Roku Releases New Box with Improved UI and Remote
I may be a Media Center fan, but it is by no means the only weapon in my home theater arsenal. I previously used a Netgear NeoTV as well, and have recently spent some time deciding between what would replace it – Google TV or Roku. I opted for the former, ordering a Vizio Co-Star and this morning Roku made me pay for that decision with its announcement of the brand new Roku 3.
The new box, according to Roku’s Jim Funk, is five times faster than previous versions. The Roku 3 also comes with an all new user interface, as Funk explains — “In the spirit of simplicity, the new Roku interface features a streamlined layout to provide quicker access and greater visibility – especially if you have many channels installed. The Roku Channel Store and Search are now fully integrated into the home screen, and both have been redesigned with our new on- screen experience”.
Roku 3 comes with Angry Birds pre-installed, which may not sound like much, but is actually an invitation to try out the brand new motion-sensitive remote which has been designed for gaming. The remote contains another unique feature as well. A headphone jack allows you to plug in your earbuds and move around – an action that also automatically mutes the external speakers allowing you to listen without disturbing others in your home. However, the range for this feature is not given in the announcement.
The Roku 3 is available right now for $99, including the remote and earbuds. The new UI will begin rolling out to Roku boxes in April. Now I can only wonder what my wife will say if I buy a second set-top box a month after purchasing another one.