By Rich W Woods
Ever since the Roku 5.0 software update came out adding universal search as a feature, the streaming TV experience has been Roku and everything else. Apple TV has a limited number of channels and not enough apps support Chromecast. Roku is hands down the best experience in streaming television.
What is Roku TV?
We have all heard of Roku Player and the Roku Streaming Stick, but Roku has a brand new product headed our way: the Roku TV.
Roku TV is exactly what you think it is. It is a smart TV that runs the same software as a Roku Player or Roku Streaming Stick.
A Background of Roku Models
Roku has released 13 different models over five generations of products. The original Roku SD broadcasted in 480i and the latest Roku 3 broadcasts 1080p.
Roku 3 comes with a remote that as a headphone jack so you wouldn’t have to bother your partner with the noise from the television. Universal search came in Roku version 5.0, a software update that shipped with the latest Roku 3 but came as a software update to earlier models.
What you should know about universal search is that it allows users to search for one title and Roku will tell you which app it is available on. For example, if a user searches for “Doctor Who”, Roku will tell the user that season one is available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, and M Go, season 2 is available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc. It is a really useful feature that no other streaming TV service has.
The point is that new features come in later models.
What you need to know before purchasing a Roku TV
We don’t think of our cable boxes as computers, but they are. The same goes for streaming players like the Roku.
Take a look at the Apple TV. The second generation Apple TV doesn’t have the latest software update. Next year, the A5 processor will not be supported anymore. If Apple adds a channel store to the Apple TV, no Apple TV user will be able to get it.
The Roku is no different. My first Roku was the Roku HD (model 2000). Since, I upgraded to a Roku 2.
Now it’s story time. A friend told me that his smart TV couldn’t get the WWE Network app. I told him that I had an old Roku lying around and he could have it. After we said it up at his house, we realized that not only could we get the software update that brings universal search, we couldn’t even get the WWE Network on that Roku.
It is better to use a set top box
I bought my Roku HD less than three years ago. Back then, it was top of the line; however, we expect our computers to become obsolete eventually and I knew that. Fortunately, it only costs between $50 and $100 to replace a Roku Player.
Now ask yourself, if you go out and buy a Roku TV, what happens a few years down the line when a new channel comes out that’s not compatible with your Roku? It is cheaper to buy a new Roku Player than to replace a perfectly good HDTV.
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