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Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4200R) Preview

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player


  • Product Name: Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4200R)
  • Manufacturer: Roku
  • Review Date: March 08, 2013 06:15
  • MSRP: $99
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!


  • Type of product: Streaming player
  • Compatibility: Android phones and tablets, iPad, iPhone
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 1 in
  • Weight: 5 oz
  • Additional features: Roku app for iPhone and Android devices, Access over 750 channels

Network & Internet

  • Connectivity: Ethernet, Wi-Fi
  • Functionality: Internet gaming, Internet radio playback, Internet video playback
  • Internet Streaming Services: Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora, Rhapsody, HBO Go, NBC, Vudu

Component features

  • Supported Audio Standards: AAC, MP3
  • Supported Pictures Standard: PNG, JPG
  • Supported Video Standards: MKV, MP4

Remote Control

  • Type: Standard remote control
  • Technology: Infrared
  • Features: Headphone jack (includes earbuds), Motion control for games

Looking like a squared-off hockey puck and featuring a completely upgraded interface, has the new Roku 3 finally hit its peak? The all-new Roku interface lets you glide through menu screens, quickly accessing channels like Angry Birds Space, Netflix, HBO Go, NHL, Disney, NBC, Crackle and more... And when we say more, Roku is now up to around 750 channels. When you get to the channel you want, you just click it and it launches. Adding more channels is simple as well. You just go to the Roku channel store and select from anything within the category listing. And it's all sorted intelligently, from News & Weather, to Games, to Music, to Sports and more... Once you find what you're looking for it's just two clicks to launch it and access the content.

The Roku 3 looks to be very responsive, so the hardware within is doing a good job of making sure the new interface doesn't slow down performance. It also employs dual-band (b/g) wireless as well as an Ethernet port in the event you can throw it a hard line. And one other claim to fame: the Roku is super energy efficient. The company claims it can stream a movie using less power than a nightlight (and that would be around 30 times less than a typical game console).

Roku 3 front

Searching is amazingly intuitive now as well. In almost Google-like fashion, you can search movie and TV titles, actors & directors, channels, and games. And when you start typing, the search function gives you all manner of autocomplete options that are whittled down as you enter additional information. If you picked a TV show, you can then go in further, select your desired season, and choose an episode to watch. Amazon VOD, Vudu, and Hulu Plus are supported by default. Unfortunately we don't see any indication that it searches Netflix titles—a major bummer if that turns out to be the case.

When you do search for actors, finding every film in the system that your resulting actor played in is accomplished automatically through search. It's a brilliant function and one that will be sure to have many fans excited. I love Clint Eastwood, so the thought that I can search by actor is something I've wanted television to have by default for quite some time.

And the Remote Control of the Year Goes To....

Get this—there's a headphone jack in the Roku remote control. When you need to keep the volume down but still want to watch TV, the new remote control that comes with the Roku 3 features an 1/8" plug that you can use to connect your favorite headphones or earbuds (a pair of matching purple ones are even included). Of course, the remote does more. Embedded within is a gyroscopic motion-sensing chip that lets you play games with a simple flick of your wrist—plus there are game-ready buttons so you can play without having to lose functionality. Top titles available include Angry Birds Space, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

remote with headphones

Apps Away!

Of course, one of the best features of Roku is that you can control it from your iPhone or Android smart phone. The Roku app lets you begin a show, replay a favorite movie moment, or add new Channels to your line-up from the Channel Store. For typing and searching, the app includes a pop-up style virtual keyboard or you can swipe around to make selections and navigate on-screen content.

If you're not yet sure which Roku is best for you, check out their quick feature guide that helps you decide which one makes sense:

compare ROKU boxes

Everybody Gets to Play

The new Roku interface is already available if you purchase the new Roku 3 ($99) but all Roku 2, LT and HD customers will get to experience it when Roku updates its application software for free in May.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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