Roku 3

Roku players are rapidly becoming my favourite media devices mainly due to their support of multiple media services. The latest devices I have been playing with is a Roku 3 streaming player, this is a small set top box slightly smaller than an Apple TV. It comes with a RF remote control so you don’t need line of sight to control which means you could put the box out of sight. The unique thing with this remote is that it has a headphone port on it (with headphones included) so you can watch a movie without disturbing the rest of the house, handy for watching a late night movie. It also can be used for playing games with as it has movement sensors in it, you can play games like Angry Birds with the remote.

As well as the headphone options the Roku 3 has a few extra features over the Roku streaming stick. It has an Ethernet port so you don’t have to use wifi and it has a USB port so you can external storage to it. You can play local content stored on a USB drive via Roku’s media player app, it can play media from a USB drive, DLNA server or from the microSD card slot.

The main features of Roku are the channels which including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, NOW TV from Sky, Youtube and many others (Roku say there are 450+ channels). I use Plex Media Server on my Vidabox LiivNAS server and the Roku 3 makes a great media player for Plex, I copy all my media to the server and then I can access it anywhere in my house via the Roku.

One of the most interesting features of the Roku is the support for Miracast which you can use to project your phone or PCs screen to the TV via the Roku. Here is what I said about Miracast in my Roku Streaming Stick review:

Miracast uses Wifi direct so you don’t have to have the two devise setup on the same network which makes pairing very simple. I set it up with my Lumia 1520 Windows Phone and was able to project its screen straight on to the TV, there were a couple of visual glitches at times but system works very well. I should say it is not like Chromecast where you can hand off videos to playback on the device, it is an exact duplicate of the phones screen.

It also works with Windows 8.1 devices, I use it to project my Surface 2’s screen up onto the TV and just as it was with the phone it works very well, I tried playing a game on the Surface and it displayed on my TV with out to much lag and with just a couple of visual glitches. I should say as well mirroring the display it also plays the audio from the device so you can use it watch movies, play games or use with apps like Skype. It also works with Android 4.4.2 and up and if you are thinking of using screen mirroring with an Apple device you are out of luck. It is a really easy way of projecting your Windows device up on to the big screen without needing HDMI or VGA cables

The Miracast support is a great feature and comes in very handy. Roku also have apps for iOS, Android and Window/Windows Phone which you can use as a remote control for the Roku and there is a Play On Roku feature where you can send music and pictures to the Roku from the phone.
Roku 3

In this video I setup the Roku 3 (£79 on Amazon), connect it up to my network and give the some of the apps including BBC iPlayer, streaming Blurays with Plex and try streaming from local storage.

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