Currently, we’re inside the age of rising streaming platforms – that makes watching your favorite movies, shows, or series much easier than before. And now a lot of people are switching from cable subscriptions towards streaming services, as that’s much more convenient, allowing you to watch content whenever and wherever you want.
And Roku is one of the leaders, surpassing 50 million active users at the beginning of 2021. So if you want to switch towards streaming – that’s a good way.
What is Roku?
Roku is a brand of digital media streaming devices made by Roku Inc. You can use the Roku device by connecting it to your TV or buy a TV with Roku software (like TCL). Roku streaming devices allow you to watch content, like TV shows, series, and movies by subscribing to Roku channels. There are both free channels (you can use them without any fee) and there are paid channels as well (for example Netflix or HBO Max).
Roku means “six” from the Japanese as it was the sixth company launched by its founder Anthony Wood. The first device released by Roku was Roku DVP N1000 and the company is constantly improving its devices to win the competition with other media streaming devices makers.
As I said, Roku can come as an operating system on some TVs, for example, TCL, or may be bought as a hardware digital media streaming device. If you want to check out Roku TVs, you can visit the Roku website and see the available products.
However, if we speak about Roku streaming devices, the price starts at $30 for Roku Express and ends with Roku Streambar Pro that costs $180.
How much is Roku?
As Roku is offering a wide range of devices, I will talk only about Roku streaming devices (as there are too many TVs to place them in one article). The prices for Roku Streaming devices are like that (the prices are without discounts that may be active in a certain period of time):
|Roku Express 4K+||$40|
|Roku Streaming Stick+||$50|
|Roku Streambar Pro||$180|
The basic Roku Express will give you access to the Roku ecosystem, nothing more. But in case you want a better experience, you can choose, for example, Roku Streambar, which would serve both as a Roku streaming device and soundbar.
Also, Roku offers some additional devices, like Roku Wireless Subwoofer to enrich your bass or Roku Wireless Speakers to enrich your sound experience.
How does Roku work?
All Roku products are made in a simple design and the process of their setting-up is straightforward. After you connected your Roku streaming device to your TV, you can use all the features Roku gives you, like subscribing to streaming channels, both free and paid ones. Also, you can always cancel your subscription to the Roku channel in case you no longer need it.
No matter what kind of Roku device you’ve bought – the functionality is similar and all Roku streaming devices require an Internet connection in order to use them for watching content.
Also, no matter what kind of Roku device you’ll buy, it will have a power adapter, HDMI cable, and Roku remote in the box. In case you have Roku Streaming Stick, you can plug it directly into the USB port on your TV, for other devices you will need to use an HDMI cable and power cable as well.
You will need to use a Roku remote in order to connect your Roku device to Wi-Fi and start using it. Although, you can connect your Roku device to Wi-Fi even without a remote.
What services and streaming channels are available on Roku?
All apps you can install are called channels on Roku, even Netflix or HBO Max. Aside from streaming services, Roku also gives you access to local broadcasting networks like CBS, Fox News, or NBC in the US.
If you’re interested in using streaming services on your Roku device – there is good news. Almost all streaming services are available on Roku, including Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Peacock. Moreover, you can use apps like YouTube to watch content from these services.
But even more, Roku supports music streaming services, like Spotify, so you can use the Roku device to listen to music as well.
In case you want to add channels to Roku – that’s easy to do:
- Press the Home button
- Scroll down to Streaming Channels and click OK
- You will dive into the Roku Channel Store where you can choose the streaming channel you want to add
How you can use Roku with other devices
Roku has an app, available on iOS and Android and you can use it in three ways – to watch content on Roku from your device, to manage your channel subscriptions (add or remove them), or to use it as a remote, in case you don’t want to use the original one.
In my opinion, that’s a powerful feature, as the integration between mobile devices and Roku streaming device makes the process of managing channels much easier than it could be. Moreover, you can mirror your phone screen to the TV with a Roku device and cast photos or videos.
Does Roku worth buying?
Not surprisingly, taken into account what I’ve written above – yes. I’m sure Roku can fit almost any user, as it has wide options to add new channels and watch them online. There’s integration with mobile devices, so you can manage your Roku device even if it’s unavailable to access now. And the cheapest Roku device cost only $30 and there are a lot of discounts on it, so you can buy it even cheaper.
Roku offers a wide range of channels, including live broadcasting channels you may get used to with your cable subscription and almost all major streaming services, like Netflix or HBO Max. So you have a waste ways to design your watching process in the way you want it to be.
Of course, that’s only my opinion, but I see Roku streaming device as a good thing to buy. However, the final choice is yours.