Anyone that has followed this blog or attended any of my Streaming TV presentations knows that I am a big fan of Roku. I’ve had one ever since it was introduced several years ago, at that time streaming only Netflix. Now it has over 2,500 channels with 300,000+ movies and TV shows.
I could probably be called a TV junkie. I have TVs in my living room, office, bedroom, and oh yes, I can’t forget the motorhome. Each has a Roku attached.
I’ve had the original Roku, Roku 2, Roku 3, and now I guess I’ll have to upgrade to the latest and greatest, Roku 4.
What is Roku 4?
On the technical side, Roku 4 delivers smoother streaming at higher resolutions (up to 4K Ultra HD) due to the advanced processing inside. It now supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi to take advantage of the fastest Wi-Fi protocol available. If you are a streaming addict like I am, and you haven’t already done so, you MUST upgrade your router to an 802.11ac model to take advantage of this Roku feature. The Roku 4 also has an ethernet port if you are fortunate enough to have hard wired ethernet available, or if you’re using a powerline network adapter.
On the practical side, it has useful new features like a lost remote finder. Boy, will I make use of that. And it has always had what I consider to be the best user interface for finding the programming you want to watch. In addition to just “channel surfing”, you can search across major channels by keyword, title, actor, or director by using your remote. The results of your search will show you where you can watch your program for free, or if it’s a paid channel, it will tell you what different channels charge to rent or buy. You can even use voice search. Just speak to your remote and you’ll get a listing of results matching your request.
One of the features I love, that was first introduced in Roku 3, is the set of earbuds that plug into the remote. That lets me do a little late night streaming in the bedroom without disturbing my wife. She probably appreciates this feature more than I do.
At $130, Roku 4 is $30 higher than any price I’ve seen on Roku before. That may come down after the newness wears off, or it may not. Regardless, it’s still affordable and I continue to rate it the best on the market.