roku 3. Not all of them are freebies or selections that you'd actually be interested in, but there are just enough -- and you could spring for a few too, you cheap-o.
Pros: Endless entertainment for under $100, Supports 1080p, 7.1 and 5.1 sound for all (where available), Hundreds of programming choices, Integrated headphone jack on the remote
Cons: Plastic or a Paypal account is required for setup, No official YouTube channel (but there are workarounds), No 3D support, No PC-based streaming, Device is always on
Summary: I've found myself using both an Apple TV and a Roku 3 over the last couple of weeks — the Roku as a set-top box, and the Apple TV purely as an AirPlay device, its other functions made redundant by the Roku's breadth of content. That combination works perfectly, but at $200 isn't a cheap home theater add-on. The good news is that if you're not an Apple user or don't have much need for AirPlay, you only need one box — and that box is the $99.99 Roku 3.
Pros: Fast, smooth performance, Excellent interface, Huge amount of content available
Cons: YouTube is a big hole, Can't match AirPlay's functionality, Weak local file support
Summary: The Roku 3 is the best streaming-video box yet, with tons of content sources, lightning-fast performance, and an innovative remote with built-in headphone jack.
Pros: The Roku 3 's excellent interface and speedy processor makes it feel quicker and more responsive than any other streaming box. More than 1,000 channels are supported, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, Vudu and (finally) Youtube. It also has cross-platform search that scours several major TV and movie services to find content. And Roku's nifty remote has a built-in headphone jack that lets you listen without dis...
Cons: The Apple TV still works better within the Apple ecosystem. And the Roku 3 isn't the best option if you're mostly looking to stream your personal digital media collection.
Conclusion: The Roku 3 is a decent TV set-top box that will offer plenty to most people looking to "cut the cable" as Americans would say. While there are some annoyances with the interface layout and a lot of dross in the app store - do you really want to pay £1.49 for a puppy screensaver? - the main catch-up TV services are here. There are noticeable omissions - 4 On Demand and ITV Player being two - but the important ones like Netflix, Now, and BBC iPlayer are here.
Pros: Small, easy to setup, lots of services supported, microSD and USB support, headphone jack on remote for quiet listening, 1080p support
Cons: Lots of dross apps in app store, can't buy movies or shows, no 4oD or ITV player, nine tile limit in interface & not best use of interface space