The world is changing very fast. The earliest way of transferring files from one computer to another was through floppy disks. Then, technology improved and compact disks were used for storing and transferring files while the Internet paved way for faster communication and file transfers between computers. Compact disks made floppy disks redundant.
Very soon, external drives were introduced that allowed people to store files outside their computers, as well as transfer files from one computer to another with these external drives.
USB became a very versatile component of all computers, and many computers now come with a minimum 4 USB drives.
On the other hand, TV transmission also underwent massive changes. From analog signals and antennae to catch TV signals, the current format that is being used is digital. Digital formats allowed companies to directly stream TV content to homes.
What is the Roku 3500R Streaming Stick?
The Roku 3500R Streaming Stick is an HDMI device that can stream videos into your TV or computer without the need for a dish and set-top box.
Each channel has become an app and you can choose the apps (or channels) that you want to view and enjoy. So, forget about set-top boxes and dishes. Your new streaming and viewing experience is here. Competing directly with Google’s Chromecast, Roku will define the future of streaming video into your living room.
At $50, Roku Streaming Stick is $15 more than Chromecast, but the Roku Streaming Stick really packs a punch when it comes to its features. A remote, two battery cells and an onscreen interface makes this the cheapest streaming stick available in the market. While Chromecast has made significant strides since it was launched, Roku is definitely a more mature platform, especially when it has been developed keeping in view the drawbacks of Chromecast.
With over 1200 apps, Roku Streaming Stick is pretty versatile. Apps include the likes of Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, and many others you will be pampered for content. You have access to over 3000 channels and 300,000 movies and TV episodes.
It also provides a platform for you to search and view your favorite TV and movie content and services.
Roku started off with its set-top boxes and has continued to innovate, shrinking its boxes and the culmination is with the HDMI streaming stick.
The flipside of the streaming stick is that YouTube takes quite a long time to boot up. At the same time, if you are connecting it to your TV’s HDMI / USB Port, it will have to be booted every time you turn on your TV. Booting the streaming stick will be a full 1½ minutes, especially if you are booting the stick from your TV’s USB port. If you are keen to ensure that your streaming stick is kept booted, it will require additional wiring behind your TV, making it a little messy.
In spite of these minor drawbacks, the Roku streaming stick is the best bet for you because of is compact design.
What’s more, you can carry it anywhere you want, and operate it with your mobile, if you do not have a remote. It packs more power than Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. What you will also need to remember is that you will need to make a payment for a subscription for certain channels. Channels are however, subject to variations and from country to country.
When you carry the streaming stick with you, you may need to register for Hotel and Dorm Connect Support, so that you can connect to another TV or device, other than your registered TV or device. You will need access through a wireless-based browser. Use your mobile to connect the stick to your laptop, computer using a browser and enjoy streaming videos. Your mobile acts as a remote, and you don’t need a separate remote when you have a smart phone.
The stick allows you to search content – from actors, to shows, to directors, price, free shows or cheapest shows. You can also use a voice based search using Roku’s free mobile app that is available on iOS and Android.
If you seek privacy to enjoy your shows, you have the option of including a headphone to your mobile to listen to your shows in private. You will need to connect your Roku streaming stick to your mobile app, and enjoy your videos and shows privately.
Let us quickly have a look at the features of the product.
The stick plugs discreetly into the USB / HDMI Port of your TV, that is generally present at the reverse of it. If the TV happens to be wall mounted, it is an excellent option for you.
3000+ entertainment channels:
By far the most, as compared to Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast, you can enjoy TV Episodes, sports, news, movies, kids’ shows and free channels.
Remote Control Included:
The streaming stick comes with a remote control, and two AAA battery cells. The stick comes with RF technology, so you need not point the remote in the direction of the TV.
Control the stick with your mobile or tablet:Download the Roku app on your iOS or Android device and convert your mobile or tablet to the remote or play your shows in your device.
Send your shows from mobile to TV:
You can stream your Netflix or YouTube videos from your mobile to TV using Roku’s streaming stick.
Display your personal media:
Your personal media, like videos, photos, and music that are stored in your mobile / tablet can be streamed to your TV through the App.
Find what you want:
You can search your favorite movies, shows, sports, programs, and others on Netflix, YouTube, etc. You can also compare the price and decide on the shows you want to enjoy.
Comparing with Chromecast
Chromecast was one of the first streaming sticks to be introduced, and it is natural to compare Roku 3500R Stream Stick with Chromecast.
First, they are completely different beasts. The streaming stick is a fully functional media hub that is used to access streaming media services with or without a remote. The streaming stick is developed around an on-screen menu Roku’s own channel. This provides the user complete control over the content he / she watches, with the mobile device control being an add-on control feature.
On the other hand, Chromecast is a smartphone and tablet accessory, requiring the PC or device with Chromecast software preinstalled, so that you can connect to the same Wi-Fi network. Chromecast allows users to send whatever they are watching on their mobile to the Chromecast, without having any direct control over the Chromecast on your laptop or PC itself.
The only issue with Chromecast is that it works only on supported apps and services, and thus, has only very limited selection of content, even though it provides access to content on Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and others.
Google has now released the Chromecast SDK and opened it for development, but the Roku’s ecosystem is more powerful when compared to Chromecast; Roku’s system is also less hackable in comparison with Chromecast.
As pointed out earlier, at $15 more, as a consumer, you can do much more with the Roku’s 3500R Streaming Stick as compared to Chromecast, and it is worth the extra price tag.
Should you buy the Roku 3500R Streaming Stick? Yes, you should. A cheap, streaming stick with loads of apps and ability to fully control what you want to watch, listen and enjoy, the stick provides you freedom to do what you want. Do not worry about the price, for it is within your budget, and provides you with features that none of the competitors are able to provide.
Apple TV is $100, but does not work with non-Apple products. There are other Roku products too, like Roku 3 and Roku 2. While you get the Roku 3 at $100, it comes with a headphone jack for private listening and playing Angry Birds. Roku Streaming Stick also has the ability to plug in a headphone jack for private listening, though you will need to purchase the headphone to enjoy private listening.
If you are price sensitive and not worried about limited experience, Google Chromecast would be good, but if you are keen on enjoying viewing and listening experience, while giving you the freedom to carry the stick wherever you go, opt the Roku 3500R Streaming Stick, and take your TV with you wherever you go.