The streaming player market has expanded dramatically since Roku entered the fray several years ago; the company has done an admirable job of adding more than just Netflix to its lineup – the new Roku 3 is capable of streaming content from up to 750 individual channel and company sources. As a result of offering so much content, Roku realized they had to change up the UI as the old horizontal bar just couldn’t keep up with the deluge.
Roku did say that while the Roku 3 is the first player to launch with the new interface, it won’t be the last – in fact, the new UI will be rolling out to all current Roku products over the next few weeks.
In addition to the improved look and feel, the Roku 3 has been slightly redesigned, looking softer and sleeker than before. Inside is a faster CPU (helping to power the new user interface), dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz), an Ethernet port if your wireless is too crowded, as well as USB ports and a microSD slot to play local content. It’s capable of decoding up to 1080p content for your full HD television.
If you look closely, however, you’ll also note a pair of headphones. These new Roku headphones ship with the unit, and, amazingly, plug into the Roku 3’s remote control. That’s right – the remote control will wirelessly stream audio from the Roku box, letting users plug in any pair of headphones and enjoy content anywhere in the house without disturbing others. It’s easily the slickest way of handling this need that we’ve ever seen.
Starting today, you’ll be able to pick up one of these boxes for $99, which is competitive with options like the Apple TV or Boxee Box.