Roku Streaming Stick: Unboxing & Review (4K)

by birtanpublished on May 10, 2021

Hey guys this is Mike the Detroit pork with my review of Roku's new media streaming stick which is now cheaper at $49 and aims to bring Roku's massive content library to your HDTV in a small wireless HDMI dongle that virtually disappears behind your TV instead of adding another set-top box with wires and cables that kind of clutter up your system now it's very compact but the streaming stick is packing dual-band Wi-Fi and supports 720p or 1080p HD video playback with 5.1 surround sound it has the internal specs of the original Roku 1 set-top box which means this falls far shy of the performance of

The $100 Roku 3 but delivers the same media playback experience overall now looking closely at the Roku stick we can see that it's roughly the size of a large thumb drive but of course it connects via HDMI now on the side you'll find lots of insulation to help keep the device cool because it does won't run kind of warm you will notice it if you touch it they also find a reset button on one side and a microUSB port on the other end to connect power now the Roku stick can still be powered by HDMI MHL ports if you have one available but the new Roku finally allows most of us to

Connect power via a USB port on the back of our TV or through the included wall adapter now inside the box you'll find the Roku remote controller which is using Wi-Fi direct instead of Bluetooth or infrared so you don't need line-of-sight to control your Roku stick this remote does not include motion sensors volume controls or the headphone jack like the higher-end Roku boxes so most of those features are not available here they also include a pair of double-a batteries to power the remote also included with the box is a USB power adapter along with a USB cable so

You can use the power adapter or you can just connect the cable to a USB port on the back of your TV to power your Roku streaming stick they've also included some literature which includes a QuickStart guide as well as regulatory information now the remote includes the standard array of controls such as a back and home button a directional d-pad with your media and shoulder controls just below that as well as an options button now below that you'll find dedicated buttons for certain media services which will immediately activate those apps on your Roku when you press

Them connecting the Roku stick is very easy now if you have an HDMI MHL port the LED will light indicating it's powered and booting up now if not you'll need to connect the USB cable to power it now in my case I'm just using a USB port on the back of my TV but you could use the included power adapter to connect it to the wall for power now once booted you'll need to login to your wireless network using the remote and on-screen keyboard but later on you'll be able to use the remote control app on either an iOS

Device or an Android device to enter in text the first thing the Roku stick will need to do is update to the leis firmly and reboot the next step is activation which requires you to enter in a code on Roku's activation website now in my case I'm just using my phone to access the website but you could use a computer or tablet the next step is to link your Roku account or create one if you don't already have one once you're in your account you can select specific channels to add to your Roku player and if you have an existing Roku account all your previous selections will automatically

Be synced once you're done the Roku player would begin pre loading the software and apps you've selected and any of the included Roku partner apps on the main home screen will find our selections on the left side which includes my channels movies TV shows news search channel store and settings my channels is where you'll find all your installed apps some of these services are free but many are subscription-based such as Netflix Amazon and Hulu Plus these apps feature their own user interface and logins other apps can only serve content to

Cable subscribers such as HBO GO which requires you to log in with your providers account to verify that you are a customer many other apps serve free content without restrictions while others provide rental and purchasing options now if we go the movies and TV shows will see that Roku has partnered with MgO for movies and TV show rentals and purchasing options this is where you can find all the latest releases very similar to what's provided by iTunes or Amazon pricing and availability is also very similar across all those platforms now if you press the option button on

Your remote you can get access to additional features such as the option to watch the preview trailer or add it to your watch list now if you make purchases or rentals here they are charged through the credit card on your Roku account which provides a frictionless way of accessing paid content without the need to login to additional channels which is very similar to the experience on an Apple TV the new section is where you'll find a variety of short news clips served by AOL they are broke it down into various categories

And update automatically as new stories arrive search is a very powerful feature on the roku platform that allows you to search across the vast range of apps for content instead of digging through each app independently for example if I search for star trek into darkness it will find the channels that offer this and their pricing options so obviously free is best so I need to do is select your preferred option and the app launches to begin playback channel store is where you'll find additional channels and apps to add to your Roku the list of choices is massive and growing every day

So I'll post a link to the roku channel store so you can explore the channels that may interest you on your own these channels include music services like Pandora and tune in radio weather apps that serve your local conditions complete with radar and forecasting a Facebook app for viewing your timeline photos and videos screen savers to set the mood media servers such as plex which use a DLNA server app to stream content from your computer to your Roku player and many more such as YouTube VEVO and E history and more now many of these channels are free but if you cost

Money or require a monthly subscription to access but Roku does a good job separating these amps between free and paid once you've downloaded these channels they'll appear on your my channels page for quick access you can delete or move these apps around just by pressing the options button on your remote controller so you can customize the arrangement of your home screen to your personal preference now under settings we'll find plenty of options including the ability to turn on surround sound under audio change the resolution under display or change the

Themes of the user interface of which there are many to pick from but I think the most interesting two are nebula which completely changes the fonts I cannot refer and wallpaper to a science-fiction theme and daydream which is a little more playful kind of like a child druid the Roku can also be controlled via the free iOS and Android remote apps which replicates all the controls of the remote directly on your phone or tablet from the app you can also quickly access or manage your channels selection from the app instead of digging through the menu on the Roku

You also have access to the channel store for downloading new apps and search for bringing up content which allows you to use the on-screen keyboard which is another benefit of using the app over remote control we also have a feature called play on Roku which allows you to stream photos videos and music directly from your phone or tablet to the Roku but remember however that the content needs to be stored on your device in order for this feature to work and typically this means that only videos you recorded with your camera can be

Streamed this way not content purchase through services like iTunes however there are several apps that support casting to the Roku streaming stick such as YouTube and Netflix this is very similar to Google's chromecast selecting the cast option hands off the playback responsibility to the Roku stick and frees up the phone and tablet which can still be used like the remote control you can also use either the Roku remote or the app to control the media you push to the TV from your mobile device now many people will wonder if the Roku can playback live TV and the answer to that

Depends on your service provider for the most part media is on-demand only but Time Warner Cable customers can download the TWC app and directly access their entire channel selection live as if the Roku stick was another cable box on their TV set now I mentioned the Google chromecast which is cheaper at $35 and it's very similar in form to the Roku however it operates very differently the chromecast does not use an on-screen interface or remote control to access media instead it acts as a conduit for phone and tablet as to push the media to

The chromecast while the list of supported apps on chromecast is growing more rapidly now it's still far below the options available to the Roku platform which is platform independent and doesn't require an Android or iOS device to access content now generally speaking playback of video and audio as excellent works just as well as any other media streamer today however there is notable lag in the interface which doesn't exist on the Roku 3 the Apple TV or the Amazon fire TV however this lag does not prevent the streaming stick from performing its

Primary function which is to stream high quality media affordably in a discreet package now in terms of weaknesses I think there are three of them for me the biggest one is the fact that it cannot be operated via an IR universal remote control such as a harmony one which is what I use to control all my AV equipment right now so I'd have to use two remotes in that scenario the other consideration here is that the streaming stick does stick out quite a bit so if you have a a rear-facing HDMI port on a wall-mounted TV it may not fit

Especially if you're plugging in that USB cable at the end of it the other consideration here is iTunes of course iTunes isn't supported on the Roku streaming stick so if you have an existing iTunes library it won't work with this player so that's going to do for me in this video thanks for watching and I'll see you again in the next one

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