What Are Some Pros and Cons of Roku?

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As of May 2015, Roku devices can stream more than 750 channels; however, Roku’s competitors, Google and Apple, are tied to larger ecosystems some users might prefer. Roku also lacks the ability to connect to a console-style controller, limiting its gaming capabilities.

Roku’s broad selection of channels, both free and paid, gives users a wide array of options. It supports streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, in addition to a number of sports channels, including MLB.tv. Roku also provides an open software development kit for people interested in creating apps and channels for Roku devices, which helps smaller channels find an audience.

Some Roku devices can use a wireless network for the remote control, which allows people to change channels without having to point the remote at the television. Users can also change channels using a smartphone app on Android or iOS devices. Some devices have an audio port built into the remote control, allowing users to watch programs using headphones to avoid disturbing others in the room.

People invested heavily into Apple or Google apps and services, however, might prefer devices that provide easier access to their cloud storage. Google and Apple devices offer easy access to content that users buy through their platforms. Google also offers a smaller, cheaper device named Chromecast that makes it easy to stream content from a website to a television.