Media streaming is the go-to for many people these days when it comes to watching movies, television shows, videos, and a plethora of entertainment. As more and more options become available, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, along with third-party streaming sites, the devices used to enjoy those services will in turn need to become better. It’s been well over two years since the original Roku Stick was first introduced, and since then other companies have attempted to conquer the throne of convenient streaming devices, like Amazon with the Fire TV Stick or the Google Chromecast. Roku is definitely not going to give up that top spot easily, and with their newest version of the Streaming Stick, they will more than likely hold that spot for a while.
There is very little that the Roku Streaming Stick doesn’t offer. It’s very easy and simple to set-up, it’s incredibly quick and versatile, and it comes at an incredible value. There are some downsides to the device, such as no 4k support and Wi-Fi only connection, but considering how much more it offers, it’s easy to get past its faults.
Right out of the box, you be surprised with how easy the setup of the stick is, but there is a potential issue for some people. If I were to recommend something extra to purchase, it would be an HDMI extension. Due to some companies putting the HDMI slots in annoying places on their TVs, popping in the Roku may be difficult for some or they may be unable to all together. The stick itself can be powered by either the USB port on your TV or through a wall outlet, which is understandably the better option as it results in little to no boot-up time on the device. The device will then need to connect to the local Wi-Fi, and works well on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz signals. The stick does not include an Ethernet port, unfortunately. That option you will find on the bigger devices. After that, it will then prompt you to make a Roku account if you do not already have one. Through the account, you will be able to add or remove the services you want to the device. Just like that, you’re done and ready to enjoy some movies or TV.
Compared against other streaming devices on the market, Roku gives equal footing to all the streaming apps and doesn’t lock down their interface like Amazon. It will also give you results from more than 30 different services, which is more than any other provider. One feature I liked is how often it would update the “most popular” search across Roku for movies and TV. I’ve read online that the list gets updated at least four times a day, offering usually a new list of stuff to check out throughout the day.
The real test comes with how well it performs, and as I stated earlier Roku have more than upped their game with the latest stick. The first iteration housed a single-core processor, but Roku have packed a quad-core inside this one, making it possibly one of their fastest devices. My favourite part though has to be the Roku companion app you can get for your phone. When you’re paired on the same network as the device, you can plug headphones into your phone and listen to whatever it is you’re watching. On the bigger Roku devices, the audio gets streamed to the remote for the box, but that support was moved to the app instead for the stick, and frankly, I think it’s better than the remote audio. You will also be able to take advantage of everything the app has to offer, such as voice search and managing your favourite channels.
The next generation of the Roku Streaming Stick, in my opinion, is hands down the best streaming device you will find on the market today. The device is so simple to use and works so much better than other devices out there, which is further anchored by Roku not choosing sides and allowing deep customization of what you want to watch. Along with a great value, you won’t be losing out with the Roku stick. If you’re in the market to switch from another stick, this should be your first and only choice.