If you let me recommend a streaming video device, then I would recommend the new Roku Streaming Stick. This $50 (about 323 yuan) product is not only the cheapest home video device you can buy, it is also the best product.
With great apps, Roku has become the king of streaming video. Its search function defeats most competitors, and its interface can be customized to add the various applications you want.
The old Roku Stick was once my favorite video device, mainly because it can implement Roku's service at the cheapest price. Its compact design also makes people love it. You can tuck it into a place that is not visible on the back of your TV, and you can easily carry it in your pocket at any time. However, the old Roku Stick did not respond quickly enough, especially when dealing with some complex applications.
The new Roku Streaming Stick will start selling on April 20, and it will run as fast as the Roku 2 and Roku 3 TV boxes. Although it is not equipped with a headphone jack and voice search function on Roku 3, Roku Streaming Stick can also perform these two functions and it works well.
Unless you are completely satisfied with streaming media devices in your current home, or if you donâ€™t mind paying more for Roku 2â€™s remote control features, or if you want 4K playback on Roku 4, Iâ€™d rather not buy the new Roku Reason for Streaming Stick. Of course, if you buy a lot of apps on iTunes and you want to play games on the big screen with your phone and tablet, then Apple TV is a good choice; if you're fond of playing with your phone better than playing with the remote, then Chromecast is more suitable you. In addition, if you often transmit "files" on your home network, you may also choose products other than Roku.
Now that streaming media devices are more popular than ever before, Roku insists on using the best price to make the best product that meets almost all of the streaming media functionality needs of its users.
Small is the United States
If you think that a device can only achieve powerful features like Roku 2's volume, you are wrong.
Compared to the $50 new Roku Streaming Stick, the only advantage of the $70 Roku 2 is that it has an Ethernet interface. If your home's wireless network is not very good, Roku 2 may be more suitable for you.
In the stable wireless network, the new Roku Streaming Stick's 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network connections have no problems, video without any delay. As expected, it only took a second or two to complete the video load, but it does not support the AC Wi-Fi standard on Roku 4 and Chromecast.
Roku official said that the new Roku Streaming Stick is equipped with a quad-core processor, which is eight times faster than the old model. I compared the old and new Roku Streaming Stick, Roku 2 and Amazon Fire TV Stick and found that the new application starts much faster than the old one. It is basically the same as Roku 2 and easily defeats Fire TV Stick. The new device runs smoothly in the menu interface and the remote commands respond quickly.
The new Roku Streaming Stick supports power through the TV's USB port, and its boot speed is only 28 seconds, not only defeating the Chromecast (35 seconds), but also defeating the old Roku Stick and Fire TV (both devices have more than 1 boot time minute). Even so, I recommend connecting it to an AC power adapter, which reduces extra startup time.
The new Roku Streaming Stick adapts to the HDMI interface of most TVs, but if your TV's HDMI port is too close to the video wall, you may need an extra cable. Amazon is equipped with a cable for the device, and Chromecast is cleverly designed with built-in cables to solve this problem, and Roku needs to be equipped separately.
It should be noted that the new Roku Streaming Stick comes with a remote control. Perhaps more users like to control via iPhone or Android phone, but in fact this remote control is also quite easy to use. Its design is concise and clear, you can use it for menu navigation and basic transmission control. The remote control uses a Wi-Fi connection instead of an infrared connection, so you can control the device without facing the TV.
The powerful remote headset
The "Private Listening" feature is one of Roku's most popular features. Simply plugging the headset into the remote control will automatically mute the TV and play it only through the headset. The new Roku Streaming Stick's remote does not support this feature, but it can be solved by the application.
Open the Roku app on your phone, insert the headset, and a small headset icon will appear on the screen. When I mute the TV volume, the sound will be heard from the headphones. Once a call comes in, the video played on the TV is automatically paused and resumes after the call ends.
However, when using a Bluetooth headset, the picture and sound are out of sync. In contrast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV have good support for Bluetooth headsets and can achieve "private listening" without application support.
Powerful application support
Streaming media devices on the market currently support mainstream video applications. These applications include Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, HBO, Showtime, Watch ESPN, Plex, and PBS Kids. Roku's application support is more complete. Unlike Apple TV, Chromecast/Android TV, it supports Amazon Video Services.
Of course, Rokuâ€™s application support is not perfect. In addition to iTunes, Roku lacks support for some of the more important applications such as Starz, PlayStation Vue and file sharing application Kodi.
Part of the reason why I like Roku is due to it being "alleged" to all applications. You can move the homepage to uninstall apps that you don't like. In contrast, Amazon and Googleâ€™s products have locked in more interfaces. The new Apple TV system also offers users a great deal of freedom. You can create folders and organize your applications better.
Roku's search function is still the most powerful, and its search results can show more than 30 services, far beyond other platforms. After you click Search, all the keywords or movies related to the keyword are listed. These programs contain prices. You can single out "free" programs.
However, the Roku system cannot search for content from HBO Now, Showtime, and Showtime Anytime. The current practice of Apple's Apple TV does not display any video content from paid channels (such as Amazon, Google Play, and Vudu) except for its own iTunes.
Among the many services, Roku has the best TV show and movie show function. It can mark programs, movies and actors and remind users when these contents are online. Roku is able to display the most popular TV shows and movies, and shows will be updated four times a day. This is a pretty good way to push new content, and of course I would like it to only push content that I can watch for free.
It's worth noting that the new Roku system, like Fire TV, supports the "Certified Portal Authentication" feature. Roku said this feature is applicable to scenarios such as "Hotel and Hostel Connection" because these places are most likely to use such a network. We did not specifically test this feature during the test.
Meet all your needs of streaming media devices
The new Roku Streaming Stick runs smoothly and at a low price, so it's hard to find any shortcomings. If you are not satisfied with streaming media devices in your home, it should be at the top of your pre-order list.
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