If you’ve recently received a Roku 3 as a gift, or if you’re simply interested in the product, then you might be wondering why it’s worth your time and money.
Its’ capabilities can be a little confusing if you aren’t familiar with the streaming set-top box category of products, so this article will give some basic information about the Roku 3 and what you can use it for.
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The Roku Set-Up
When you receive the Roku 3, you are going to get the device itself, a remote control, a power cord and a pair of headphones. At this point it is important to mention how the Roku 3 works as well, which we will break down into a few simple steps.
- Plug in the power cord
- Connect the Roku 3 to your TV with an HDMI cable (the Roku 3 does not include one, so you will need to purchase the cable separately. You can get them from Amazon for a few dollars here)
- Follow the on-screen setup instructions, which will include connecting the Roku 3 to your wireless or wired home network.
- Browse the Roku 3 menus and channels to find and start streaming video content.
So, to summarize, in addition to the Roku 3, you also need a TV with an HDMI port (most flat-screen televisions have these), a wired or wireless home network (if you can connect to the Internet in your house, then you probably already have one) and the HDMI cable mentioned above.
What Makes the Roku 3 So Special?
As we have written about many times before, including in our complete Roku 3 review, we love the Roku 3. If you spend a lot of time watching video on your computer, or if you navigate between video game consoles and Blu Ray players to watch Netflix, Hulu or Amazon videos, then the Roku 3 just makes the entire experience better and simpler.
The device is small, doesn’t consume a lot of power, and is always on. When you haven’t used it for a period of time, it simply goes into a sleep mode with a screensaver, but it wakes instantly when you decide that you want to use it to watch something.
But the reason that you are buying this device is because of the simplicity with which you can watch movies and TV shows from a variety of different sources. Some of the most popular apps on the Roku 3 are Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Vudu and Crackle. But there are literally hundreds of other channels available, some of which require subscriptions, but many of which are free. You can shop for new channels either directly from the Roku 3 or online in the Roku channel store.
Some Drawbacks of the Roku 3
The biggest thing to realize when considering a Roku 3 purchase is that owning the device doesn’t provide free access to premium content. You will still need to have a Netflix, HBO or Hulu Plus subscription to watch that content.
You also need to have a decent Internet connection to effectively stream video content. Anyone with DSL or cable Internet is going to have a good enough connection, but if you get your Internet in another way, you should try streaming from Netflix, Hulu or YouTube to see how good it is over your network.
While there is no yearly or monthly fee for using the Roku 3, you are going to need to provide a credit card number during the initial setup. This is in case you decide to purchase a premium channel or game that requires a fee. However, your credit card will never be charged if you do not purchase any of these paid channels.
We mentioned previously that you get a pair of headphones with the Roku 3, which may seem like a weird inclusion. But the Roku 3 has an interesting feature where you can connect those headphones to the headphone jack on your remote control and listen to the audio that way. This will mute the TV speakers, which allows you to listen to the Roku content quietly if someone else in the room is reading or needs to work in the quiet.
There is a USB port on the side of the Roku 3 to which you can connect an external hard drive or USB flash drive. You can then watch content from those devices by following the steps in this article. There is also a Plex app, if you have a home server setup that includes that application.
If you have looked into the Roku line of products, then you probably have a use for the device in your home entertainment environment. It’s a necessary item for anyone that wants to cut their cable cord, plus it offers a simple way to access the streaming video content that you are paying for. The Roku 3 is the best product at what it does, and its’ impressively favorable reviews on Amazon only help to reinforce what a solid device it is.
Click the product link or the Add to Cart button below to learn more about the Roku 3 or to purchase it from Amazon.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.
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