The Roku 3- Progressing the Art of Streaming
In the early days on steaming media, Roku paved the way in offering various channels of streaming content. With inexpensive products like it's second generation Roku HD, you could stream video content from online channels both popular and obscure, creating an alternative source of entertainment compared to cable or DVD.
Over the years, streaming content has exploded in popularity erasing the market share for cable and DVD & Blu-ray. Now everyone from Google to Apple to NetFlix to Amazon to the TV brands wants to be your source of streaming content making completion fierce for Roku.
Roku has done a few things to respond to the competition. One the one hand, Roku has integrated its technology into TV brands like Sharp and Insignia. On the other hand, Roku continues to serve its loyal base of Roku fans with best in class streaming products like it's third generation Roku 3.
I purchased the Roku 3 (2015 model) at Costco in Daville, California. Costco has a very interesting way to packaging its electronics products compared to other stores.
All of the smaller electronics products including tiny USB flash drives get super sized packaging to make them more visible when walking down the Costco aisle. The Roku 3 box is no exception. You wonder if this big packaging approach is really environmentally sound.
To show the stiff competition that Roku has, Roku was displayed next to Sony and Samsung Blu-ray players with streaming media capabilities. While these Sony and Samsung products were not packaged as attractively, they were heavily discounted compared to Roku.
Although buying the Roku 3 like any other Costco grocery item isn't exactly an Apple Store-like experience and you have to deal with Costco checkout lines, the pricing is can't be beat even compared to online retail giants like Amazon.
One of the difficulties with Costco type packaging is they aren't easy to open and have generally avoided the no frustration packaging movement that a lot of other companies have embraced.
The Roku 3 comes up with power adapter accessories, a remote control with batteries, and uniquely ear bud headphones.
Setting up the Roku 3 was pretty straightforward but requires you to register for a Roku account including providing credit card information. Roku sees itself as a payment gateway to all the online content you can get from the Roku box.
Like other streaming media players, there is lengthy software update process that you have to endure.
Roku's dancing 3D logo is kind of cute which you don't see on other media players (who act more serious).
To activate your product, Roku takes the approach that all activation needs to be done online with a PC, phone, or tablet. This avoids the frustration of trying to type in all your account information on a TV remote.
Finally, when the setup process is over, you can immediately access a lot of the popular streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and NetFlix.
You can also directly stream movies and TV shows through M-Go.
One of the unique things with Roku is that you can access a much wider range of niche content.
Roku is useful to a lot of newer streaming services like Crackle to quickly gain an audience.
Even product companies like GoPro can have their own channels.
Roku also has games where you can easily use the Roku remote control as a game controller.
Another unique feature of Roku 3 is that you can actually plug in headphones into the remote control, and not bother anyone else while enjoying your content. You can also perform voice search commands using the remote control.
The Roku 3 still stands out in a crowded market as one of the best thought out streaming media players. As an open platform, Roku allows new online content providers to quickly gain an audience, keeping things interesting for everyone.