When a big craze on Netflix comes out I like to make an event of it by inviting friends over and using the largest TV in the house. Unfortunately, all of my streaming-capable consoles are set up elsewhere, so I end up having to mirror the stream onto my MacBook Pro. Instead of messing with cables and audio equipment to create a sub-par entertainment experience, save yourself the hassle and purchase a Roku Express Plus.

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Retailing for $49.99 CDN, the Express Plus is the cheapest streaming device offered by Roku yet. The device is compatible with TVs that support HDMI or composite cables and little set-up is required before you’re watching all of your favourite content at 1080P/ 60Hz. Included alongside the Express Plus are a 24” HDMI cable and remote. While the HDMI cable is undeniably short, Roku also included double-sided adhesives that can be used to safely attach the Express Plus anywhere on your TV. These adhesives can be re-used multiple times for whenever you need to take the device on the go.

Even though this is the cheapest device Roku offers, the Express Plus doesn’t skimp out anywhere when it comes to performance and interactivity. It’s a downside that the device can only connect to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connections, but I never experienced any noticeable slow-down or buffering the moment content started playing inside my home. I can see this being a potential issue when using the device in a busy hotel or in an environment where the wireless space is heavily occupied, but even during high-traffic times in my neighborhood the device worked flawlessly.

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The Roku Express Plus has access to all of the 2,500+ apps and channels offered on the Roku Platform. Whether you’re in the mood to watch movies, TV shows or anime, this device streams them all. Even if you’re having a hard time finding your favourite title on your preferred service, the Roku Express Plus can search out where it’s being streamed or even notify you the moment it becomes accessible.

In the price war between Roku’s Express Plus and their previously reviewed Streaming Stick, there are some key performance differences to consider. For $10 more the Streaming Stick can connect to 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections, removes one step from the set-up process and features a 4-core CPU compared to the 2-core in the Express Plus. As a result, the Streaming Stick will deliver a better viewing experience by navigating through apps and menus quicker, but it’s not a quantum leap difference. Both devices share the same video limitations and feature sets, including the great phone app and dorm/hotel room connect. The device you consider to purchase just depends on your budget

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Until my experience with the Roku Express Plus, I had never used a dedicated streaming device to view my favourite shows and movies. The set-up required no hassle from my entertainment centre, the UI was easy to navigate and the content I watched never stuttered during an intense moment. I may not have a lot of experience with the other streaming competitors out there, but I can easily understand why Roku is considered one of the best.