Roku stands a cut above most other streaming apps due to its simplicity and wide search functionality for most apps and TV shows. Roku has already moved past the entry-level model to the Roku Express 4K and 4K+, both setting a high bar for features and value. Still, the entry-level Roku Express packs a lot of value that you may benefit from, especially for someone who has never used a Roku device before.
This guide is made for beginners who are new to the Roku streaming device and are curious about what they can do with it. The Roku Entry-level Express is affordable and packs all the right features. Let’s dive in:
Unboxing and Initial Impressions
Your first impression of the Roku Express will probably be its compact design and straightforward setup. The package includes the Roku device, a remote control, a power cable, a USB cable, and an HDMI cable.
It’s important to note that the device doesn’t come with a power adapter, so Roku recommends utilizing your TV’s USB port for power. However, for older TVs with less cooperative USB ports, having an additional USB phone charger on hand might be a good idea.
Retailing at $30 minus add-ins, the Roku Express is especially suited for college students who are conscious about streaming expenses. With Roku Express, you can get a nursing essay writing service to help out with those tough assignments as you enjoy all your favorite shows on Roku Express.
Remote Control Insights
The Roku Express remote is designed with simplicity in mind. However, one of the major issues that users have reported about the Roku Express is the fact that its remote is incapable of controlling your TV’s power, volume, and input buttons. The remote is dedicated solely to controlling the Roku device itself.
If you want a universal remote that can also manage your TV’s volume and power, you might consider upgrading to the Roku Express 4K. However, for those comfortable with managing two remotes, the entry-level Roku is a cost-effective starting point.
Ports and Connectivity
The Roku Express comes with two ports at the back: a micro USB connector for power and an HDMI port for video. We’ve already mentioned that the Roku Express doesn’t come with a power adapter button, so you might need to connect the device to your TV’s USB port. That might be a problem for folks whose TV’s USB port is at the back of their TV.
Roku includes a USB cable and an HDMI cable in the box, ensuring you have the necessary connections. It’s a convenient setup, provided your TV’s USB port cooperates.
Strategic Placement for Signal Reception
Keep in mind that to maximize functionality, the Roku Express requires unobstructed visibility between the device and the remote. This is just a simple infrared remote, so it might not feel as snappy as some other high-frequency radio remote.
Roku includes double-sided tape, offering flexibility in placement options. Ensuring the front of the device faces the remote guarantees seamless navigation. This consideration is especially targeted at those with infrared remotes, which rely on direct line-of-sight communication.
User Interface Experience
The Roku Express is just an entry-level device, but it will certainly feel much better than some of the old smart TV interfaces that you are likely replacing. Navigating through menus and apps is a seamless experience and a nice upgrade from those sluggish, older interfaces.
Streaming Quality and Performance
While it may not boast the advanced features of 4K streaming, the Roku Express handles 1080p content with ease. If you do need 4K streaming, the Roku 4K Streaming Stick comes in handy for supporting all the modern HDR modes available. The device excels in loading content quickly, providing a smooth streaming experience. For users with older 1080p or 720p sets, the Roku Express proves to be more than sufficient for an enjoyable streaming experience.
The Roku Express supports both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, catering to different setups. However, its 5 GHz mode doesn’t support AC Wi-Fi; it only supports the older N-standard. As long as you have decent Wi-Fi, you won’t have any problems streaming.
Ad-Supported Interface Without Clutter
Roku’s interface does support ads. However, the ad-supported model remains relatively clean. Ads are strategically placed on the side, avoiding a cluttered user experience. The ads rotate depending on the content being viewed, but the overall interface maintains a neat and organized appearance.
Exploring the Free Section
A nice surprise for Roku users is the featured free section. Out of the box, users can explore a variety of free content across different providers. Roku’s channels, Pluto, NBC, and more, offer ad-supported content, presenting a vast array of options without the need for a subscription. It’s a welcome feature that adds significant value to the Roku Express.
Extensive Channel Options
Roku refers to its apps as channels, and the Roku Express provides access to an extensive selection. Major streaming providers are readily available. Occasionally, you’ll find Roku adding premium content to the Roku Express. The Streaming Channels section offers a wide variety of choices, both free and paid, making it easy to customize your content selection.
Gaming on Roku
The Roku Express isn’t a gaming console. However, it enables users to explore a variety of games by accessing the streaming channels store. The open approach to development enables game installation, providing an additional dimension to your streaming experience.
Voice Control and Remote App
For folks with the Roku remote featuring a microphone button, voice search functionality is a notable addition. Users can simply speak their query, and Roku will find relevant content.
Also, Roku offers a remote app that transforms your smartphone into a controller. This app supports private listening, providing a convenient alternative to the physical remote.
Maximizing Value with the Remote App
The Roku Express experience is enhanced with the remote app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. This app adds features typically found in higher-end models to the entry-level device.
With the app, you can navigate the interface, control content playback, and even utilize voice search, a feature not native to the Roku Express remote.
One of the app’s standout features is private listening. This allows users to plug in headphones to their mobile devices and listen to the audio from the Roku Express privately. So, those late-night binge-watching sessions or times when you want to enjoy content without disturbing others are made even sweeter.
The Roku Express Entry-Level is a viable alternative for users who are just joining the Roku family. While it may lack some of the advanced features of higher-end models, such as the Roku Express 4K, it offers a solid streaming experience at an affordable price point.
The Roku Express stands out for its user-friendliness, array of content, and features that are found in higher-end streaming models. It’s recommended for those just starting in the streaming market.