Today we’ll delve into the latest Roku experience from a cord cutters experience. What I originally intended to do was showcase the Roku Streaming Stick, then compare to the Roku 3, but I think it better compare the overall Roku experience compared to some other options out there at the moment. At the end of the day, the experience on all the Roku devices is fairly similar, with the exception being that the higher priced equipment is generally going to give you a better experience. So with that said, with any streaming device, you’re probably not going to be super impressed with the basics out of the box, but once you buy into one or a few of the subscription services, you’ll likely see that dropping your cable is not out of the option.
What I find most impressive with the Roku platform vs the fireTV is that it natively has apps for all of your NHL, NFL, and MLB sporting needs. There are apps for all three major US sports that allow starting at the beginning of the game or live, have fast forwarding and rewind, and don’t require loading and configuring something like Kodi (XBMC) to get that content. That right there is what really makes Roku stand out for run of the mill streamers is the no-hassle sports availability. With the Amazon fireTV, you don’t get that kind of capability out of the box without some modification, so for the non-tinkerer, I really feel like the Roku is the defacto, easy to use device that’s going to be the go to device for most streamers that want relatively easy access to sports. The caveat here is that you’ll need to jump through a few hoops on the back-end side of things to bypass blackouts, but generally speaking, Roku so far has been the best sports streaming experience to date for those with subscription services.
Where the Roku fails, in my opinion, is the gaming front. This will only strike a chord with those looking to play some basic games on their new streaming device, but is worth mentioning. It appears they tried to showcase that capability with the Roku 3 initial offering, having Angry Birds available with the motion controls, which was actually a pretty decent offering. The problem s that Rovio has since dropped the game from Roku, and the game selection is quite limited. If gaming is something on your radar, you’re better off with the Amazon offering, or better yet go with something like the Nvidia Shield TV.
That said, I think for the general streamer, the Roku is probably at the moment the best streamer out there for the price. It’s easy to use and has the best available options in terms of streaming channels. Subscription sports is definitely where this one shines. If you’re not a tinkerer, than this one is for you. If you are a little more prone to hack your devices, so to say, then something akin to the fireTV may be a better fit for you as you can load Kodi which allows the sports add-ons and an exorbitant amount of extra media that may or may not be of the socially conscious type. For those that just want something to watch streaming media that is easy to use, and gets pretty much all the legal content you want, then this is my recommended device.