Thinking about getting a Roku device so that you can stream your favorite programs? You have plenty of choices!
Roku offers four versions of its popular Stick, plus a set top box, the Roku Ultra, that enables users to watch streaming content on their screens. Prices start at $29.99 for their entry model, the Roku Stick Express, and range up to $99 for the top of the line Roku Ultra.
Each of these devices can be connected to a TV via an HDMI cable and all offer Video Output up to 1080p. The Roku Stick Plus and Roku Ultra also offer 4K Ultra HD Video and HDR Support. Dolby Audio and DTS are also supported on all models.
While each model comes with a remote, the Roku Ultra, Stick Plus and Stick all come with remotes that will control the user’s TV power and channel buttons. The remotes can also be controlled by voice without using an extra app on these three models.
Stand Out Features of the Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra also offers headphones and jack input to enable private listening. This model also stands out from the rest of the lineup by offering an ethernet port for more reliable 4K streaming, gaming buttons, remote finder, and the ability to expand storage via USB and Micro SD.
Best Shared Features Across All Models
Two popular features that each model shares are Roku Search and Roku Feed. Roku Search makes it easy for users to quickly find the channels and content they want to watch. Roku Feed keeps users up-to-date on content and price changes.
Users can also use the Roku mobile app on all models to control it and search by voice. Users can also cast pictures and other personal media files to their TV, and even mirror screens on Windows and Android devices through the same app.
How Much Content You Can Stream Via Roku
Each Roku device enables users to stream over 5,000 channels. This selection includes popular free ones like Crackle, YouTube and Popcorn Flix. Subscription based providers such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO are also available. You can also stream content from Cable replacement services such as Sling TV and subscription stand alone providers such as CBS, ABC, Fox Sports, ESPN and many more!
Fast and Easy Set Up
Regardless of which Roku model that you choose, getting started is fairly easy. First, connect your TV to the device. Next, connect to your Internet router. Finally, create a Roku account and then follow the on-screen prompts to activate the device.
Top Roku Tips
Every gadget has its own hidden shortcuts that can make it faster and easier to accomplish specific tasks. The Roku streaming devices are no exception! Check out this list of helpful hints to quickly learn all the ins and outs of Roku streamers.
Organize Your Channels
With thousands of possible channels to watch, you need an easy way to find your favorites. To move channels around in your Roku library, just highlight the icon of the channel that you want to move, press the Options button on your Roku, and select Move Channel. Use the direction pad to move it to your preferred spot and press OK. Repeat until you have moved your most frequently watched channels to the front of your lineup.
Use the Keyboard on Your Mobile for Searching and Signing In
Who doesn’t hate taking the time to manually enter in a password? Next time, cut to the chase by running the Roku App, tap Remote, then tap the icon for the keyboard. Once there, you can tap to enter text, or, just tap on the keyboard’s icon for the microphone to use your voice to type out the letters!
Rename Your Rokus
If you have more than one TV in your home or office, you will need to either move your Roku device each time that you want to stream content on a different TV, or, you will need multiple Rokus, one for each TV. This can get a little confusing when you are trying to cast content from Netflix or another channel, or trying to control more than one TV from your smartphone or other mobile device via the app.
Renaming your Rokus can make it easier to tell them apart. To accomplish this, just go to your Roku Account, look under My Linked Devices, and then click on Rename to assign a new name to each device.
Replay Missed Content
Dialogue is often critical to truly understanding what’s going on in a scene. You can make certain that you will never miss out on an important line again by enabling the instant replay feature.
Just go to Settings, click on Captions and then select Instant Replay to enable it. Then, the next time an actor or actress mutters some inaudible words, just hit the replay button to pull up the subtitles.
Add an Accessory to Turn Your Roku Remote into a Universal One
While Roku Ultra and Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick Plus come with buttons to control your TV’s power and channel buttons, Express and Express Plus do not. The Sideclick is a handy accessory that you simply stick onto the side of your Roku to get an extra set of buttons that you can program to turn your TV’s power on and off, change channels up or down, and add input and A/B switching.
Streaming from Your Mobile
If you want to stream content from your smartphone, use the mobile app and select Play on Roku from the menu. Next, choose the music, video or photo that you have previously saved on your phone to stream it to your TV.
Mirroring Content from Your Device
Some folks confuse streaming from a phone with mirroring, but one important distinction is that you can still use your other apps on your phone while you are streaming its content to your TV via Roku.
Mirroring content allows you to cast to your TV whatever webpage, video, music or other content that you are viewing on your phone at that moment. With mirroring, whatever you see on your phone’s screen is what you will see on your TV.
To mirror content from your Roku device to your Android or Windows device, you will first need a compatible Roku device. Most newer, 2017 released models are compatible.
Next, you need a compatible Android or Windows device, and will need to enable the feature on it.
For Android devices, you will need to follow your phone’s onscreen prompts to do so, and, each manufacturer has their own term for screen mirroring. If your phone has this feature, it is normally found in one of the submenus off the Settings menu.
Once you have successfully enabled mirroring on the phone, you will then need to follow the onscreen prompts to request a connection to your Roku device. For the connection to work, your phone and device must be connected to the same network.
For devices running Windows 10, just open the action center, choose Project, and then select Connect to a Wireless Display. From there, follow the on-screen prompts to select your Roku device and request a connection. Just as with an Android device, your Roku device and Windows device must be connected to the same network.
Play Local Files on the Roku Ultra
Once you download the Roku Media Player channel, you can insert a USB drive into the USB port in the back to play the audio, video and pictures files that you have stored on it. This same channel will also allow you to play files that you have stored on a DLNA server connected to your LAN
Speed Up Channel Loading on the Roku Ultra
Just pop a micro SD card into the port on the back of the device to download channels and speed up their loading times. The device will automatically format the card once it is inserted into the port, and you won’t be able to use it to store video or other files, it will just store channel content.
Of course, there are many additional features that make streaming content to your TV, fast, easy and fun. Do you have a favorite Roku tip that we left off our list? Why not share it with our readers in the comments section below or, let us know what’s your favorite channels to watch via Roku?